Sunday, 31 July 2011

Leaving your Legacy - Write your memoirs

As a Professional Genealogist I spend many hours researching a client’s family history, identifying who their ancestors were, where they lived, what they did for a living, unearthing old photos and any other information that I can locate.  However there are still many questions I cannot answer.  I cannot tell a client the personal thoughts of their ancestor, how they met their partner? What the inside of their house looked like, how they felt about their job, what they did at the weekend and what it was really like living in those times.
So perhaps more important than any family heirloom or photo that we leave behind when we depart this world is to leave our story, our thoughts, our fears, our words.
With the interest in family history increasing every day we often find we have left it too late to speak to those who we so desperately want to know every detail about.
Do not think memoirs and biographies are just for the rich and famous, ALL of our stories and life experiences are just as valuable, if not more.
So where do I start?
Get yourself a small note book and begin to write down in point form your memories that come to mind of your childhood. Keep this notebook handy and every time a thought comes up that you want to share, jot it down. You will soon find you are ready to start writing
Remember these are your memories and your story; you don’t need to be a professional and you start writing you will find that it “flows” onto the page. 
- Describe your parents; were they warm and loving, funny, stand-offish?
- What is your earliest memory?
- What kind of adventures did you get into with your siblings or cousins?
- What clothes did you wear?
- What music did you listen to?
- What did you eat at family meals?
- What did your chores consist of?
- What was your first job?
- Where was your first house? What did it look like?
- Did you have any family pets?
- Were there any family tragedies?
- Were you named after anyone?
- Describe how you celebrated holidays or special traditions
- Describe your school life.
- What were your favorite toys or games to play?
- What did you hate doing? What did you love doing?
- What were your hobbies and aspirations?
- When did you fall in love and with whom?
- Talk about your early days of marriage, trips you went on and funny experiences.
- Discuss your thoughts about motherhood or fatherhood.
- Describe the personalities of your children and funny things they did.
- Describe homes you lived in with your kids and where they were.
- Discuss your views on life, and advice.
 There is no set format to writing your memoirs and these are just a few ideas on where to start.
What if I don’t feel I can write my memoirs myself?
Don’t worry, not everyone is confident enough nor has the time to write their memoirs.  In this case you can turn to a professional.  You can supply or your thoughts and memories and let the professional do the rest.  This shouldn’t be too expensive and the legacy you leave is invaluable.  You can view information regarding professional services at

What do I do with my memoirs once they are written?
Once you have completed your memoirs you can produce these into a book format, this can be done through various online companies or if you have used a professional they should provide various options for publishing.  You can choose to produce these as an E-Book format or a simple PDF format for easy distribution.
Once your memoirs are formatted now is the time to decide how you want these to be left.  I would recommend that you enter this information into your Will.  Whether you leave a copy to each family member, the rights and copy to a certain family member or just provide instruction as to where these are located.  Whatever you decide MAKE SURE you have provided some instruction as to their location and of their existence.
Why not produce your family tree at the same time, leaving a complete legacy for when you are no longer here.
Why not visit today and discuss how we can help you produce a complete package to leave as your legacy.

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