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 Future generations will want to know how your family was affected, and if any relatives were impacted.
Tip 5. There are three popular ways of writing your story. One: “Topical styles” record the history of vari- ous people and events. This style can be arranged in memories relating to siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, or by events such as Christ- mas, birthdays, school, hobbies, weddings, births, and more. Two: “Journal styles” are created in a dated for- mat. Although the exact dates for your memories are not necessary, the journal progresses from the earliest to the latest memories, and may include your recol- lections of a trip you took, school experiences, family holidays, and other important events. When you don’t know exact dates, use descriptions such as “when I
was 14,” or “during my senior year in high school,” to define time periods. Three: “Narratives” are written in a story form. Write about an event the way you remem- ber it happening. Your family story will read more like a novel when written in this format.
Tip 6. Spelling is important! When the names of per- sons, places, cities, and streets are misspelled, it can pre- vent future generations from finding the information they need to build further on the family history. City and town directories are good sources for accuracy.
Chris Howe reminisces while holding an old family portrait.
Tip 7. Use the full names of family members you write about. If they go by a nickname, place it in quotes or parentheses. An example might be William A. “Skip” Banks, or William A. Banks (nickname - Skip). When searching for birth, marriage, or death records, it’s important to have the full name.
Tip 8. Photographs are a must for family histories. Identify the people in the photo by writing their names on the back behind their place in the image, or identify on a separate piece of paper. If you know the location or event where the photograph was taken, record that information as well. Acid-free envelopes, folders and boxes are an excellent way to safely pre- serve photographs and documents.
Additional information and tips can be found at Whether you choose to simply write a story about yourself, or a more detailed family history, it will be a wonderful gift for your family and future generations. When great grandchil- dren discover that your favorite food, color, or book is the same as theirs, they’ll be delighted to have that in common with you. Your personal story, and that of your ancestors, can have a great influence on the choices future generations make! ✶
Judith Hayes

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