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Preserving Family History

I was fortunate enough to know both of my great-grandmothers, but within the past 13 years, both of them passed on, along with my maternal grandparents. My paternal grandma is currently terminally ill and in the hospital. I was a history major in college, and had always planned on talking to my grandparents and asking them about their lives and my ancestors. I then wanted to write it down to preserve some of the family history and stories.

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Unfortunately, I was always "busy" and never got to it, and now I regret how much of my personal history has passed on with my grandparents! Now that I have a small son, I feel that loss even more--I'd love to have that information to pass on to him. I'm now determined to talk to my grandpa and ask if I can "interview" him on videotape, asking about his life and his tour of duty in WWII. This would be a priceless memento for my son. I would suggest everyone talk to their parents and grandparents (if you're lucky enough to have them), and record some of your family history. It could be a lot of fun to find out what your relatives were like when they were younger, and would be a wonderful "heirloom" for your children or younger family members!
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By Lisa from WI from Kenosha, WI

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February 28, 20060 found this helpful

By all means take care of this project. We regret so much not getting our dad's voice on tape before he died. And oh how I wish we had gotten a video tape. My children were "in utero" when he died, so they only know him through my stories about him and photographs.

Another idea is a "grandparents book" --- a blank book they can fill with memories, photos, etc. to pass on to grand and great grandchildren. Plus it will be in their own handwriting. My grandmother was given one of these blank books and she worked at it periodically --- it is a real pleasure to read it and imagine her voice speaking the words.

Good luck!

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March 1, 20060 found this helpful

Ditto to jlxian(65)'s suggestions. Another helpful addition I have: ask your siblings to write on whatever subject interests you or them about their memories of their childhood. I did, and it includes what you remember from very different perspectives and enriches your own memories. (I am 82 and go way back). And thank you for advice on apartment living since that is in our immediate future. Do you have other tips on that topic? Thanks for any additioonalsuggestions!

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 4, 20060 found this helpful

after our only living grandmother passed away in the 80's, we came across some notes she had written, on the back of pieces of cardboard, anything handy near her bed...they were of dreams she had had and woken up and wanting to hold on to the thoughts, she had written them down...she was 94 when she had passed on and our father, her only child, had died seven years earlier....oh the anguish the poor woman kept inside of her...but to read the thoughts she held tight to, later, brought us even closer to the only grandmother we had ever known..

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