Coaxing Memories

With Thanksgiving and family gatherings over one to 5 days – it is a perfect occasion to start or continue gathering information from family members. Be prepared – have notes, collected dates, names and even photos that need identification. Include a camera, a recorder or video recorder to help get the information down.

Before the holiday, send out emails or call relatives attending to encourage them to bring with them family photo albums, any journals they may have or other special family artifacts so that be photographed. Old letters are an extra conservation starter and will spark people’s memories. Remind them the family history has to be preserved.

Bring a scanner to get scanned those photos that relatives bring. You do it while they have the items there, putting it off to later might too late. 

To coax relatives to start talking of family stories, start small. Suggestions to start a conversation: The best part of your childhood?” or “What was life like when you were young?,” or “What toys do you remember having when you were a child?”. Ask about their parents; “The best thing you remember about your Mom?” or “Dad’s favorite activity he enjoyed the most.” 

Another coaxing method to get relatives to talk about their memories of major historical events such as the end of World War Two – the celebrations and the welcoming of soldiers home. Or when man landed on the moon or any relatives who served during the Korean War. This is why it is necessary to know of some of the historical events or major weather events in the area where your relatives lived. 

Even after Thanksgiving holidays, make arrangements to follow through with phone conversations to get some additional family stories.

Very important – Share with other relatives what you have gathered from some of the relatives. It will inspire them to look and provide you with additional photos or artifacts.

Photos: Family photos and portraits; Old Letters; Memories of Mom, childhood games in the 1940s, and those in the Korean War.

Related Blogs:

Saving Family Memories


Talking to Your Relatives

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