When my mother died a few years ago it came incredibly sudden. It was something we never saw coming. If it were not for the fact that in the past 10 years I had been gathering a living history from her we could have forever lost information for her that is vital in figuring out her family tree. We started doing living histories when my abuelita informed us she had a different last name than what she had gone by her whole life one week short of dying.
Creating living histories are easy. Here are some ideas:
- Start your own journal! To start pick up two journals, one can be like your large plates where you write about your daily ins and outs. The second journal can be for special insight into your life. You can pick special life events to include in your journal, write down your testimony, or share insight into your feelings. These days digital journals are incredibly more convenient for others to later read. Consider doing it online and printing it out or creating a blog.
- Start an Adult Memory Jar or you can do one for your children or for yourself. They also make great gifts for loved ones. This is something my mother did for me before she passed. I gave her the jar at Christmas on my mission and when she died I discovered she had taken the time to do most questions. They contain about 300 prompts that you can quickly paste into a notebook and give a few sentences in response to each question. Go to this website, Adult Journal in a Jar, for more ideas on how to do it. It's easier than you might think.
- Use a digital voice or video recorder. Using a digital voice recorder to interview your family members or yourself is a wonderful way not only to preserve family history but also their voice or if use a video camera you will have their entire likeness preserved. It is important after an interview to type up a transcript of what was said that way if things become lost you will still have that written record. For ideas for interview questions go to this Deseret News Article for more information.
- One of the first LDS traditions I came across was the love of scrapbooking. Scrapbooks can be wonderful journals. Recently my mother in law just created large books out her 20 years of scrapbooking. (There will be several large books for each family of when she finishes her project). This is a great idea and with the invent of digital scrapbooks and digital pictures these books are easy to make. Just make sure to caption everything so that there is a record of who people are.
- Blogging and other forms of social media such as Instagram and Facebook are fast and easy for our fast lifestyle. Many of us use these outlets and are wonderful for keeping in touch with others and reaching out to family and friends who are far away. Please consider that if you are using one of these mediums that mediums change often (anyone on MySpace still). Consider using mediums such as My Social Book to print out your social media posts every year. That way precious memories are never lost.
- Finally remember it is never too early to get your children involved. In my husband's family the kids had special boxes where they put the best of the best from their school year in a tupperware box. Another thing I learned was to often do art at home recording their foot and hand prints. For more Journaling ideas for kids check out Creative Kids Journals.