If you are writing the story of your life, why do you need to include the story of your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles’ cousins and siblings? This is the part of your life history that I like to call your family history or ancestry.
It’s most likely that the memories you have of your grandparents will probably be gone if you do not write them down. If your grandparents died before your own children were born, it is up to you to preserve these memories. Unless you write or record these memories/stories, they will be lost and forgotten to all your future descendants.
More Than a Photo and a Name
It’s important to tell these stories in your life history. Funny, sad, inspirational, and spiritual stories are an important connection to your past. It is these stories that help to define you and will help your children and grandchildren know who these wonderful people were. Let them be more than a photo and name on their pedigree chart and family group sheet.
Your grandparents (and possibly your great grandparents) most likely provided a stable influence in your life. Your aunts, uncles, and cousins probably also played a big part in your life. It’s important to share your memories of them with your children, grandchildren and future generations so they can also feel their influence. By including these stories you can ensure their impact on your life is preserved and future generations can also benefit by their wisdom.
Some Ideas for Describing your Grandparents
The following is a list of some ideas you can use to help you describe the impact they had on your life:
- Describe any heirlooms left to you by ancestors
- How would you describe their personality
- Tell a story that characterizes them
- Was your grandmother a good cook, what did she cook that you liked the most
- Describe what they looked like
Here is an example of what you can write about:
Grandpa was born on April 5, 1871, in Shunesburg, a small community in Washington County, southern Utah. The family eventually moved up to eastern Oregon where he was a farmer. His principal enterprise was a dairy farm with about 12 cows milking at any given time. The milk was separated and the cream sold to the local creamery for the manufacture of butter. The skim milk was combined with grain, and chopped wheat, to form a “mash” which was feed for the hogs and chickens. Hogs were sold to the local meat processor. Chickens produced eggs and were sold to the local restaurants—-Campbell’s Oasis, the Bob Inn and the Caton Hotel. He also had a small number of sheep, a few beef steers and a team of horses. There was no tractor.
The farm was largely pasture for the livestock with the remainder planted for alfalfa hay. The setting was spectacular. The farm had as its backdrop Alder Slope and the forested Wallowa Mountains. The Wallowa River and a small tributary stream ran through the property which was dotted with cottonwood trees along the streams. A small grove of aspen and a number of juniper and spruce were also found along the river. Grandpa acquired the “Bank Pasture” across town, where the local bank had pastured foreclosed cattle herds during the depression. Here Grandpa grew grass hay in more than sufficient quantities to feed his livestock and had income from marketing hay.
Tell About Your Memories of Your Aunts and Uncles
Your aunts and uncles are also an important piece in your family story. In many cases they play a tremendous role in your life. Be sure to talk and write about them.
- Did you have favorite aunts or uncles, describe them to your children and grandchildren?
- On the other hand, which aunts and uncles were not your favorite?
- What were the fun things you remember about them?
Uncles can play a big role in our childhood development:
I remember spending a lot of time with my uncle Jack (John) because he had a cabin in Logan Canyon. It was a government arrangement, I don’t remember how that was, but we went there all the time. He lived there in his cabin in Logan Canyon. It was really nice, and we went there every summer and spent tons of time. So, it was a real gathering spot for my mother’s family. We went there as frequently as we could, and we had great times and played games under the card table.
Don’t Forget About Cousins
Cousins can also provide you with great stories. Were you close to your cousins? Were they also around and did they become good friends?
- What were some of the things you all did together?
- Why were they important to you?
- Have you stayed in touch?
When writing your life history, be sure to talk about your ancestors. As mentioned earlier the memories you have of them might be the only ones anyone has. Make sure you write these stories down.
Even though your story is about your life, it’s important to talk about the ancestors who influenced you.
— And Parents
It’s important to include stories about your parents. Talk about them, and describe them. Did they ever talk about how they met? Most of us don’t know anything about our parents before we came along. Talk to your parents; ask them about their lives. A sample of a remembrance of a mother.
My mother was wonderful. However, to be embarrassingly honest, when I was a teenager, I snapped at her a lot. I yelled at her, just silly talk. Not mean talk ever. I was never mean to her, but I always loved her. She was a wonderful person. I just sort of thought I was cooler than her. But I didn’t stay that way for very long. She was a wonderful person.
She was beautiful. She had beautiful black hair, naturally curly. She kept it short, but she still went down the street with curlers in her hair like everybody else, even though she didn’t need them. She had naturally curly, black beautiful hair. She was a beautiful woman.
Mom didn’t play the piano but she was a great singer. She sang with a beautiful alto voice in women’s choirs. She was really good with all of my children. She was a wonderful Grandma. She would go to Europe with her friends and travel, and bring back little clothes for them. She was a wonderful grandmother.
She was smart. Not cocky smart, just smart. Like dad, mom was also an avid reader. She was nice and friendly. She was a friend with all of her neighbors. When everybody went fishing they brought some of the fish to our house. I didn’t like fish, but she did. They all brought fish to our house, and she was always grateful. She was loving, nice, and fun. She enjoyed playing cribbage with her friends.
Your memories of your mom and dad will be very personal and add an element to your story that will provide your descendants with insight into who you have become and in turn why they are like what they are.