I tried forms. I tried interviews. Some family members are really cooperate, sharing what they know and have willingly. Others are definitely more challenging and not so open.
After a bit of trial and error, I found a book that helped with some family members to jog their memories and compel them to share them. “To Our Children’s Children: Journal of Family Memories” by Bob Greene and D.G. Fulford is a journal style book that asks questions and invites the reader to write down answers to family history questions.
The beautifully designed book asks thought-provoking, memory triggering questions, providing space for the writer to write, filling in the blanks of their life on paper. The two books combined really challenge memories while not being too invasive. Asking the questions in the privacy of the person’s home without human interference or interruption can often bring back more memories.
For family members intimidated or unfamiliar with computers, sitting down with a book and pen in hand is much more comfortable and non-threatening. After all, it’s just a few questions, not an interrogation. It’s been wonderful to see the response!
Greene’s companion book is “To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come”, a combination which makes it even easier for family members to tell their life story.
If you are looking for a gift to give someone in your family for the holidays, this two book combination is a winner. Help preserve family memories forever by inviting them to help you share their own memories with you.
These books are also not just for giving. Consider giving them to yourself to record your own memories to share with your children’s children and other relatives. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
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