• Clémence R. Scouten

Who says it's not interesting?

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Family history is interesting, and it's your legacy.

I wanted to write a post with a more personal message this month, about the most frequent comments I receive when I tell people what I do.

"Oh! You must meet so many interesting people!" or alternately, "Oh! The incredible stories you must hear!" These come up all the time.

The simple way to respond is to agree. And it's true, I do meet interesting people and they can have incredible family history stories. But to think you have to be a particularly interesting person who has done incredible things to be worth writing about is to misunderstand the nature of what it means to contribute to the richness of one's family history.

You don't need to have invented sliced bread to make your children/grand-/great-grandchildren want to hear about your life. Think of it this way, would you like to read fifty pages about one of your grandparents? Or great-grandparents? About what their childhood was like? What they liked to eat and read and play and do? Of course you would!

Family history is timeless

The next generation(s) will be interested in your life either because they know and love you, or just because you are part of their family. The goal is not to make the New York Times best-seller list, it's to leave something behind that people can read and help them understand where they came from.

People get intimidated at the idea of writing their memoir. It's a lot of work and it's not like anyone really taught us how to do that in school. But the ideas in a memoir are the memories of the writer and his or her life experience.

History is not just the big events we learn in school, it's the every day of how we live. The memories of young men on Normandy beaches during the war are precious. But so are the memories of the young wives and children living home in uneventful safety.

Your first step, your first car, your first date, your first job. It may not be groundbreaking but it's you. That's what makes family history. Write it, record it, video it. You'll be happy you did, and so will future generations.

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