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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #075 – Who You Really Are
March 29, 2010

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

March 29, 2010 Issue #075 – Who You Really Are

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Census 2010
Featured Article: Who You Really Are
Resources You Can Use

Opening Remarks: Census 2010

Every ten years the United States government conducts a census. The first was conducted in 1790 and the 2010 endeavor is currently in full swing. It is a big undertaking and you can find out more about why the census matters at the official Census 2010 site. I just finished filling out our household survey. The census is used for a variety of things. One major purpose is the determination of the number of seats each state occupies in the U.S. House of Representatives. But the information gathered is also used to establish how resources are to be allocated for various causes, such as disaster relief and disease prevention, locating pools of skilled workers, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and other public works.

For those interested in preserving family history census reports can be a valuable aid in research. The information collected is kept confidential for a period of time. Data and records are available 72 years after a given census and many a genealogist has searched census reports from the past one hundred plus years to learn more about their ancestors. Sometime in the next century people might be discovering more about you from the census reports of your lifetime. April 1 is being touted as Census Day with hopes that Americans will finish and send in their forms by that time.

This month I’ve been watching a couple of television programs that focus on family histories of celebrities. Both Who Do You Think You Are on NBC and Faces of America on PBS are helping to popularize the importance of knowing your family history. In this issue I explore the importance of knowing more about who you are by tracing your roots and examining your life.

You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

Featured Article: Who You Really Are

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © March, 2010

One could rightly say that the discovery of who you really are is a lifetime journey. Each day of your life you have the opportunity to learn something, discover new insights, gather information, help others and pass something along. We are all contributing to life and a wise person once shared a saying that has had a profound impact – “Life is not about you; you are about life!”

Yes, this journey we call life is part introspection, part inspiration and part participation. But we also discover more about who we really are by finding out more about our families. How much do you really know about your parents and their lives? And what about their parents (your grandparents), or your great-grandparents and so on back in time? Each one of us is a leaf on our family tree and our trees are thick with branches and leaves stretching back through history.

Two television shows have been giving a boost to researching our pasts and exploring our ancestors. Who Do You Think You Are is a series currently airing Friday nights on the NBC network (more here). Each of the seven episodes focuses on a particular celebrity and spends time helping them search out stories about their ancestors and their past.

Lisa Kudrow (also the executive producer), Matthew Broderick, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith invite us on their personal journey to find out who they are. They use family documents, pictures, census reports and even DNA to help them discover fascinating information. Sarah Jessica Parker found out she has an ancestor who was accused of Witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials of the later 1600;s. Emmitt Smith found out about his slave roots back to Africa, but also a surprise about some relatives involved in slavery - but not themselves slaves! Brook Shields is related to Louis XIV and Matthew Broderick had an ancestor who fought and survived the Battle of Gettysberg in the Civil War. is NBC's official partner on the series.

The extensive multipart series, Faces of America, recently wrapped on PBS (The Public Broadcasting network). This show also featured digging into the past of well-known people like award winning actress Meryl Streep, Olympic ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi, famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Queen Noor, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Stephen Colbert, Eva Longoria and others. Each episode is a great history lesson and shows how diverse and intriguing each person’s story really is. The host, Henry Louis Gates, Jr, is a Harvard scholar and he helps us in the exploration of these prominent Americans using the latest tools of genealogy and genetics. The series is soon to be released on DVD and you can find out lots of terrific information at the official website. Educators – be sure to see the teaching resources!

You can read other articles on life-story writing here.

Resources You Can Use

This is an extensive site of free resources to search out your ancestors, but much more than just databases. There are helpful resources for any genealogist – amateur or pro. You can also find out about the World Archives Project. Additionally, Rootsweb connects to their sister site, For a fee you can get access to a huge amount of old census data and more.

strong> MemoryGrabber 4.0

MemoryGrabber is a great downloadable e-book resource to help you put together your life story. Michael Boyter of Family History Products put this valuable resource together and he’s updated and revised it to make it even better.

It’s very affordable and useful. If you are unsure how to get started on your memoir, autobiography, or life story the MemoryGrabber 4.0 will inspire you and lead you through the practical process of your life history. Find out more here.

Closing Information

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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