“Procrastination is the thief of time,” was one of my great grandmother’s favorite sayings.
She would trot it out when she wanted me to finish a task for her, complete a homework assignment, or write a long neglected thank you note to an elderly relative. I ignored her quite often, and no dire results ensued.
In the process of saving family histories, though, procrastination is not only the thief of time, it steals lives from future generations. I cannot tell you the number of times that a client of ours at Verissima has decided, just in time, to record the life story of a relative or friend. In one video project we completed, 6 of the 10 subjects we recorded had died within a year of completion, one dying two weeks after the interview was conducted. We saved those lives just in time! Almost fifteen years later, the grandchildren who were too young to know their relatives at the time the film was created can now enjoy the stories and the lessons passed on to them
In another instance, our client waited for two years before going forward with telling the story of her seemingly robust mother, who was in her early 80’s. “She’ll outlive us all,” was the rationale. She didn’t, and her vibrant personality, her special way of speaking, her messages to future generations are silent forever.
Collect your stories now, while you can. Don’t worry about editing them, or making them into a final product, just make sure to record them. You can use whatever means you have available, including your iPad, your smartphone, your digital camera…or you can consult with a professional personal historian.
This year, make sure that procrastination doesn’t steal your future.
Three Lovely Sources for DIY Collecting:
Record Your Family’s Oral History Before It Dies
This is a terrific guide, written by a layperson from Melbourne, Australia. It shows you how anyone can find a way to do this important work.
5 Family Story Apps That Include Photos
Including pictures with your stories, this blog from FamilySearch adds a genealogical component to the collection.
The Power of Telling Family Stories
Excellent tips for recording stories. Raises the question of whether a family member is the best person to ask the questions…