This Week in Personal History... July 11

curated links to blogs and articles of interest to personal historians and family biographers

“Every man's memory is his private literature.” 

― Aldous Huxley 

Welcome back, memory-keepers! I hope you had a festive and safe Fourth of July week, and that (if you must) you're easing back into the work week with a smile on your face ; )

This week we take a dive into family reunions, legacy letters, and stories of mom.

Please leave comments about any of the topics featured here (they’re nothing if not conversation starters, I hope!) and share with other like-minded memory-keepers. And if you're a blogger with content you'd like to see featured here, of course click the link and share what you’ve got!

Roundup of Personal History Blogs - July 11, 2017

In the News

“Aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, children and grandchildren—everyone who grieves my Opa has different memories, different recollections of him. Standing by that photo album, I realized we were putting our memories & knowledge & stories together like a puzzle to see a larger picture of the man we’d lost.” Read more in Love by the Puzzle Pieces.

“People almost always tend to gravitate to very personal, impactful stories in their lives. So if you say, ‘Tell us something that's really important to you,’ most people tell something that makes them tear up at a certain point.” Read about an interesting community oral history endeavor in Southern Colorado.

On the Blogs

Legacy writing can be both healing and historical, and can make a lasting difference to your family & friends. Here are 5 tips on how to write a ‘love’ letter to your family from Sarah Hamer

“On the eve of the reunion a few of the cousins gathered at my parents’ house to celebrate my father’s 85th birthday and started sharing stories,” writes Bruce Summers of Summoose Tales, whose post focuses on how he integrated “adult Show & Tell” at his latest family reunion.

Check out the inspiration behind Bruce's story-sharing device and find a Show & Tales event near you (from personal experience, I can attest you won't be disappointed!).

Meghan Vigeant of Stories to Tell is seeking women to interview about their experiences gathering their own mother’s stories. Have you interviewed or recorded your mother telling her stories, delved through her journals, or interviewed other family members about your mom? If so, reach out to Meghan—who knows where the conversation will lead?!

Worth Checking Out

One of the best ways to get to the heart of someone's story is to ask them great questions.

Even oral historians who have conducted countless interviews still hone their craft. A new (rather meta) podcast, The Turnaround with Jesse Thorn, turns the tables on interviewers, making them the interviewees. The first episode with Ira Glass was a delight.

Radio Rookies, produced by WNYC, has compiled resources to help students conduct better interviews—but I would say these links (which include advice on how to record interviews, how to choose a topic, and a handy question generator) are great tools for anyone wanting to interview their own family members to capture stories for posterity.

What Are You Reading?

Let me know what you've read that the rest of us might enjoy—memoirs, how-to or business books, even articles.

#MemoriesMatter #Legacy #LifeStories #Memoir