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    « Creating an Archival Quality Memoir or Family History Book | Main | It's Our Nature to Create Memoirs and Family Histories »

    What's the Deadline for Your Family History Book?

    Last Saturday we presented a seminar on creating memoir and family history books at a Borders in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the points that we wanted to make is that most people know that preserving stories – our heritage -  is important. But they put it off. They say, “I’ll do it someday.”

    At one point in the seminar I asked the participants what their deadline was for completing their family histories. I went on to relate the story of actor Robert DeNiro who had always intended to get his family stories down, but couldn’t when his mother died. He told an interviewer, “One regret I have: I didn't get as much of the family history as I could have for the kids.” I looked at one of the women in the group as I was completing DeNiro’s story. There were tears in her eyes. “My father just died,” she said.

    We couldn’t have found a more graphic, if somewhat uncomfortable, way of illustrating the importance of getting your stories preserved before they are lost. If you have elderly relatives whose stories you want to collect do it now. If you at least record your loved one’s stories they can be transcribed and organized into a book later. But you need to act to make sure that the stories are preserved.

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