I have always loved mementos and keepsakes. Anything old with a story from a family member was special to me. Because of this love for memories I have been a family archivist of sorts since a young age. I kept memorable things from elementary school. When I was in middle school I asked for my first scrapbook so I could have a place to collect all my memorable tokens of life. I have so many photo albums, all carefully documented with dates, places, and names of people. I also have kept various journals since the age of 8. I’m not the most consistent of diarists, but I hope that my loved ones will get a sense of who I was as I grew and matured throughout my life.
Having a sense of where I came from and who my ancestors are is also important to me. I find it fascinating to learn of my people, who by chance met each other, fell in love, and had children. Then those children did the same thing, and on and on until there was me. Some of those ancestors lived good lives. Some struggled and made mistakes. I am a conglomerate of Native Central American, French Canadian, and British people. Like so many of us, I’m a mix of immigrants from long ago to just a generation back. My fascination with my ancestors has led me to research and create family trees to better understand where I came from and learn the names of the people who created me. With all the searching I have done there is one thing I have found lacking – stories.
It is very rare to find journals or diaries from ancestors. I haven’t found any yet. The closest I have come is a genealogical book created by a great aunt on my mother’s side. In it are family trees, a few memories of a great-great grandfather, and a short biography of his adult life. A very small window into his life, but nothing from him personally.
I have determined a couple things from all my interest in family history and research. The two most valuable things I could leave behind are pictures and my personal stories. This also got me thinking about all the stories I have heard from family members. Having a written record of their stories is “gold,” but having a recording of their voices telling the story is even more precious. For this reason I have mulled over the idea for years of how to record and archive my loved ones’ stories.
I don’t know anything about audio recording or how to interview people, but this is the start of my project. I’m diving in to figure out how to do this. This is my written history of what I learn. Join me.