Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writing your Personal History

For some of us, sitting down and writing a comprehensive personal history can be quite difficult. Here’s a way to write that personal history and finish it bit by bit. Believe it or not, you’ll end up with a better history.
The problem with writing your history starting from when you were born until the present is that your history usually becomes more of a list of things that happened in your life with short paragraphs explaining important events. Those events probably merit more than just a paragraph or two, but when you’re putting it together year by year, your history starts to get long, and you feel content with simply listing what happened.
Instead, write separate documents about major events, beliefs, and experiences you’ve had. You’ll feel like going into much more detail about your experiences and impressions when you dedicate a single document to the experience. For instance, write about the places you’ve lived and describe how those places have influenced your life today.
Write about your favorite television shows and how they’ve impacted how you think (or how you don’t think, either way). Chart your views on religion, politics, love, etc. There’s so much more you can write about.
Create a separate document on your computer (or in a binder) for each mini-history you create. You could use a naming convention: “Personal History by ”. Also, make sure you save the document in a format that will preserve your work such as a PDF or RTF. Add pictures to your document, and go into detail about your thoughts, feelings, what you’ve learned, and how the topic has help make you who you are
Write a separate page or two about your favorite topics. Here’s a list of ideas of what you can write about:
• Places you’ve lived
• Influential individuals from your childhood
• Favorite vacations
• Jobs you’ve had
• Religious views
• Top 5 favorite movies
• Civic and community service rendered
• Things you like to collect
• Write about your spouse
• Your hopes and dreams and how they have changed over the years
• The automobiles you’ve had or transportation you’ve used.
• Create a list of places that you’ve visited and when visited.
• Your favorite hobbies
• Your impressions of the times, wars, developments, etc.
• Collections of writings or poems that you’ve created
• Listing of certificates and accomplishments
• Favorite restaurants
• Favorite music
• Operations you’ve had (not the most fun, but interesting)
• The top 3 most difficult things you’ve ever done or had to go through
• Memberships in clubs or churches
• Write about your siblings and other relatives, (they’re children may not be as lucky as yours. They may not have written memories of their parents’ youth)
• Gardens you’ve grown
• Favorite foods
• Favorite recipes (some families like to hand down recipes). Wouldn’t it be fun if your descendants knew which ones were your favorite and you left the recipes for them?
• Your favorite time of year
• Sports that you’ve played throughout your life
• Pets you’ve had
• Weather phenomenon you’ve seen or experienced.
• Technological advances you’ve seen in your day
• Spiritual experiences you’ve had
• Favorite toys you’ve had
• Thoughts on raising children
• Education achieved
• Activities you’ve participated in
• Favorite books
You may find it easier to write your history in a physical journal. Physically writing your journal can be a great way to create an heirloom to be handed down in your family.
Each of the subjects mentioned above (or others that you think of) that you write about become your history and can be compiled into one big history someday. In the meantime, you’ve created stories and insights that can be easily shared rather than one big project that you know you should work on someday but never finish.
For further information on how to start your family history please contact one of our wards family history consultants.

Neil & Julie Barson neijul@q.com 362-9541
Ron & Irene Grames ireneg@cableone.net 362-3309 rgrames@msn.com 850-0631
Gerrell Knudson gerrelk@q.com 362-6923
Sue Moore mamabearboise@hotmail.com 362-5263

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


America's First Immigration Center
CastleGarden.org is an educational project of The Battery Conservancy. This free site offers access to an extraordinary database of information on 11 million immigrants from 1820 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened. Over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestors to this early immigration period.

Castle Garden, today known as Castle Clinton National Monument, is the major landmark within The Battery, the 25 acre waterfront park at the tip of Manhattan. From 1855 to 1890, the Castle was America's first official immigration center, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City.
CastleGarden.org is an invaluable resource for educators, scholars, students, family historians, and the interested public. Currently the site hosts 11 million records, and support is needed to complete the complete digitization of the original ship manifests.

The Battery remains one of the oldest public open spaces in continuous use in New York City. Native Americans fished from its banks, and the first Dutch settlers built a low, stone wall with cannons, a battery, to protect the harbor and the fledgling city of New Amsterdam. The transformations of The Battery and the Castle tell the history of New York and, by association, the growth and development of our nation.