Legacy Books

Memory Books

Mandy Syers

Tips: Preserve
Your Own History

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Create a timeline of your life

This is a very simple project that helps pinpoint the major milestones in a person's life. You can make a timeline of your own life, or you can help a family elder to create one. Start by making a list of the important dates in your life, beginning with the most obvious ones such as your birth, graduation from high school, marriage, the birth of children and grandchildren, etc. Once you have the main events in place, you can then begin to add a second, more subjective layer to the timeline. This second layer consists of other important turning points: emotional, financial, spiritual -- anything that feels significant to you. Your timeline can be as simple or as complex as you like. If you need something to jog your memory, it can be helpful to look at a picture book that highlights the major events of our century.

The timeline is a wonderful starting point for writing your life story. If you choose to expand the project, you can write a memory associated with each turning point, such as "How leaving Missouri changed my life" or "What I was doing when President Kennedy was shot." If you write enough memories, you will eventually have your life story!

Reflecting on major turning points can help you see the trajectory of your life with great clarity and perspective. It is a wonderful gift for your children and grandchildren as it gives them a deeper understanding of who you are and what matters to you, in addition to helping them understand how their own family history fits into the bigger picture.

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