September 26, 2010

Sharing Memories (Week 43): Getting Family Members Input

This is Week 43 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. Your memories are your legacy to your children and grandchildren. Don't let them be lost over time.

An anonymous reader (wish I knew how to set my blog so no one could post without leaving a first name) left a very interesting comment last week. I'm posting her [?] question here because I really like the idea she [?] presented! Her [?] questions not only deserve answers but pose an interesting starting point for discussion.

Hi Lorine: Can I ask a newbie question? How do you store these shared memories?

All of my parents, grandparents (adoptive and biological) and their siblings are still alive, so I've taken to sending out emails asking about the topic you provide each week. Everyone replies with their individual answers and I write back asking some questions to specify or clarify points and then I just seem to leave the responses in my email archives.

These people are still alive so I'm wary of uploading the memories onto my family tree even if it is set to private.

I'm considering perhaps buying Family Tree Maker and including the responses as an event 'Occupation' (edited into a coherent paragraph or two) in FTM which I can share as required.

I just feel a little bad getting all this info in and leaving it in my email archives. What does everyone do with their shared memories?
I think this reader's idea of sending out the weekly suggested topics to family members is an excellent idea. What a great way to get other relatives' memories recorded.

Personally I would not want to place those digital memories on any website, no matter how private. If they ever accidentally became public it could be quite disconcerting or embarrassing to other living people.

Since they are already in digital form (emails) I'd do two things with them. I'd definitely enter them (copy and paste) into whatever genealogy program I prefer. I use FTM but confess that I am partial to FTM 2005! I'm still struggling with the upgrades. They're amazing but a big learning curve and I'm not the most patient person for spending the time needed to conquer new programs when I have one I am familiar with.

The second thing I would do is create a little family booklet. I'd scan photos and add them along with the shared memories that other family members have sent me (and my own memories of course!). I'd put in basic information on each individual in my booklet and have a page or two for each person, plus a chart to show relationships to me.

Then I'd create a front and back cover, print the booklet and use a coil binding to keep it together. I would not distribute the booklet without permission of every person who sent me their memories but at least I have a copy both in digital and hard copy format.

I think it's a marvellous idea and am going to start sending my topics to my siblings, then cross my fingers for their input!


Holly said...

The 'weekly' question IS a great idea. I wonder how many (since there are very few of us) will bite, in my family.

My cousin already does in bits and pieces and I too, have them in my email archives, not where they should be. I have started in WORD, my own memories and I should transfer others shared to a file there as well at the very least. Then organize (someday) to a 'scrapbook' of some kind. Good post.

S said...

I apologise! That was me.

S said...

I apologise Lorine, that was me!
And yes, it is 'she'

I've done some searching around Google and there is no easy way for you to remove anonymous comments. You can set the blog to only allow registered users, but that may reduce the ease of posting for most readers. I'll make sure I actually include my name in the future though.

I have been considering making up a basic booklet. Earlier this year for my nephew's first birthday I created a photo collage with all the ancestor photos I had at that point. It ended up looking a little like this

If I make up the booklet with a person per page, matching the images in the photo frame, and staple the booklet to the back of the frame, my nephew will always know who these people were.
I guess it is just a matter of actually getting it done.

Thank you for the suggestion!