What Story and Why
How to Tell
Research is Fun
Personal History PassionAn article by Tom Gilbert - © January, 2010
If you wonder what your ancestors were like, what kind of people they were, where they came from and what they did with their lives, you are not alone. More and more people are searching and researching their family history. Your past, including the history of your parents, grandparents and the rest of the “family tree” is a rich source waiting to be discovered. If you don’t already know the stories that make up your family history you are missing out on a vital part of your story.
There is also the story of your life – all your experiences, values, expectations, lessons and more are waiting to be shared with your family. They need to know about your life journey. You need to know about it, too. Critical reflection of your life journey is beneficial on many different levels.
Maybe you’ve thought about working in the field of personal history preservation. It is a growing field and there are many ways to go about it. There is also a tremendous need, whether you are inspired to do it as a hobby, for your personal family or as a professional.
I first became interested in writing and preserving personal history when I was exploring various options that would utilize my writing abilities and Internet skills. I’ve been involved in Internet exploration and marketing since the mid-1990’s. And I’ve enjoyed writing about my life, as well as the life of friends and family for quite a while. My research several years ago revealed a great growing interest in people preserving their life stories. That interest continues to grow. One of the most popular genres is now memoir. Workshops for writing autobiographies, journal writing, and the use of video and digital scrapbooking are also at an all-time high.
If you want to pursue life story capture I recommend that you learn what others are doing. This is part of the purpose of Your Life is Your Story. There are many others working in the field of personal history that you can learn from, too. I have discovered a wealth of associations and resources through my membership in the fast-growing Association of Personal Historians. The yearly membership fee provides exceptional benefits, such as exposure of my services through their website for those searching for a personal historian, credibility to people I encounter who are interested in preserving personal history, a vast network of helpful colleagues, resources for developing my skills and an ever expanding idea bank from email and forum participation. This year the APH is developing additional resources to enhance the value of membership. I highly recommend this organization.
There are also experts and contributors to the field of life story preservation who’ve published excellent books or teach workshops and seminars. I continually grow and hone my skills from these resources.
Additionally, having an Internet presence is essential. Whether you create a website as a home-base for your family’s history and stories, or as the “store front” for your services and specialties, a website is the most immediate way for people to discover who you are and what you offer. I’ve spent years of ongoing development of my site. I use the resources and tools of Site Build It! from sitesell.com and it has worked exceedingly well for me. I consider it a corner piece of my personal history endeavors. You can find out more about Site Build It with this Upclose look on my site.
The most important ingredient for me as I continue to work in the field of life story capture and personal history is passion. I really believe in the importance of this work – both for my family and myself and for others. If you have a similar passion you can do something important that will contribute to the lasting legacies of others.
You can read other articles on life-story writing here.
Everybody has a story to tell!