I have been thinking quite a bit about personal histories lately and in today's newspaper, the Deseret News, there is a great story on writing personal histories and the importance of them.
I did an article a little while ago about keeping a journal, but of course family histories are quite different. We may not have kept a journal throughout our lives, so those day-to-day stories may not be told, but if you have not kept a journal and even if you have, I strongly recommend you write a personal history.
You may think to yourself, I don't really have anything that interesting in my life to write about. Even if you feel that way, your descendants 100 years from now will be thrilled you wrote what you did. Everyone has a story worth telling.
In this article it states that the Utah Chapter of the Association of Personal Historians is on a mission: "Saving your life, one story at a time." Paulette Stevens, a member of the association says "We still have many of the Greatest Generation with us, those who lived through the Depression, went to war and came home to make solid contributions to society. We have been standing on their shoulders for decades, but now they are going away. We need their stories before they go."
Stevens later goes on and says "So often, people think that if they get down what happened, that's the end. But what is most important is what it means to them. Sometimes, just asking, 'how did you feel about that?' can make a huge difference."
To read more about this article and how you can go about writing your personal history, visit the Deseret News.
Frank Gibson, resident of Henderson Nevada, gave a talk in his local church congregation about writing in your journal.
Keeping a journal is a great resource for both you and your descendants. It is great for you to reflect on the things you have accomplished in your life and to review the goals you set, and it is great for your descendants because it gives them a first account history of your life.
Below is a part of Gibson's talk focusing on why we should keep a journal.
"Everyone should be a student of their own life, and your journal is your workbook. You write it yourself as you go along, page by page."
"I think that if you're going to make progress in any aspect of life, you have to keep track of that progress and you have to keep track of it somewhere," he said. "I think it's a good practice to use a journal as a workbook to keep track of progress.
"I especially encourage people to write questions to themselves. It's so easy to ask the easy questions; we want to be able to ask the more difficult questions as we go along. 'What kind of person do I want to be? Why do I want to be that kind of person? What do I need to do to get from where I am to where I want to go?' It's a way to hold myself accountable. Without having to talk it over with somebody else, you can talk it over with your journal." - Frank Gibson
He later goes on and gives a 16-point journal "cheat sheet" on your life's journal. Here are the 16 points:
- Note the date, time and location of each entry. As you review your journal, it will provide the context of where you were and what you were experiencing when you wrote each entry.
- Keep your journal with you at all times. You can't write in it if you don't have it with you.
- How often do you write in your journal? As often as you want to. It's your journal.
- Using a journal is a simple discipline of thinking on paper. If you don't capture your thoughts and plans, they will soon be lost.
- Use your journal to capture important moments in your life.
- If you hear a quote, read something that strikes you, or have a question about your own life that you want to explore further at a future time, write it down in your journal.
- Use your journal to talk to yourself about your life, and your progress towards fulfilling your life potential.
- Ask and answer questions about your life.
- Describe how you really feel, and what you really want for yourself.
- Examine what is standing between you and the life you really want to live.
- Paint a picture of the limitless paths you could travel in life.
- Describe your ideal life, write a list of goals you want to achieve, and then write out a detailed plan to take you there.
- Use your journal to help you express, analyze, ponder, explain, record, consider, and examine your life.
- Answer the question: What progress am I making with my life?
- Capture your personal history as you go along.
- You may want to spend a little money on your journal, for the challenge then becomes to find something equally valuable to write in it.
You never know who might be able to help you with your genealogy.
Mike King, Utah, has been researching his great-great grandmother for quite some time. He has written a book from the research he has done. Mike King's book about his great-great-grandmother uncovers the mystery of who killed the Scottish immigrant in 1891.
It is a pretty interesting story on how even strangers can help you with your family history. Click here to read the story. You can also buy the book on Amazon.