5 Ways to Capture Family Stories

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Every family is unique. There are amazing stories to be told through family history and new lasting memories. As you gather with family throughout the holiday season, this could be the perfect time to learn more about exceptional historical moments and the intriguing lives members of your family led. It is important to remember learning more about family should bring you closer to your family without feeling intrusive or inconsiderate. 

How can we capture the special people and moments in our family and preserve the history for the next generation without being too invasive? We have five ideas to make understanding more about your heritage simple, informative, and enjoyable.


1.       Ask family members to share exciting or memorable family stories about specific relatives.

There is so much life in an amazing story! Whether you are close to a relative or never had the opportunity to meet them, listening to a family member or close family friend share a lively story can encourage others to do the same. With your family’s permission, be willing to capture the details by writing them down, recording them via video or voice recordings. Consider these ideas as modern ways to preserve oral history that may not have been captured anywhere else especially amongst family matriarchs and patriarchs. 

2.       Ask family members to bring their favorite photo of a relative(s) with them.

Photos often provide a window to a specific moment in time. What some of us may see as a simple beautiful image, other relatives may see as a memorable moment waiting for a story to be told. Make a game out of photo collection and have family members vote on the top three photos. Then share stories based on the time, place, or moment the photo captured.

3.       Use music or songs to trigger family memories.

Music and songs are often closely connected to wonderful memories. Did your grandmother have a favorite song that everyone knew? This song has a story connected to it that can prompt everyone to share a fond moment connected to a great person or experience with that family member. Remember to write notes and ask questions. If everyone has a song connected to a great memory, consider creating a playlist using Apple Music or Spotify. 

4.       Ask family members fun and intriguing questions.

Families contain a wealth of knowledge and information. When that information is pooled, it can be the doorway to learning, understanding, and tracing lineage. We often want to hear the unique stories and experiences our relatives have but are never sure where to start the conversation. The right questions can prompt storytelling that allows a person to focus on memories and experiences. Read our suggestions for 20 fun and intriguing family history questions here - https://www.caringtransitions.com/blog/ID/1412163/20-Fun-Questions-To-Learn-Your-Familys-Story. 

5.       Give a keepsake host present or holiday gift.

You can share and collect more family stories by giving keepsake gifts. The gift does not have to be expensive it only needs to remind the receiver of a fond or important moment tied to a memorable story. The important point to remember is value is assigned by those who nurture and care for the heirloom item. Some of the most common ways to share family history moments is through recipes, clothing, furniture, and household items. See our guide on sharing family keepsakes and heirlooms for more ideas  https://www.caringtransitions.com/blog/ID/1393193/Are-Family-Heirlooms-Hiding-In-Your-Home


After capturing amazing information remember to share what you’ve gathered with your family in a creative way. Every family is different so finding the best and most user friendly way to share special moments may take time. Don’t shy away from using technology and apps like cloud storage, Facebook Groups, etc. The most important part of sharing and learning family history is the memories you make.


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