Writing Your Own Legacy


legacy-posterDuring this new month of November might be a good time to make time to write down your own memories of your life experiences and / or those of a spouse, a sibling, or a parent, especially those still living. My husband’s mother recently passed away at age 96. Only the other day he came across several pages of personal life stories his mother had written about 12 to 15 years ago. Here were in her own words short write-ups of things that had happened to her over the decades. There were stories of her family move from Michigan to Florida in 1925 and what that was like for as a 5-year-old. Several stories were about her life in a small town in Florida. Especially touching are stories of her boyfriends and her meeting her future husband. Now true she was not a great writer, the work would need a good deal of editing, but for the family, it was priceless.

So you can write about your own experiences even if you are under age 50, you had already had many events in your life. Of course, encourage or help another relative, a sibling or grandparent, get started on writing down their stories. A reminder, everyone has a story worth preserving.

This process is known as memoir writing or legacy writing. You are putting down in as close to the primary source (yourself or the living relative) as possible those small or large events that helped shape your existence. Two of the best-written legacies for my family I ever located were first done by my 2nd great grandfather, Capt. Joseph Groff, who wrote the information of his participation in the American Civil War for his local GAR organization in 1891. It was almost as good as a diary kept during 1861-1865, such details. The next one was by a 2nd great uncle, Dr. O. T. Everhart, who wrote in 1883 not only of his own life experiences but covered many other family relatives. So your own written legacy will be just as important to future generations as the two I found on ancestors.

legacy-penHere are a few jump start ideas for you to write about. Again you don’t have to do a full life story, just a few of these major events would be a good start.

1. What was your biggest sacrifice you ever had to make?

2. What was your first paying job and how much paid? Describe the good and bad about that job.

3. If you got in major trouble with your parents as a child, what was the incident, provide details.

4. Your childhood friend or friends, who were they, recall any unusual situation or activities you shared with them.

5. The house or houses you grew up as a child, where were they, what was the size, was there a yard to play in and close neighbors?

6. Do you have a personal habit that no one knows about, write about it.

7. What one event you did you wish now you could have changed or not done at all?

legacy-computerTrue, it will take some time to think and recall some of your personal events or helping others recall their stories. However, it will be worth the time. If a few were gathered and written out by the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, it would be a perfect time to share those stories with family then.

Related FamilyTree.com genealogical blogs:

Writing Family Memoirs

A Rescued Legacy


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