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

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October, 2008

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October 30, 2008

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October 26, 2008

It's a fact of life that growing up there will be things you'll dislike about the way you are parented.  Mom and Dad don't always see eye to eye with the children (yes, I know that's something of an understatement!).

Of course, years later, and particularly when you have children of your own, you might appreciate your parents and your upbringing more.  Time has a way of doing that.  And when you are faced with helping your kids grow up you find a different perspective than when you were a child.

One of the great things about having children is you can learn from your parents and your experience and hopefully improve the parenting process through the generations.  But It's not an easy thing to do.

Judy Wright, author of 101 Ways to Get Your Kids to Help at Home, emphasizes the importance of success at home for our children. The more success at home the more likely to find it outside the home.  Bulding positive life experiences is part of our responsibility as parents.  You can find out more about Ms. Wright's book here.

October 21, 2008

Ok, first things first...congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays.  A great series with the Boston Red Sox (my beloved baseball team - see below).  If you love baseball, you love this time of year. As they say, there's only one October!

I saw some more online coverage related to the recent NY Times article about the benefits of hiring a personal historian. and Kimberly Powell, on her blog, mentioned the article and added her endorsement for the idea of personal historians helping you finally get a life story project underway.  See Making a Living as a Personal Historian.

October 17, 2008

Dramatic sports comebacks are great topics of conversation, but they can also teach us good lessons about the power of believing in yourself and perseverance.

I've expressed several times before what a big Boston Red Sox fan I am.  My love for the Sawks (the way they say it in New England) dates back to 1967. I was a kid in second grade and my hero was Carl Yastrzemski.  I followed the team all season long and when they lost in seven games to the St Louis Cardinals in that year's World Series it was the first of many heartbreaking defeats.

But I stuck with my team through the years and amazing seasons.  Ultimately, my joy was fulfilled with the 2004 World Series win (against the Cardinals! Poetic justice?).  And Boston overcame a 3 games to 1 deficit to come back and win last year's American League Championship series against the Cleveland Indians and went on to sweep the Colorado Rockies, the cinderella team of the National League, for another World Series title.

The Red Sox may or may not make it to the World Series this year.  They were all but written off last night, trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 7-0 in the bottom of the 7th when they started an improbable comeback and eventually won the game in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the 9th inning, 8-7!  So they are still alive in the ALCS but must win two more games to advance to the Fall Classic.

Tampa Bay has a great team this year and lots of young, dynamic talent. Their season has been wonderful, going from worst to first (last place in the American League East division in 2007 to winning it this year).  But the never-say-die Red Sox have kept the hopes alive for themselves and the fans of the Red Sox Nation.

How does this translate to our lives and our stories?  Because sports can be a part of your story and the drama of playing hard and winning against long odds teaches us about character, teamwork and sharing in the ups and downs of life.  You surely have personal experiences that you can relate to sports comebacks.  Be inspired and inspire others with the story of your wonderful life.

October 13, 2008

Being a personal historian is something I am passionate about.  I have found in networking with others who work in this field that this is a commonly shared passion.  Helping people recall and share the meaningful events and values of their life is very rewarding.  It is rewarding certainly for the subject of the story, but also for family members, friends and for the personal historian.

There is certainly growth in the field of life and family history preservation.  But I find that people frequently are unsure just what a personal historian does. And that can make it harder to earn a living in such an occupation.  Eventually I hope to work in the field fulltime, but right now I must focus on an income that meets my family's needs so I continue work as a promotions director for a couple of radio stations as well as various web and Internet projects.

The work of personal historians will always be significant.  The number of professionals working in the field will continue to grow.  I have no doubt about that.  It may be that this type of work is best suited for those in their "second half of life" (50 plus) who have their own life experiences and also are looking for a career they can pursue into their own autumn years.

An excellent article in this past Sunday's NY Times - Tales From the Past, Preserved for Families - gives a good insight into the work of personal historians, including APH members Susan Owens, David O'Neil and Sarah White.

October 10, 2008

What a drag if you had done considerable writing of your autobiography and then had your only copy stolen.  That's what happened to Roger Moore, noted actor (one of the few to play "James Bond" in multiple films).

Apparently he had written about 14,000 words and it was saved on a disc that was then stolen out of his bag at the Geneva airport some years ago.  It put him off of the project for a long time, but with encouragement from his wife and daughter he's returned to the project (story at

This instance reminds of us of the importance of making backup copies of your writing.  For those of you still struggling with how to start I really recommend Michael Boyter's excellent MemoryGrabber.  So much good help, prompting and suggestions for preserving family history in a very user-friendly downloadable format - and a real bargain at under $15.  More on MemoryGrabber here.

October 8, 2008

I discovered something called The Oxford Project.  I know, it sounds like some "high-brow" intellectual study.  Actually, it was a great life story project put together by photographer Peter Feldstein and Stephen Bloom, a University of Iowa journalism professor who interviewed and recorded the histories of the residents of the small Iowa town of Oxford.

It was 1984 when Feldstein got nearly all of the town's 676 residents to agree to being photographed. Twenty years later he sought them out to re-photograph and brought Bloom along to conduct the interviews.

The pictures "then and now" are great, but even better were the stories told by the various residents.  As Bloom put it, "My job in Oxford was to talk to the voiceless, to people who don't have any voice who are the backbone of America."  And his easy-going manner and questioning yielded wonderful responses.

Read about this intriguing look into everyday American citizens (The Oxford Project) online at

October 1, 2008

The APH annual conference this year is in Salt Lake City, October 29 - November 2.  Crossroads in Personal History is the theme and it will give the many attendees a great boost in developing their personal history businesses.  Networking, workshops, speakers and gatherings (both in groups and one-on-one) along with the amazing resources of the Family History Library in this Utah city will make it another powerful event.

Here's a link to a recent article in the Daily Herald, a Utah newspaper, about the upcoming conference.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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