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Read about quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products, links, services

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August, 2007

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August 30, 2007

The real family legacy is in the stories.  At family get togethers it is not uncommon for someone to start telling a story about their youth, or how it was when they went into the military, or that huge storm that shut down the city "back in the day".  All these stories can be fun to hear, but quite often today families don't get a chance to do that.  More often these days families are spread out over different geographic regions and the times when they do get together can be too infrequent or short to share quality time...and quality stories.

Yet, these stories - our family histories - should and must be shared and saved. Andrea Gross, a personal historian, wrote about this in a just published article for the St. Petersburg Times online here.  

One of the things she mentions is how inspiring it can be to do some of your research at NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration.  I found that to be an interesting coincidence, since I had just recently attended a workshop put on by someone who works for NARA. I wrote about it in the latest issue of the Your Life is Your Story monthly ezine (you can read it here).

August 28, 2007

The truth that many of the so-called "Baby Boomers" are awakening to (and I count myself among them) is that while we have had great dreams, with passions and desires to fulfill them, our careers and responsibilities have often gottenw in the way.  "Life" happened.

This doesn't mean we must discard our dreams. On the contrary, with our maturity and life lessons we may now be better equipped to tackle them in our second half of life.  Sometimes we need help bringing forth those dreams.  Life story documentation and memoir writing can certainly assist in those areas. One of the most powerful ideas is to consider and write about Your Life Changing Event.

Chris Donner, a personal historian and fellow APH member has an interesting blog where you can explore these Baby Boomer issues and post your comments. See it here.

August 20, 2007

An article that appeared over the weekend in USA Today by Mary Forsell under the section 5 Things You Need to Know About has some short and smart tips for writing your family history.  These tips are things I've recommended, as have many other personal historians. It's nice to see them in a consise article in a publication of great size and reach. It's another affirmation of the growing interest in family history.  See the article here.

August 13, 2007

The outstanding Association for Personal Historians will be holding their 13th annual conference this year in Nashville, Tennessee.  The event, November 8-12, promises to once again deliver high quality workshops and presentations on all areas of life story preservation, including written forms, oral history, digital recording, video  biographies and the various aspects that help one create and maintain a succesful business as a personal historian.

The discount rate for the conference is good through this Wednesday (8/15) and then the price goes up. Check out all the information online here.

August 9, 2007

Any baseball fan, in fact just about anyone watching the news, is aware that a major milestone happened two days ago when Barry Bonds hit career home run number 756.  That broke the record held by Hank Aaron.

Hammerin' Hank Aaron had a spectacular career and faced a lot of pressure and even ridicule and racism when he was breaking Babe Ruth's home run record.  He was nothing but class in his video congratulations message played on the giant screen at the San Francisco Giants ballpark on August 7, 2007 after Bonds hit the home run.

Barry Bonds has been under lots of scrutiny and pressure for suspicion of using performance enhancement drugs (i.e. steroids).  Some think if he did (he's never admitted it despite all the rumors and allegations) that it taints the record.

Whether Bonds has been using substances banned by Major League Baseball or not, it is still an historic occasion.  That's a lot of home runs.  I think it was good that he hit it in front of the home town fans.

From a life story perspective I find that it is another measuring point in our timelines.  For a lifetime baseball fan like myself it is a reminder of a game I enjoyed playing in my youth and still enjoy watching today.

August 5, 2007

NBC rebroadcast the Emmy award-winning 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship today and as I watched it I was really moved the number of very inspiring stories.  It's one thing for the amazing elite athletes to not only endure, but conquer, the 140 mile event in Hawaii (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bicyling and running a full 26.2 mile marathon).  It's another thing entirely to watch those who completed the event despite enormous odds and obstacles.

Sister Madonna Buder, at the age of 76, finished her 20th Ironman triathlon! Army major and Iraq veteran David Rozelle finished his first Ironman.  He's the first war amputee to do that, having lost his right foot to a land mine in Iraq in 2003.

Two other amazing stories of note were Brian Breen and "Team Hoyt".

Breen was competing in his first Ironman and doing it for Jon Blais, a triathlete with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Blais actually was able to finish the Ford Ironman in Hawaii in 2005, just 5 months after the diagnosis of his afliction.  But in 2006 his ALS was too far advanced for him to compete. Breen was so inspired by Blais (known to his fellow triathletes as the "Blazeman") that he struck up a friendship with Blais, then entered and finished the Ironman.

Team Hoyt is another amazing and inspiring story.  Dick Hoyt's son, Rick, was born with cerebral palsy and is a non-vocal paraplegic.  But he is not a vegetable; he's smart and aware and Rick's father has dedicated his life to making sure his son is included in as many activities as he can.  Together they have participated in many marathons and triathlons.  Dick Hoyt tethers a boat to his waist and pulls his son in the swim, carries him in a modified front seat on his bicycle and pushes him in a special racing wheelchair.

These incredible stories show us that despite setbacks and challenges we are capable of achieving amazing things that motivate and insprire others.  It was especially poignant to me today as I was watching the rebroadcast of last 
year's Ford Ironman World Championship.  I was sore from my 20 mile training run (I'm entering my second marathon on September 2).  But my pain paled as I watched these special athletes and special people.

Go for your dream. Don't let disabilities or setbacks stop you.  Live your life to the fullest and consider sharing your journey with others.

August 2, 2007

The horrible news about the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Wednesday reminds us once again how tenous life can be and how on any given day tragedy can strike (info here).

However, we can all be grateful that the disaster was not worse.  And out of this situation we again will see stories of triumph as people go above and beyond to help those in need.  

There is a very active group of personal historians in the Minneapolis area. These Minnesotans belong to the APH (Association of Personal Historians) and they've done a lot to educate the public about the importance of preserving their life stories.  In particular, the Got Stories project has demonstrated how a group of life story specialists can collaborate on projects.  I, for one, will not be surprised to see in the future some compelling stories by this group about people who witnessed or were touched personally by the collapse of the Minnesota bridge.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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