“Family History Now,” Ensign, Jan. 2008, 75
What do taking photographs, scrapbooking, and writing in your journal have in common? They are all relatively simple ways to gather and record your family history. Even during your busiest seasons of life, you can still gather valuable information about immediate and extended family.
1. Take photographs. Develop all your still images and organize them in an album or scrapbook, writing down details as you go. Even if your photos end up in a storage box, at least record pertinent information on the back of each—person’s name, location, and date, if not automatically printed. You can also store this information with your video and digital recordings. Looking back at my 50-year-old photos, I can seldom distinguish my boys from one another in their baby pictures—and neither can anyone else. So make it easy on yourself and record the details as you go. Also, ask family members for copies of old family photos, along with all the information they may have.
2. Scrapbook. Since scrapbooking is a great way to preserve your family’s history, you may want to include full-page descriptions of family events. Short captions are good too, but the more information you can provide, the better. At Mom’s birthday party, for instance, you could list who came and how they are related, where the party was held, what food was served, what gifts she received, and what activities everyone did.
3. Keep a journal. Not only can you express your innermost thoughts in your journal, but you can also keep track of family events. Document births, deaths, marriages, birthdays, graduations, and other important events, including as many details as possible. In writing about Uncle John’s funeral, for instance, tell where it was held, who attended, and their relationship to the deceased. If you don’t already know all the details, tag the journal page so you can verify historical information later.
If you are not able to devote much time to family history work, at least do what you can. Remember that today will soon become yesterday—and eventually history. Don’t let it slip away.