You’ve spent nearly a lifetime accumulating memories and knowledge. Now that you’ve entered your golden years, have you considered how to preserve your family history? Throughout your life, you’ve given everything that you could to your family. One day, your children and grandchildren will laugh and smile as they swap stories about the treasured memories they have of you. In a sense, you’ll live forever.
The thing about memories, though, is that the details start to become a bit fuzzy over time. Did your parents or grandparents have any family recipes that they cooked during the holidays, for example? Did they write those recipes down, or did you have to guess when it was your turn to cook for family gatherings? Your experiences are unique and special – and now is the time to begin thinking about how you’re going to pass them on. We have some tips that can help.
How to Preserve Your Family History
Create a Family Scrapbook
How many keepsakes do you have stored in random boxes throughout your home? Without some of your guidance, would your family members know the background stories behind those items? Collect your treasured items in a scrapbook. Label pictures with names and dates whenever possible, and consider writing some journal entries to tell stories as well. You’ll be creating an heirloom that your family members can pass down from one generation to the next. More importantly, you will be showing your descendants how to preserve your family history by starting something that they can continue.
Create a Digital Archive
If you don’t have the time or inclination to create a scrapbook, consider creating a digital archive instead. It isn’t difficult at all to send your treasured pictures, papers, and other items (like postcards and plane tickets) to a digital archivist for scanning. You’ll receive digital copies of those items on a DVD, hard drive, or flash memory card. Upload the files to an online storage service such as Google Drive, and you’ll never need to worry about losing them in a fire or other disaster. Plus, your children and grandchildren will appreciate having their family history in a convenient, digital format.
TIP: If you aren’t very tech-savvy, ask your children or grandchildren for help creating your digital archive!
Of all your family members, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren (if you have any) will spend the least amount of time with you. By the time they reach your age, their memories of you may not be as vivid as they are now. Thankfully, your youngest relatives probably have smartphones – and smartphones make recording videos incredibly easy. Ask your grandchildren if they will interview you, and be sure to record the interview(s) using a smartphone (or a camera, camcorder, etc). Allow them to quiz you on topics they find interesting, but also feel free to mention your favorite stories. Every video will go a long way toward preserving the history of your family, and your grandchildren will appreciate your effort more than you know.
Every family has a long history full of interesting people and stories. If you want these memorable family members, events, and traditions to live on long after your death, take some time now to share them with your descendants. Learning how to preserve your family history won’t just benefit you; it will also strengthen your family’s bond, connecting your late ancestors with future generations.
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