The story of families passed down from generation to generation are not only important – they’re precious as well. Most families look to their matriarchs and patriarchs to tell these stories because, after all, they’ve seen the most and know the most. Eventually, it’s going to be up to the next generation after them to pass those stories on to their own children and their children after that. Unfortunately, oral history is one of the least reliable ways to carry these tales, so it’s important to take a moment and do what we’re going to do here; look at more reliable ways keep these stories alive and well.
Start Recording Stories
This is probably the biggest as well as probably one of the more obvious ones on the list. When your parents tell you stories, see if they don’t mind having them recorded whether it is audio or video but if they aren’t comfortable with this, it can be a great alternative to transcribe this history as it’s told to you. The key to this is that you need to make sure to back these up because if they aren’t, there’s a huge risk of losing them. Complications such as a phone giving out or a computer crashing shouldn’t be the only thing that can blow these stories in detail away.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to back up stories online cloud services such as through Google Drive, Amazon Drive, or Storage Guardian which will make sure you always have access from wherever you are. These will also help make it easier for families to share these stories with one another even if they don’t have the chance to see each other frequently.
Create Scrapbooks and Photo Albums
Oral descriptions offer a wealth of knowledge for families over time, but it is far from the only form of recollection that grandparents have to give. Odds are, these stories are usually told with a stack of photographs being passed around showing listeners what these family members looked like, where they lived, and what life generally looked like in the time periods they’re talking about.
Losing these photographs can lessen the impact of what a tale is trying to tell which is why it’s so critical to preserve and protect them. Creating scrapbooks and photo albums are a great start but, much like writing history down, it has its faults. This means that it can be a great help to scan these photos in and keep them digitally.
Create Recipe Books
Just like spoken tales are only part of history, recipes are just as important. Think about it this way: how many times have you smelled a whiff of apple pie and thought about afternoons helping your grandmother make them? The takeaway from this is that all our senses – including scent and taste – are fantastic and effective ways to trigger memories and create new ones. Take these recipes that are scrawled in the back of cookbooks or loose notes in a drawer and pull them all together to carry them forward.
Make a Quilt
We’ve discussed the considerable importance of photographs, oral tellings, and recipes but tactile sensations and histories don’t stop there. A big part of history comes from the clothes we wear and items like the blankets we make and, as such, it’s worthwhile to preserve those. However, it isn’t always possible or practical to keep every important piece of clothing but what you can do is sew pieces of these items into a patchwork quilt. These are easy to keep and easy to take out when your kids ask about the family members that came before them and they allow you to show them literal pieces from generations past.
Remember to Write Your Own History
Finally, remember that the history of a family starts from the beginning and its important to hear from grandparents but don’t lose sight of the fact that history is something that never ends. Eventually, today’s generation of parents will be grandparents and their lives will be just as essential to the story. So, it’s crucial to remember to focus on your own life just as much as you’re preserving own history because it forms the next page.
There are a few ways that this can be done. Cesar Kuriyama expresses in his TEDTalk that he aims to record a second of his life every day and the most often tried-and-true method is to keep a journal.
The stories our families tell aren’t just interesting, they’re essential to giving a family name a deeper meaning. As such, any genealogy that grandparents and great-grandparents and ongoing family members have to share is needed to be captured and preserved. With methods like these, you can keep your family tree alive, well, and thriving.
About the Author:
Jilian Woods is a freelance journalist and a contributing writer having more than two years of writing experience. Being a member of EssayPro legit writing services writers’ team, she sees her purpose in producing and sharing relevant content with people who are willing to expand their knowledge base and learn something new for themselves. Apart from her day job, you may find Jilian engaged in volunteering or doing yoga.