Memories… I promise that this post will not make you break out singing the theme from the musical “Cats”. Unless I’ve now created an earworm by mentioning the song. <smile> As family storytellers, we are the gatherers and keepers of our family history and shared memories. You probably noticed the overriding theme of this site is to “encourage” you to write down those stories and memories. This week let’s look at a tool/subsite on FamilySearch called “Memories”.
I primarily use FamilySearch to look at their extensive records and the vast catalog (which now holds many online records available to search from the comfort of your home or local Family History centers.) I recently noticed the option to choose “Memories” on the main ribbon. Let’s delve into this area and see how you can use it to share and find family memories. (The memories area is not new but there are more people using this feature and adding value to the content
FamilySearch is available for free, but you do need to setup an account/registration. When you first go to the Memories tab, there is an “Add Memories” button with instructions to get you started. Once you have information uploaded (Stories, Documents and Photos), all your information is stored in a central spot for you to easily access. In addition, there is now a FamilySearch App available which you can use to capture family interviews and memories and publish to the site. (Disclaimer: I have not explored the app. My phone is not compatible so use your best judgement on whether this will work for you.)
My favorite part of Memories is the FIND option which allows you to search by a key word or family name across all submissions to Memories. Once you do this, you have the option to filter by the person identified in a picture. You can see content related to this person, regardless of the original source. I hope that eventually they’ll add a feature to allow you to easily sort by name and location. You can see who contributed the information and send them a message by choosing their name. As this data base grows, that will help whittle down the results to those most pertinent to your search.
I had a few matches with my family names, including photos, obituaries and news articles of distant relations. My favorite find was a handwritten document by the granddaughter of my Great-Great Grandparents. In addition to details about their family life and her immediate family, she wrote this priceless description about my Great- Great Grandmother:
“While waiting for our home to be built, we lived on the third floor of the Big home. We children could use only the back stairway and never-never were allowed in the Parlor where I remember my strict Grandmother would sit. Always a dark dress with lace collars. Very aus-ter!” Poor G-G Grandma! But it was a different time and place…
Where else could I have found such an interesting description? I have pictures but everyone looks austere in those old sepia prints. I can picture her finding some peace and quiet in her good parlor. Was she stern? Maybe or maybe she just needed a couple of minutes of sanity in her day away from busy grandchildren.
Your assignment this week is to have fun using the find feature in memories to connect with relatives and perhaps find some fun nugget of information about your ancestors. And you could take it a step further and beginning sharing photos or family stories with others. My caution note would be to consider if someone is still living, ask them if it is ok to publish their story. And remember that whatever is published there is available for anyone to see. Good luck finding new stories!
“Memories are the timeless treasures of the heart…”
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.