You finally decided to get started writing that family history you’ve been talking about for years. You have put all the photographs and old letters in boxes in your home office. You remember your grandparents and think that would be a good place to start your family history. But which set of grandparents do you write about first? Do you know both sets of grandparents equally well? Shouldn’t this be a chronological book with the oldest people first? But your grandparents all had parents: now you are talking about possibly twelve people to write about before you even introduce your parents, and how many of those ancestors do you really know anything about? Oh my goodness, and some of those couples may have had divorces or death and remarriage in their lives! It’s just too much! What do I do?
You’ve been visiting your elderly parents recently and while in their company you realize how much the world has changed since they were young. Perhaps you have a father who was a soldier in World War II or the Korean War. Or perhaps your mother was a “Rosie the Riveter” who worked in the war effort. Your opportunity to capture their stories for yourself and your family is becoming more and more limited.
Where do you start when you decide you want to document their stories? You may have already asked them gently to start writing down the stories for posterity. Did it work?