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7 Ways to Capture the Wealth of Family Stories

Grandparents are a wealth of family stories

Perhaps you’ve heard the adage: when a great person dies, a library burns. And to be fair, it’s not just a great person. When a loved one dies, a wealth of family stories is lost too.

That truth is particularly painful for me. In the past several months, I’ve had some key relatives pass away. One in particular knew my father and would have been a great resource for me to learn his stories. But with his passing, any chance to learn his stories slipped away.

Do you have people in your life that are a wealth of stories? Do you want to learn about their travels? Perhaps the wars they fought in? Or the hard times that made them great? Don’t miss the opportunity to transfer the treasures of the library.

Here are seven ways to capture the wealth:

  1. Go on a field trip. Visit places that they lived or worked and capture those stories.
  2. Organize the photo album. Collect old photos. Put them in date order and go through the people and places they knew.
  3. Create a timeline. This one is pretty simple. Buy a poster board and create a timeline of their life.
  4. Create the family tree. Put together your family tree and go through the relatives and the stories surrounding them.
  5. Collect your family mementos. Put together the collection of family mementos and heirlooms—this may be books, the family clock, the blanket, the teddy bear, the war medal—and put them on display.
  6. Utilize family legacy services. There are now more organizations than ever that will do the work for you of documenting your family story, create family videos, digitize photos, etc. One of those is
  7. Turn on the video camera. Take short spots of time to document by video different elements of the family story, for example: first car, wedding day, first job, favorite place they visited, etc.

If you’ve utilized other methods, then please share them with me in the comments.

Related articles:
A Lifetime of Stories, One Seat Over
Why Do I Write About Family Legacy?
10 Questions for Uncovering Family Stories

Photo by Paolo Bendandi on Unsplash

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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