How to Record Your Family History
If you're wondering how to record your family history, you're not alone. Many people find themselves in search of ways to preserve family memories, especially as they grow older and have children of their own.
Choose a Format
The first step in recording your family history is to decide on a format for your project. Do you want to make a scrapbook that includes basic genealogy information as well as important family photos? Do you want to collect an oral history? There are many different ways to organize a family history project, so your imagination is the limit.
Narrow the Focus
Once you've decided how to present your information, you need to narrow the focus of your project. Learning how to record your family history is a massive undertaking. It would be impossible to document every relative, so you may want to focus on one particular person or a single line of descendants organized by generation.
Questions to Ask
There are scrapbook kits and genealogy software programs that can make it easy to complete this type of project by providing you with a basic template for your research. However, you can certainly compile your own list of questions if you prefer.
If you're not a history buff, consider doing some background research about the time period you are focusing on before you schedule interviews with family members. You will be able to formulate better questions if you have an idea of what issues were important during a specific time or what life was like for the general population.
When interviewing elderly relatives, remember to be patient. Many older people have memory issues, so you'll need to keep your interview session fairly short. Consider bringing along photographs to help jog your subject's memory regarding specific events.
Share Your Work
When your project is complete, don't forget to take the time to share your work with other members of your family. Children tend to be fascinated by genealogy, especially when a family history includes stories about what life was like when their ancestors were young.
The LoveToKnow Genealogy Family Tree Chart slideshow has suggestions for compiling a family tree to include in your project.