Memory Keeping to Preserve Your Family History

Our families are everything. But how quickly does time fly? So many birthdays, holidays, cherished moments quickly come and go over the years. We take photos and do our best to print them or send them as thank you cards. Sometimes this can feel stressful always having to think about or feeling guilty not doing it.

What if it didn’t have to feel stressful? What if you could ensure your memories were cherished and kept without having to think about it?

Preserving our family stories, memories, history and the forgotten past can be therapeutic, comforting and most importantly appreciated by all. Your heritage is important to capture and available for you to dig into anytime you want – through Memory Keeping.

What is Memory Keeping?

Memory keeping is the act of organizing, preserving and making available your personal and family memories, history, genealogy and other important facts and stories that tell your family’s heritage. The intention is to capture the facts, memories, stories and the small but powerful events about ancestors. Taking the steps to categorize, document, store and share your family’s heritage is a gift – it honors those in our past, educates those in the present and brings perspective to those in the future.

Where Do I Start?

If you wish to begin memory keeping we have some initial steps you should take written below. After you gather your thoughts, think about your goals and start the conversation – review the tools & resources available to help you do this with ease.

Getting started doesn’t have to be a chore or challenging. To get going – get excited!

  1. Start with a conversation. Talk with your older parents and family members about their history, what they remember and what they think is important to pass on.
  2. Take some notes when in casual conversation with your older parents, see what stands out to you and comes up regularly.
  3. Start identifying where old photos, documents and other artifacts may be kept.
  4. Get contact information organized so you know who to reach out and how.
  5. Organize your thoughts and consider how you prefer to do so.

What Actions Can I Take Now?

After you get yourself organized, take action! You can easily do this in many different ways. Remember to organize your process and gather as much information as you can.

To start memory keeping, consider any of the following 10 actions you can take:

  1. Digitize photos
  2. Digitize family home videos
  3. Interview older parents about their history
  4. Use a service to capture family history (see below)
  5. Create a family history blog
  6. Create a scrapbook
  7. Create a digital photo album
  8. Make a family documentary and upload to YouTube
  9. Collect family recipes and start a recipe book
  10. Create a map of where your family has lived

Who is Your Memory Keeper?

Some family members have a knack for archiving family history and enjoy searching the family tree. Who in your family is the current memory keeper? A good place to start is with them. Find out what they currently have both digitally and in print (or as artifacts). You may be surprised at how much you learn in just a brief conversation. Afterwards, should you begin memory keeping for your family, engage them and involve them in the process.

Memory Keeping Apps, Books and More

Taking on the task of memory keeping can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. There are many apps, websites, and tools available to take the day-to-day thinking out of it. Try out one of the suggestions below and take the pressure off yourself! Start to preserve your family memories now.

Get a Lifetime of Stories One Question at a Time with StoryWorth.com

StoryWorth is a creative, cost-effective way to capture your aging loved one’s stories, memories and cherished events. With StoryWorth, your aging parent will receive a weekly email with a question that asks about their favorite middle school teacher, how they felt about raising children, fondest memories of their parents, etc. The questions are sent for 1-year and at the end a hardcover printed book with all of the stories and pictures is available. For $99, this service brings your memories to life.

Capture, Curate and Make Your Family’s Memories Yours with Before You

Before You is an iOS app designed to easily capture and share your personal stories in text, photo, audio, and video. The app will guide you through story prompts to keep you actively engaged in memory keeping (taking the planning and thinking stress out of it!). For a mixture of subscription fees:

  • Monthly - Premium access that renews on a monthly basis, for $4.99 a month.
  • Annual - Premium access that renews on an annual basis, for $49.99 a month.
  • Legacy - Unlock lifetime access to Before You Premium, or $299.99.

Before You lets you create and view your stories the way you want them - when you want them.

Collect and Share Your Favorite Family Memories with FamilySearch Memories

With FamilySearch Memories’ free app, you can easily collect and share your favorite family memories. You can take photos of precious moments today, capture old photos from yesterday and type (or audio/voice record) stories, jokes and other special moments for you and your family. The free archive is able to store and hold on to your aging loved one’s memories for future generations.