Preserving your family’s story for future generations

Nowadays, most families are too busy to spend much time listening to their elders’ stories. This means that often, when the great-grandparents, grandparents or parents pass away, most of their and your family’s stories pass away with them, and they are lost forever.

Why preserve your family’s stories

Do you have a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who remembers their childhood, early adulthood, or the stories their parents or grandparents told them about the olden days?

If you document those stories, preserve those stories, you will save them from being lost. Not just for you and your children, but for future generations.

Listening to life stories

To preserve your family’s stories, someone – either a family member, or a life story writer – will need to sit down with your elder, and listen to their stories.

Under normal circumstances, face to face contact would be the preference, with phone and the internet (Skype, Facetime or Zoom) as other options.
However, in the current COVID-19 environment, unless the family member lives in your household, these information-gathering sessions can only take place by phone or the internet.

The elder – for example, your grandmother – can be asked questions about their memories, old photographs (which a great way to start a conversation), or simply listened to while they talk about whatever they want.

Documenting life stories

While the elder is speaking, the person documenting the story needs to:

  • record the discussion using a digital audio recorder/audio recording app, or
  • record the discussion using a video-recorder or video-recording app, or
  • write or type everything they say, as they speak, into a document.*

* Typing while you speak is my usual method of documenting life stories.

We recommend you ask for help from a professional life stories writer at  Life Stories Australia if you would like someone to:

  • document your elder’s or family’s stories into a photocopied book/booklet
  • scribe, write, compile and edit a self-published book (memoir, autobiography) of your elder’s or family’s stories
  • record and produce a video recording of your elder’s or family’s stories.

Life Stories Australia

Life Stories Australia members specialise in different areas including:

  • scribing, editing and producing life stories books, based on the storyteller’s spoken memories (typed as they speak, or recorded then typed)
  • writing life stories based on research and consultations with different people
  • producing and self-publishing storytellers’ memoirs and autobiographies
  • producing life stories videos based on consultations and research.

If you would like more information about documenting or self-publishing your family’s stories, contact me here, or contact Life Stories Australia.

Edited by Dee Sansom – On Time Typing, Editing and Proofreading

Image: Steve PB, Pixabay.

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