Sharing your family history – where to start

Part II – Sharing Family History: Where to Start


Every Story Media Guest Blog in three parts (this is #2 of 3)

In this three-part series, Lyn Jackson of Every Story Media looks at why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions, how to get started, and why video is the best method. 

Aging offers gifts, if we look for them: for us as we grow older and for those who’ll come after us. 

Begin With the End in Mind

Now that we agree on the importance of saving and sharing family history, what’s the best way to begin?

Start with your photos; organize them into events like childhood, marriage and family, career. You could also arrange them by years or by people. Think about the stories behind the pictures and jot essential notes down.

Think about the family traditions and experiences that are most important to you and your family.

Which stories are the most interesting, compelling, funny, and essential to the family? These are important to preserve. Prioritize them.

It’s OK to start small. Accept that it’s not possible to do everything all at once.

Make sure you keep all of your preliminary, documented work, and photos or recordings organized and in one place.

Tools for Sharing Family History

If you decide to go on your own, rather than work with a professional, and don’t have a dedicated video device, use your cell phone. The sound might not be great, and the framing and lighting might not be ideal, but it’s better to have something rather than nothing. You can even do an audio-only recording.

Make sure you print out the most important and memorable photos. Too many of these will be forgotten, go unseen, or get accidentally discarded and be forever lost. And find a good, reputable cloud storage service and make sure all your photos are also preserved there.

Benefits of a Family Story Video

  • Preserving the family stories and traditions of your loved ones in their own words with sight, sound, motion, and emotion.
  • Understanding your roots – where, how and from whom you came into being.
  • Perspective and appreciation: an element of permanence, being grounded.
  • Pride in who you are, not just for you but also for your children and grandchildren.
  • It is the greatest gift, an heirloom like no other—precious and priceless.We encourage working with a professional. At the very least, you’ll actually record your stories and get it done rather than just think about it and forget until it’s too late.

Words from the Heart

A friend brought this sad story below to my attention the other day. I removed some portions for length but these are all her words—used with permission. “Here is what you should know,” she wrote. “I got 23 years, 2 months, and 11 days with my dad, and they were not enough. Forever, of course, is not enough—all of our parents leave us too soon. I want you all to tell your kids your stories. No one lives forever.

So here is what I wish I had, since I don’t have my dad: I wish I had his voice, recorded, preferably telling the kind of jokes and stories that my mom would scold him for. I wish I had video of him, doing anything. Most of all, I wish I had his stories. Let them videotape you. I beg of you. Please do this for your children.”

I echo her words – quite obviously from the heart. She speaks from the pain of having lost a loved one. She realized too late that she didn’t have his stories or the chance to get them.

The mission at Every Story Media is to spare others the same pain. 

In part one, Lyn discussed why it’s important to capture and preserve your family stories, values and traditions. To contact Lyn: or 919-961-1081





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