Your family’s history can be your legacy for future generations. Each family has stories waiting to be told in family treasures, like a father’s collection of letters written in World War II, a great-grandmother’s diary detailing her daily life from the early Twentieth Century, and a grandfather’s office files that provide insight into his career, his relationships with family, and contributions to local and national organizations. We all have boxes of “stuff” stored in attics and basements, waiting to be understood and transformed into stories that can be shared.
Each family’s story is unique and important, and risks being lost untold. Your family’s story is contained in the documents and photographs that your family has saved across the generations. And it is contained in the living memories of your family members.
There are several things you and your family can do to save the documents, photographs and memories, and to tell your family’s story for future generations. The main steps involve organizing and preserving family papers and photographs, recording oral histories of family members, researching outside sources to augment family records, and writing a family history that tells the story through today and sets a foundation for the story to come.
You do not have to take all of these steps at once, but it is important to organize and preserve the documents and photographs and to record oral histories quickly so that irreplaceable information is not lost.
Susan Goodman Novick, certified archivist and historian, helps families save and tell their stories by:
Organizing and preserving family papers and photographs
Conducting oral histories
Finding additional information needed to complete family history
Writing family history
Helping find the best place to accept family collections