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May Is Personal History Awareness Month

The month of May is set aside by personal historians as the month to generate awareness about the importance of personal history. During the month of may we encourage people to do something to preserve their personal and/or family history. Everyone has a story and it is so important for us to record, preserve and validate our stories. How will people remember you, your parents, your grandparents and other ancestors?

Did you know that most people today cannot name their great-grandparents?

Does that give you pause? It should. Because that means your great-grandchildren may not know anything about you. Unless, that is, you do something to preserve your story (and the stories of your family).

When it comes right down to it, the history that we know is basically biographies of other people. Significant historical events are recalled through the memories of those who lived through them. Ask those who grew up during the Great Depression. Ask yourself about September 11, 2001. You can easily get the idea.

Many people get overwhelmed when they begin to contemplate a life story project, but that’s no excuse for not doing something. Any project begins with some basic steps. The way to get started is to – get started!

First of all, consider that your life story project does not need to be “perfect”. Too many people want a perfect end product, maybe even a bestseller. Well, not to burst anyone’s bubble, but nobody’s life is perfect. And your written life story (or audio, video, scrapbook, website or other means of capturing your story) does not need to be perfect. Quality? Yes, of course. But don’t be a perfectionist. The main thing is to commit to doing something.

Procrastination is another project killer. People think there will always be time to do this. There is danger in putting it off. Memories fade. Older relatives aren't with us forever. “Someday never comes”.

But guess what? “someday” is here. NOW is the perfect time to get started. And what a great family project?

*Editor note – For Christmas this year I got both my parents a personal tape recorder and a bunch of cassettes (I was looking for the easiest method. I know there is better technology. I will convert later!) so that they could begin to do just this. Once they are gone, so is the history.

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