Recording a Life Story: Simplified

Website design By BotEap.comLast summer I discovered that my husband’s grandmother did not have any kind of life history on record. She has no diaries and photographs are few. She is the last living grandmother on both sides and the thought that my children may not know her or even learn about her through photographs and memories is devastating. I was determined to make some kind of record of her life history, but found myself faced with a very daunting task.

Website design By BotEap.comI’ve learned that recording someone’s life doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as a novel-length biography or movie-worthy video, but that even a simple photo or handwritten story can be treasured for years to come. .

Website design By BotEap.comRecording a life history can be simplified.

Website design By BotEap.comFirst, decide on the structure you would like to use. For example, would you prefer a video, an illustrated book, a timeline in journal entries, or biographical articles? Consider your resources, skills, and time available for this project. Find the one that is most practical and achievable in the time allotted for this project.

Website design By BotEap.comThe next and most challenging step will be to collect as much information as possible. Much of this information will be gained simply by asking the right questions. Prepare your questions before the interview so you can organize the stories into a chronological timeline. It was helpful for me to talk to your children before the interview. They remembered facts that their mother had forgotten long ago. Here are some thoughts to consider when planning your interview questions:

Website design By Were there any significant dates in history during your lifetime? How were they affected?

Website design By In addition to great historical events, trivial things can also be fun if you remember them, for example, the price of bread or how they received the news.

Website design By Are there other people you would like to interview to get a different perspective on this person and their life? Kids? Friends?

Website design By Try to include stories rather than just facts. Stories can reveal someone’s character in a way that questions and answers can’t.

Website design By Legacy Questions: Keep in mind that what you write is how future generations will remember this person. What kind of legacy would you like to leave? What are some life lessons you learned that you would like to pass on? Financial? family oriented etc

Website design By BotEap.comDuring the actual interview, remember to have fun and enjoy getting to know the person. Be genuinely interested instead of just filling in your answers. Try to be flexible with your questions and let the conversation flow naturally so they feel comfortable sharing details of experiences with you and reminiscing.

Website design By BotEap.comFinally, put together your final project. Whenever possible, get the person’s input on the structure or design before you complete the project. Respect that although you are doing much of the work, this is their story and they may have a preference for how it is presented. They may not have given this much thought, but it’s polite to ask.

Website design By BotEap.comWhen the life history project is complete, keep it in a place where you can pull it out often to remember them when they are gone and, if possible, make copies for other family members or friends to treasure as well. Be sure to keep a digital copy if possible as a backup. This is one project you’ll never regret completing, and with a simplified approach, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

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