Remember your Grandma’s “Book of Remembrance”? Or your father’s detailed, daily journal? Those are great ways for recording important events, but they’re by no means the only options available anymore. If writing for several minutes every night isn’t your style, try one of these creative ways for preserving your family’s story.
1. Photo books
Digital photos and several online resources make photo books a simple (and in many cases, affordable) alternative to physically assembled scrapbooks.
Photo books combine the advantages of a scrapbook (photos to accompany stories) without the mess. Many photo books also give the option of including text, so you can include captions for your photos and even entire journal entries as sidebars. However, depending on the size, quality and brand of your photo book, this option can be expensive. Limited space also means you may need to be selective with which photos you include.
2. Printed blogs
Family blogs emerged a few years ago as a great way to document family life with both words and photos, but electronic histories can be difficult to access (especially in an emergency) and, while unlikely, are subject to loss since they’re usually hosted on third-party servers.
But if blogging is your thing, you can find companies that print blogs into books that you can keep on your shelf no matter what happens to your online data. These blogs can become a family treasure of stories and photos collected and printed over time.
3. Instagram books
As great as blogs are, they can be time-consuming. Instagram, a social photo-sharing mobile app, was released in 2010 and gained popularity over the following months and years. The application provides an easy way to take, edit and share photos—and now, it also provides a simple way to compile your family history.
Like blog printers, companies have emerged that print all your Instagram photos into a bound book for you to keep. If you’re a faithful Instagrammer, get your photos printed to create a daily family history.
Scrapbooking became popular in Utah many years ago, but some people still enjoy the creativity involved in creating books of photographs, souvenirs and decorative decals.
Scrapbooks are generally more fun to look at than photos themselves, and those who create scrapbooks can put some of their own creativity and personality into the pages they create. This means of compiling family history doubles as a creative outlet and hobby, which is appealing to many people.
5. Video journal
Family history research doesn’t generally include delving into video records, mostly because video is still a relatively new technology. But recording important—and everyday—life events on film has many advantages over simply writing about or even photographing them.
Videos capture sights, sounds and surroundings exactly as they appeared at the moment. Video is also easily copied and shared, while printing multiple copies of books or photos can be more expensive and time consuming. The tricky thing is to keep the technology current—if your family history is on VHS, you may want to consider moving it to DVD.
6. Community journals
In this fun twist on a regular journal, every member of the family is invited to write in a community journal. Leave it on a coffee table or on the kitchen counter where everyone can see it often. Invite family members to write about their day, about a family vacation, about a sister’s baptism, about their favorite food—anything that comes to mind. While it may not result in a comprehensive family history, the preserved handwriting, thoughts and memories from many points of view will be a valuable addition to your family’s history.
7. Photo albums
If the idea of laying out visually appealing pages or writing lengthy descriptions of every life event is too overwhelming, consider keeping up on good, old-fashioned photo albums. It doesn’t take long to print your photos and put them in sleeves, especially if you do it often.
Whatever option you choose, the important thing is to stay up-to-date on your family’s records.”You should continue on in this important work of recording the things you do, the things you say, the things you think, to be in accordance with the instructions of the Lord,” said President Spencer W. Kimball in 1980. “Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available.”