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    Sunday
    May062012

    You - The Subject of Your Family History

    There’s a branch of the family tree that a lot of family historians ignore – themselves.

    People often express frustration about not being able to discover interesting stories as they research ancestors. They say, “I wish I’d asked ________to tell me more family stories before he/she died.” When future historians in your family look back, will they say that about your generation?

    Courtesy of the Italian voice under Creative Commons

    They won’t if you preserve your own personal history.

    What generation are you more qualified to write about than your own? You are a primary source who can pass on first hand knowledge of what it was like to live through the last half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. No one knows the twists and turn of your life or can tell the story of those turning points better than you can?

    If you are fortunate enough to have had an ancestor’s diary, journal or memoir to help you document your family’s history you’ll know the value of preserving your personal history.

    What may be even more interesting is the insight it will provide the next generation into who you are. Most of us write family histories for the grandchildren. If you are one of those people, Oprah Winfrey offered some sound advice. She said, “I urge you to pursue preserving your personal history to allow your children and grandchildren to know who you were as a child and what your hopes and dreams were.”

    So, take some time out from researching distant ancestors to mine your own memory for the nuggets of an interesting and important addition to your family’s history – your own memoir.

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