Ways to preserve your stories
Fun ways to preserve your family history
Capture what your family looks like, what they’re saying and doing now.
Stories are so important. You think you will remember them all because we all have photographic memories that are like steel traps. Or do we? Photos just don’t cut it when it comes to remembering people’s expressions or their unique laugh.
We tend to leave storytelling to authors of books, movies and plays. But we all have stories to tell and passing on family history or capturing snapshots in life is just as important today as it ever was.
So what are the best ways to record your stories?
These options may inspire you to start your story today
FINGERS TO THE KEYBOARD
Write your own story or family history, or contact an autobiographer to interview you and write your story for you. You can record scripted interviews, short articles, or even publish a book. There are plenty of writers and editors around who can help you. I confess, I know very little about this area, so I refer you to Google.
TALK IT UP
Record your story or family interviews using a voice recorder. Nowadays, all smart phones, devices and computers Have various voice recorders. But hey, if you’re ready for dynamic and exciting and want help, you can hire an autobiographer to arrange this for you.
Sight, sound, action! Record family members on video about childhood memories, significant life events, their favourite times and dreams for the future. If you hire a professional photographer to take portraits of your family, you really should hire a professional videographer (like Life and Times Video) to arrange this for you.
Other fun ways to preserve family history
What? Great Grandma was a ballroom dancing champion? Aunty Joan used to be Joe?
There are several extensive on-line genealogy sites you can use to trace your family history. You can also get creative and turn the photos and information into an art project.
Here are some other fun ways to record your family history.
Take copies of family photos, stick these in a scrapbook, and write down facts, dates and memories. This also helps to plan your video (more on this later).
CREATE A FAMILY COOKBOOK
Ahh, the Thompson family cookbook – The perfect gift. We all have a signature dish. My son’s would be scrambled eggs. My nan’s would be meatball soup. My husband holds the secret to the perfect bbq steak. You get the drift. Ham it up – a photo of the dish next to a photo of the person and you have the perfect Christmas, Hannukah, christening, bar or bat mitzvah gift.
DESIGNATE A SPECIAL FAMILY SHELF IN YOUR HOUSE
The Japanese do it as an indoor home shrine. You can do it too. Display old photos, photo albums, or family keepsakes handed down from your ancestors. Create a theme and include knick-knacks or souvenirs from relevant places.
Cindy Siano, Family Video Producer
Hi, I’m Cindy – Life and Times video producer.
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My blog will cover legacy stories about life, family history, or things that fascinate or amuse us. It will also include tips to help people write, research and capture life stories, family history and any other related topics.
Yarn of the year
Here’s something special…
Anyone is welcome to submit their stories on my blog for consideration. And I will select the best ones and award a “Memoir of the Month” and get readers to choose the “Stories of the Season”.
So just keep it:
1. Max 500 words
2. Entertaining (fun, poignant or interesting)
3. Relevant (a story about you or someone in your family)
So here’s where you start (lucky you’re here!)
1) Start with a box - The box your winter boots came in will do
A good place to start your life story or family history is by making up a family history box and to start collecting and organising historical documents, memorabilia, photos and any videos. Depending on how much information you have and family members, you may create a box for each person or family. Lasso those thoughts and get just a bit of discipline. Come on. You can do it!
2) Create a journal or online document just for your life stories
Put time aside weekly that best suits your lifestyle. You may prefer to work in bursts and write down one memory a day, or you could write for several hours on the weekend when you are relaxed and more energetic.
3) FINESSE WITH A BIT OF OOH-LA-LA
Once you get into a routine and start producing content, start thinking about the important stories you would like to preserve. How would you like to organise your stories – in a time sequence, into themes, or chapters of your life.
4) ARE YOU ARE READER, LISTENER OR WATCHER?
Now that you have your information organised and prepared, how do you want to capture your story? If you and your family prefer reading, would you like to publish a book. Would you like to be interviewed and create audio recordings? Or would you like to make a video – combining your interviews, photo’s, family videos and favourite music and capture the vision, expression and voices of those interviewed.
Important point - Marie Kondo would approve!
Make several copies of your photos, certificates and other associated media that you want to include, then scan them and print multiple copies. It’s easy to delete or lose access to electronic information, particularly when you move houses, so this step is important.
So how do all the mediums rate?
At the end of the day, you’ll choose a medium to suit your preferences, technology that you use and budget – writing, audio or video.
But just so you know, if we were to rate each medium by the following criteria, video rated the highest by far for: 1) Level of impact, 2) Creative visuals, 3) Entertainment value, 4) Low production time, 5) Low reading, listening, or viewing time, and 6) Latest and most popular technology.
here are the results
OK, so I’ve left left costs out from the rating. As with all options it will depend on if you produce your own story, or hire a professional biographer, audiographer (yes, this word exists!) or videographer.
Also, you pay for time, so if you produce a short 10 – 15 minute life story compared to 45 to 90 minute documentary on your life, your costs will be significantly lower. The same applies to writing and publishing costs.
Summary - The time is ...oh yeah. Now! (no time like it)
No medium has more impact than the ‘motion picture’ – enabling stories to be told in a compelling way with creative and entertaining vision. Words cannot convey what a video can.
Colloquially, film, or video, not only enables you to capture your loved ones’ stories, but also their voices, smiles, laughs and gestures.
Video is now guys. Get with it! Most people now have smart phones or watch video, well everywhere really!
Testimonial and sample life story video
“Cindy was able to provide and capture on video a moment in time for our family. And that was just priceless. It was a significant time for us while all the family were still living together – a time we are never going to get back. And now, we have this family video that we will look back on forever. That’s a very beautiful gift.” Geniene