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Preserving Family History - A Priceless Gift

With the holidays approaching our thoughts turn to family gatherings and celebration of the season. What a great time of year to record and preserve family history and memories that will eventually fade and may disappear as loved ones pass on.

One of my most treasured possessions is a recorded interview session with my parents in the early 80"s. How I had the insight at that time of my life to want to not forget any of the stories, songs and history that I remember hearing as a child, I am thankful I acted on my insight. The technology and equipment that was available in the 80"s was nothing like what we have today. I used a cassette tape recorder (yes I know, some of you may not even know what that is) to record the conversations with my mom and dad.

My parents have long since passed away but a few years ago I had several copies of the cassette made into a CD that I sent to my brothers, sisters and their children. Some of the nieces and nephews were very small children and had no memory of their grandparents. My brothers, sisters and I were overjoyed to hear the voice, laughter and reminiscent of the past as mom and dad shared their story.

The recording that I made was an interview with each parent asking; names of other relatives, when and where they were born, the names of the schools they attended, their favorite subject in school, first car, first job, what they wanted to be as a child, how they met, where they married. To record the stories that I was fond of hearing from childhood I would ask "tell me about the time you............. Or what happened the night you thought you saw a ghost?" My mother was always singing so I had her sing songs that she sung as a small girl and tell the nursery rhymes and stories that she recalled from childhood. These treasured memories I will forever keep and pass on to my family.

There are so many great recording devices as well as tools available to help you get started documenting the life of your loved one. One great book available to guide you with thought provoking questions is called "To Our Children's Children Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come" by Bob Greene.

This holiday season remember the past and preserve your memories for future generations. Don't let precious photos, traditions and stories go untold or forgotten; our family history is a priceless gift!

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