Let me tell you a quick little story. I LOVE my Grandpa, and I miss him dearly. I was living with him at the time of his passing, so it definitely hit really close to home. He was a prisoner of war during World War 2, and spent 2 years in a German prisoner of war camp. He was a pilot, and was shot down (that is how he got caught by the Germans). His story is CAPTIVATING. He could give a talk in church with zero preparation, and the whole congregation would be on the edge of their seats hanging on every word. Fortunately for myself, and for my entire family, my brother had the foresight to sit down with Grandpa and video his entire story. A few months after he got the recording, my Grandpa passed away. Can you even imagine if my brother had thought to himself… oh I’ll do it this summer, when I have some more time, or just kept pushing it back a few more weeks? These stories told in the absolute best way (by him), would have been lost forever. We have these recordings now, and can watch them whenever we want. We can show them to our children who can learn about history and their own family history from these amazing recordings! You can watch his whole story here.
So, this is my plea to you. Just start. Don’t wait. It’s so easy to get these stories down, and a lot of times with minimal cost and effort from you. Especially with the holidays coming up very soon, it will be a perfect time to sit down with your relatives and get all these stories, photos, and documents digitized!
Everyone usually has their smartphone on them, right? The cameras on these phones are now sometimes even better than our actual cameras! and they are about a thousand times better than the old video cameras we had growing up, for sure! So, when you are all gathered together for the holidays, take your phone and your Grandparent into a small room. Attach your phone to a tripod like this one, and start recording!
I’ve even put together a list of 20 questions to get the ball rolling, and find out some really fun things about their past! Download the list here. If you use a Moto Z to record your video, then you can just stick the projector mod on the back and let the whole family watch the videos you just recorded!
While everyone is together, it’s also a great time to scan all the photos and documents that you may have spread out through your individual families. Using a ScanSnap by Fujitsu is a super portable and quick way to get all that scanning done quickly and without having to connect to a computer at all!
Once you get all the history scanned in, you can use Dropbox to share it with the rest of your family. Don’t forget to share it with all of your cousins as well (if the photos and stories involve your grandparents). Dropbox is also a great way to share your family vacation photos. My siblings and I go on a vacation together every other year. Once we are done, we all upload our photos to the same folder so we can see each others pictures!
Now that you’ve taken care of the past and the present, lets talk about the future. Keeping a personal journal is SO important! It can be just as easy as the other items above. I use Journey (a journaling app for your phone). I can access my journal from my desktop, my phone, or my tablet. This way, if there is something important I need to write down, I can use my full keyboard to get it down quickly. For the day to day stuff though, I can just snap a picture and write a couple quick sentences about my day, or use the voice to text option to transcribe it, or just record a quick audio version of it. The point is to get in the habit so that in the future YOUR grandkids will already have your history! I’ve put together a HUGE list of 201 journal writing prompts for you too, so you can have something to say for most of the year! Some of the questions won’t apply, depending on your age. Download the list here!
Now that you know you already have most of the tools necessary to complete this task…go do it! Start today! You will NOT regret starting sooner, but you MAY regret waiting.
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