Eight Funtastic Ways to Jump-Start Your Personal History

    “Eight Funtastic Ways to Jump-Start Your Personal History,” Ensign, October 2019

    Turning Hearts

    Eight Funtastic Ways to Jump-Start Your Personal History

    Putting together your personal history can be more enjoyable than you may think.

    Family Picture on Phone

    Illustrations from Getty Images

    You’re raring to do some family history, so you think, “Hey, I’ll write my own personal history! That’ll be easy!” So you sit down, crack your knuckles, put your fingers on the keyboard, and … you’re stumped. Because where to begin? At birth? That doesn’t seem right. Start there and suddenly this feels like you’re writing a novel of Tolstoy proportions.

    Well, fret not. You don’t have to write a mammoth autobiography. With a little creativity, and a bit of technology, you can create a personal history that your family—present and future—will enjoy. Here are some ideas to consider:

    1. Top-10 Lists

      Create top-10 lists from your life experiences: Top-10 Favorite Breakfast Cereals as a Kid. Top-10 Mission Experiences. Top-10 Favorite Scriptures. Each of these is a window into your mind.

    2. Upload Photos to FamilySearch

      Scan your old photos. Then log on to FamilySearch and upload them to your “My Memories” gallery. Or migrate photos from your Google Photos or Instagram accounts. Then write a bunch of captions.

    3. Smartphone Stories

      Download a recording app on your smartphone, then ask each member of your family to record themselves telling a funny memory of you.

    4. Make a “Day in the Life” Video

      Use your smartphone to record a 10-second video of yourself at the top of every hour for a whole day. Then edit the clips together. You may not win an Oscar, but your grandkids will love it.

    5. Collect Your Sacrament Talks

      They’re all there on your hard drive. Put them together. Your testimony will bless your posterity.

    6. Download Your Facebook Data

      Go to Facebook.com/settings. On the left, choose “Your Facebook Information.” Then choose “Download Your Information.” And voilà!

    7. Lip Sync/Karaoke/Dance Party

      What five songs have influenced you the most? Film yourself singing them. Or lip-syncing them. Or just cutting a rug to them. Rest assured—this will be an instant family treasure. Wouldn’t you love to have video of your great-great-grandmother dancing?

    8. Favorite Recipes

      Collecting your favorite meals will let posterity make them too and experience firsthand what it was like around your table.