Some people want to give more than just material goods to their family after they’ve passed on. Providing your loved ones with a precious, tangible gift like that is priceless. You can help preserve your family’s memories and legacy through the following ways:
Collect Family Journals/ Essays
Journaling is a lost art. But if you’re one of the lucky ones who had a relative record his life’s history, then be sure to preserve it. One great way is to transcribe it, or even scan in the pages digitally so you always have a copy of it.
Perhaps you don’t have any documentation from a relative on their life’s history. If that’s the case, try getting family members, or even close friends of your loved one, to fill out a questionnaire. Reading others’ stories about your family members offers a new, fun, and exciting perspective of your relative.
Create a Family Photo Book
Today’s technology makes it really simple to create a family photo album. Begin by collecting as many pictures as you can, documenting any information on them, then scanning them into the computer. You can upload them to several different websites that will allow you to print them out in a hardbound book as well. These make the perfect sentimental, priceless gifts come the holidays.
Interview and Record Your Loved One
Living in a digital age has its perks. How neat would it be if you could have listened to your ancestors on audio, or watched them on video?!
Seeing and hearing a loved one can be a strong and powerful tool to help remember those you care for. Some people may prefer to be recorded rather than videotaped, so be sure to do whichever format makes them comfortable. Also, be sure to have a list of questions to ask. You’ll find that the interview not only helps revitalize your loved one as they reflect on their past, but it also helps bond you two closer together. Use thoughtful, open-ended questions to provoke meaningful answers. Each answer can be a whole other story, and you’ll find yourself loving the stories that made your loved one who he/she is.
If your loved one has already passed on, try interviewing a close family member or friend with questions regarding your loved one.
Document Your Own Personal Stories
It’s hard to think that someday we won’t be alive ourselves, but that’s just a reality–a fact of life. Help your future posterity out by keeping your own journal. When writing, remember to be true to yourself. Share your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You don’t need to be overly detailed, but record what you feel is important. A famous quote reads “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”
Make a Family Recipe Book
Mealtimes have always been a great way for families to bond and grow closer together. What better way to keep the family legacy living on than through a compilation of family favorite recipes? You can even add a nostalgic memory with each one, or even a photo to go along with it. It’s always fun to hear the story behind something, so adding who developed the recipe would also be a great idea. By keeping a family recipe book, you’ll be able to add to it and pass it on to future generations.
Make a Family Tree
Making a family tree is a great way to understand your family and your own identity better. As you make your family tree, you’ll enjoy reminiscing on some great family stories together.
Begin by jotting down your closest relatives, starting with you, then move outwards. Include important dates/ places, family traditions, and photos. FamilySearch is a great tool to use for this–it’s a free online Family History Search Engine that could help you discover new ancestors, and learn more about them.
Convert Family Videos
Depending on the era you’re trying to preserve, you may come across some memorable family videos that you want to hang on to. With technology always changing, and human error, it may be wise to save those videos digitally in case something ever happens to them. Even VHS movies can be converted digitally with the right tools.
Create a Log of Family Heirlooms
Artifacts and heirlooms are pretty neat, but they’re even cooler when paired with a story behind it. Create an inventory on Google Sheets where you can document each artifact and share neat memories associated with it.
No matter how you choose to preserve your family’s legacy, we hope you feel inspired and take action. After all, family is EVERYTHING.