Researching and recording family tales can unlock benefits on many levels, for loved ones of all ages.
From igniting the imaginations of young children and giving them an insight into where they came from, to engaging older relatives with the scope of modern technology; it gets people talking, questioning and remembering; bringing people together with a sense of purpose.
Reminiscing is an important part of the job for our CareGivers when they work with older people, because remembering past events helps our clients to reiterate their sense of identity and recalling good times is a surefire way to raise a smile and build connections.
The life stories of your family are also a significant gift to future generations, so why not set your loved ones a challenge to see what they can find out, be it tracing the family tree or recording interviews that capture a way of life that has since been left behind.
We have put together some suggestions to help you get started:
- Compile what you already know about the family. Collect old photos, family records, letters, diaries, newspaper clippings, cine films, videos and other recollections.
- Talk with your older relatives. Use family gatherings and special occasions as an opportunity to talk in person with ageing family members. Face to face conversations are best, but there is no reason why you can’t also use phone calls, emails, letters and social media.
- Focus on a conversation, not an inquisition. Avoid pressing older relatives if they struggle to remember specific dates or names. Ask open-ended questions using phrases such as “Tell me about….” or “What do you remember about…?” or “What was it like when…?” This may also be a good time to investigate any family medical conditions.
- Record conversations with videos, voice recordings and photographs to help with accuracy and to have an oral and visual record to pass on to future generations.
- Organise and chart the facts. Family tree software programs are available to help. Consider sharing the completed chart with your entire extended family and work to update it every few years.
- Turn to the Internet. You can simplify your search by visiting free and subscriber websites tied to family history centers throughout the world. Popular sites include ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk
- Benefit from local family search centers and family historical societies. Visit familysearch.org to find a center nearest you or search their free online ancestry archives. It is also possible to discover family history records by visiting cemeteries, courthouses, churches and other places that keep historical records.
Good luck and enjoy the reminiscing adventure! We’d love to hear your stories via Facebook – you can connect with us using the links at the top of this webpage.