What Do I Do With My Family History?

A question very few people address is, “What do I do with my family history now that I have it?” The good news is that you have many choices of what to do with the history. Here are a few:

Choice #1 – Put It On a Shelf for Safe Keeping – Unfortunately, this is the most common thing to do with family archives. Most of us have the box of family photos or video tapes of weddings, birthdays, etc. shoved on a shelf somewhere for safe keeping. While they may be in “safe keeping”, the only productive thing they are doing is collecting dust. Oh, from time to time they are dragged out and reviewed for family occasions, but let’s face it, it is a rare occasion when they ever see the light of day. The unfortunate scenario here is that they are forgotten and could even be damaged by age or improper storage.

For advice on organizing and storing your memorabilia, whether snapshots, film or video, I highly recommend enlisting the help of Lorie Marrero and her team of organizers at The Clutter Diet http://www.clutterdiet.com/. Lorie and her team have helped thousands of people in eighteen countries to affordably get their homes in shape!

Choice #2 – Make it a Ongoing, Living Project – Recording and preserving the LifeStories of your loved ones doesn’t have to be a one-time event. You can make it an ongoing project. In fact, technology helps make this choice a lot of fun. As discussed in previous blog posts, recording devices are easier to use and less expensive than ever before. With the ease of use of Flip Cameras and smart phones like the iPhone, there’s no reason why you can’t bring it to every family occasion and record a few moments. Simply turn it on and ask people how they are feeling or what they think of this occasion. Then upload it to your computer or a family YouTube channel and share with others.

The point here is that capturing LifeStories should be a regular occurrence, recording a little bit at a time. Think of it as a quick video of the birthday party of a child recorded every birthday till they are very old. The difference is that it’s not just for birthdays, it’s for every family occasion.

Choice #3 – Share, Share, Share – Again, technology is your friend here. Becoming the cool family historian can take only 15 minutes a week. Start your own family clip or photo of the week. Store all the photos and video clips on your computer and send out just one photo or a five-minute clip out to your contacts once a week. Many of you are already doing this via Facebook on an irregular basis.

Start a new habit of every Sunday, for instance, sending something out. For Mother’s Day it can be a sweet photo of Mom. For just any week, it could be that photo your brother hates of him being goofy as a kid. Which reminds me, if you are not the one in charge of this project, it’ll be the goofy photo of you that is sent out by your sibling! Alternate photos and video clips; one week a photo and the next week a video clip.

Think of other creative ways of sharing your family’s history and let me know your ideas. I’d like to share them with my LifeStories community. And remember to make it fun!

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