Genealogy and Memory Capture Tools
Sometimes genealogy is a bit like medicine—part science and part art. Thinking beyond the usual solutions is how we often break through brick walls. I have recently discovered information on tools for capturing memory that are meant more for patients with dementia or memory loss, but exploration of their offerings would suggest that they might prove useful for capturing family memories too. Let’s look.
Carol Bradley Bursack has a weekly news article in The Fargo Forum titled Minding Our Elders. In a recent article she featured a few of these sites with the intent of helping families find ways to capture memories and improve conversation topics with their elders. I will share the ones I have explored that I think might help us capture family memories.
This site emails the person you designate an email with a particular topic. The person writes out their story. The service creates a book at the end of the year to be used for a keepsake. If the person that you would like the stories from is less likely to write them down than to tell them to you, you could choose to do them together. You also have the option to send additional stories, edit the stories, add pictures and captions. This is a paid subscription and at the end of the year you have the option to purchase the book. It is an interesting idea and knowing how many family stories we all have, we could probably purchase to capture our own stories!
Vita Life Story
Sometimes it is challenging to identify what questions to ask. This site provides services to help you have conversations. They have question cards that you can download for free and even have an audio service if you wish to set up an account and record the story with your loved one. One of their services is to create a multimedia memoir of the stories. I was unable to find out the prices without setting up an account so be aware that there would be a charge for the memoir and possibly other services.
While not mentioned in the article, this site provides a service for those who have captured videos and want to create ‘tributes’ to celebrate a particular event or have a polished family history story. They appear to offer a variety of services. Each generation has their preferred method of communications and videos and audio are very appealing to the younger generations.
I hope these site trigger ideas for you to start capturing your family stories in writing or audio or video. And even if you’re not ready to jump into a formal service, you could utilize Zoom or one of the other video chat options that we have used during the pandemic. Most offer a recording option. All our genealogy research will benefit future generations if we write the stories of our family. Have fun looking at these options and capturing those stories!
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With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.