Life Story Links: May 29, 2019


“The wondrous thing about being human—the beauty and banality of it—is that we all tend to dwell in the same handful of elemental struggles, joys and sorrows, which is why a book one person writes may help another process her own life a century later...”
—Maria Popova

A mother reading to her son in Marshall, Texas, 1939. Photograph by Russell Lee, courtesy Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

A mother reading to her son in Marshall, Texas, 1939. Photograph by Russell Lee, courtesy Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

A Legacy of Stories

“There it was. My grandmother’s story, crystalizing out of the ether after 66 years.” An adopted man discovers more than he expected when searching for his birth mother’s country of origin.

A charity in England that records people’s life stories in hospices is now set to expand its work to homeless people and prisoners.

Their grandfather, Papa Julie, “could barely talk about the war at all”—so when his family discovered a journal that charts each mission’s bomb targets and casualties, “the war journal is so jarring to read.” Moreover, said grandfather just may have been the inspiration for one of literature’s most famous characters.

What a treasure this grandfather left for his family! His hundreds of journals were “filled to the brim with thousands of illustrations, anecdotes, inventions, thoughts, dreams, adventures, misadventures, and historical events filtered through the lens of one family.” Take a peek:

Eve Ensler shares the story of her father’s abuse in a most original—and courageous, intimate—way in The Apology, in which she imagines an apology from her long dead father. Read an excerpt here.


Things We Hold Dear

Whether you call it “culling,” as photographers do, or “curating,” as photo organizers do, it is an integral step in preparing your family photos for preservation in a book or video, or for preserving your family archive. Learn how to cull your photos for optimal storytelling and engagement.

Jim Michael of the Personal History Center in Georgia shares an excerpt from his book Tell Your Story and Save the World. Find tips on preserving family archives including photographs, papers, digital media, and analog audio and video tape.

The Minnesota Historical Society launched a statewide dementia-awareness program that uses museum resources to teach professionals and family caregivers how to use everyday objects to draw stories out of people with memory loss.


...and a Few More Links


Short Takes

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I named my Instagram account after a book of poetry my 3rd Great Grandma, Emmeline B. Wells wrote and published titled “Musings and Memories”. I’ve only ever had a digital copy of this book and I’ve loved and been grateful to be able to read her poems this way. I’ve even shared a few on this account. I prefer paper to digital books so I’ve considered having this book printed, but just haven’t done it yet. Sometimes I’ll search my ancestors on random websites to see if I can find things or items written about or by them. Yesterday I randomly decided to search some of my ancestors on eBay. What the heck, right? It just so happened that someone was selling a 2nd edition copy of “Musings and Memories” published in 1915 by my beloved grandma for only $20! What??!!?? I snatched that book right up and it arrived today (the seller is going to get great feedback on shipping speed from me, for sure). I’m in love with this little blue book! Having something tangible to hold, smell, and flip through that contains so many poems my grandma wrote is amazing! The forward to this edition was written by one of her daughters, Annie Wells Cannon, who happens to be the daughter I descend through. So in this book I have the written words of my 2nd and 3rd great grandmas. Talk about a treasure!!! My grandma Emmeline died in 1921 so this edition was published while she was still alive (the first edition was published in 1896). Tomorrow my family is going with my parents to visit our family and ancestors who are buried in the Salt Lake area. I’m so excited to be able to bring this book to my Grandma Emmeline’s grave and share some of her poetry with my kids as we remember her and place flowers on her headstone. 🌹 ❤️ 🌹

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