The Benefits of Recording Your Living Family

The Benefits of Recording Your Living Family10

Often times when we think of family history work we forget that family history is happening right now! Though you can greatly benefit from researching and learning about generations past, there is also a great deal you can learn from generations that are still living—including your own. Don’t get so caught up in learning about the distant past that you forget to learn from what’s happening now. Your family members that are currently living are a golden resource for useful information and rewarding experiences. Learn from them as you record their memories and make your own as a family. Today, we’re discussing just a few of the rich benefits of documenting your living family member’s lives, as well as your own.

You can record in a first-person narrative.

When you have the opportunity to interview a living family member, you can record their history as a first-person narrative. It’s very rare to have a family’s history and memories recorded in such a personal way. You are really doing a service to future generations as they will have the chance to not only learn about their ancestors but also get a sense of their personalities as they read accounts in their own voices.
Recording your own history in a first-person narrative will also be a benefit, as you leave your legacy for your posterity. Your experiences may help future generations through their own life challenges. Whether you’re writing your own narrative or recording the narrative of a living family member, you’ll have a treasured historical document for years to come.

Memories fade over time.

Over time stories seem to change, memories become fragmented, and the details fade. When you record your family’s experiences now you are ensuring that the memory will remain strong as you relish in your records for years. Documentation can guarantee an accurate representation of events as they really occurred. You may think that an experience was valuable enough that you won’t forget it, but that’s not always the case. Even if you remember and tell the story to your posterity, it can easily be changed or forgotten over the years and over the generation.

It’s a valuable bonding experience.

Interviewing family members about their life and important memories can be an incredible bonding experience for all parties involved. There may be a lot that you don’t know about your relative’s history and by association, your own history. As you learn about what family members have gone through, why they made the decisions they made, what brought them to where they are now—you may be surprised how much you can relate to your own relatives.

You can better understand your current family dynamics.

As you record and learn about your living family members, it may give you an insight into your family dynamics. You will better understand the reasons behind your family’s behavior. Things that may have seemed frustrating or confusing in the past may have more light shed on them as you learn from different perspectives. Dynamics between family members will become clear and you learn from each other.

It’s therapeutic!

Studies have shown that recording your personal experiences and feelings can help to improve your health, boost your memory, and increase your happiness. There is power in writing something down. As you write, your thoughts become clearer and you are able to better sort through your thoughts and feelings. In this way, documenting will not only benefit future generations but also you, now! This is why therapists and psychiatrists will often encourage patients to write down their feelings. Journal keeping is very therapeutic.