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November 14, 2019

November is Family Stories Month

The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner. For most people, we start thinking of turkey with all the trimmings. When they were young, my two sons knew that Maw Maw and Paw Paw would be here to tell them funny stories about their dad. I loved hearing those stories myself and even recorded a few for the family history I was compiling.

For genealogists and family historians, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to connect with family members and share family stories. It is those stories that make our family research come alive for generations to come. No wonder November is Family Stories Month! It is the time of year families try to get together. We should all do what my sons would do: ask our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. to “tell us a story.”

Every family has a story to tell. They range from heart-breaking to laugh out loud funny and embarrassing. These family stories define who we are. Sharing these stories may be the most important thing you can do for your family.

This is the perfect time to bring out old and new photographs alike. They can prompt old and new family stories to share. I have been going through old photographs and sadly regret not asking questions about them when the people who could supply the answers are no longer here. When I look at new and current photos of my grandchildren, I am starting to record the story and/or stories behind the photo. I am doing this from my perspective for future generations. Eventually, I will include these photographs and stories into a family history for my grandchildren.

There are many ways to preserve the family history. You can create books, blogs, websites or scrapbooks that could be passed on. Not sure where to start? The library has a few books that might help you.

Writing the Family Narrative by Lawrence P. Gouldrup, Ph.D

One Memory at a Time by D. G. Fulford

Producing a Quality Family History by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG

You Can Write Your Family History by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

Also, the Indiana Room has a “Beginner’s Kit” that includes a list of questions for you to answer for your future descendants.  For example, “how do you wish to be known and/or remember to future generations?”.  With these questions, you are creating a time capsule to be opened by your descendants in the future. It is a start on creating the paper trail you so desperately wished your ancestors had left you. You are most welcomed to visit the Indiana Room and ask staff for this packet of information and basic genealogy forms.