In a recent conversation with a friend following a long holiday weekend, I asked if he’d devoted any extra time to his usual weekend pursuits. “No,” he said. “I was in Iowa at a celebration of life for my wife’s aunt.” “Oh,” I responded, ready to follow up with the normal “I’m so sorry for […]
Steve and his family had been hearing stories about “the family farm” for most of their lives. Steve’s mother, Fran, had been born there and grew up there, and she had wonderful memories. But the family didn’t own the farm any longer, and none of them had been there for years. With Fran’s 90th birthday […]
When you look back on old family photos or reminisce about happy moments from the past, you’re likely to be doing more than just reliving fond memories. Research has shown that recalling positive experiences can have a range of physical and mental health benefits. During a recent “siblings call,” which is a weekly Zoom call […]
As the co-founder of a company that deeply appreciates the basic idea of connecting families through their stories, I tend to notice what others have to say about the value of sharing stories. And while their motivation for storytelling is drawn from differing objectives, they universally endorse the idea. What is it that makes those […]
Ah, the crispness of fall. The smell of firepits holding back the evening chill. The pumpkin spice everything. The planning for costumes, parties, decorations, and treats for trick-or-treaters (or just for you – no judgement here). It’s a time of year like no other. From the first day of school to the Halloween costumes to […]
I was thinking about my neighbors the other day. They have a couple of small-ish kids – 6 and 9 years old. When summer hits, that family is ON THE GO. This past year they’ve experienced hiking in the Rocky Mountains, an incredible trip to Disney World, a couple of camping trips in local (a […]
Why do we take pictures? Why do we save them? What do we do with them? If you’re reading this, the chances are that YOU have a phone filled with photos you’ve taken. You might be of an age where you have a box (or more) of physical photos, still tucked into the envelopes along […]
Sometimes a story just strikes a chord. This one did so for me, both literally and figuratively. The story is an interview with a 97-year-old concert pianist. It aired on CBS Sunday Morning and was charmingly reported by correspondent Mo Rocca. Her name is Ruth Slenczynska (pronounced “slen-JEN-ska”), and she had recently (as of April […]
Family. That word can mean different things to different people, I have learned. There’s the obvious – the family you’re born into or adopted into – your birth family. In my case, that means my parents and siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. As each generation reaches adulthood, we add spouses or partners and possibly […]
Family reunions. Some people love them. Some hate them. Others are somewhere in between, falling more into the “it depends” category… perhaps first wanting to know who else will be there? Or where will it be held? Or what events are planned? Me? I fall into the “love them” camp. How about you? What camp […]
My heart might have broken, just a little bit. I happened to see some news coverage of some storms that hit the South pretty hard, and one of the camera shots was of someone picking an old family picture up out of the rubble, shaking it off, and saying something on the order of, “I […]
Sometimes you just can’t be there in person. It happened to me recently. The event was a book launch. The author of the book being launched, Betsy, is a first cousin, once removed. (If you’re not familiar with genealogy kinship terms, Betsy is my first cousin’s daughter.) The book, a graphic novel titled Amelia Erroway, […]
What memories do you have of those amazing trips you took with your parents when you were just a kid? Thank goodness for photos and videos, right? They give you an opportunity to go back in time to re-experience those moments. As you browse through them, do you ever reflect on what you were thinking […]
That list… you know the one. The list of things we want to do while we still can. The “bucket list.” For many, there are trips to exotic – or not so exotic – places. “Airboat through the Everglades,” perhaps. Or “visit all 50 states.” Maybe it’s simple – “Go camping in the mountains” or “take a bike […]
You can do a quick Google search and turn up lots of good articles that offer advice and “how to” guidance for capturing and preserving your family history. For example, I recently became aware of a piece published by AARP titled, How to Create an Oral Family History. It’s well written, gives you some good […]
Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to reconnect with an 87 year old genealogist. I will call him Howard. We knew each other because we briefly overlapped at the same company, though he retired 30 years ago. Since retirement, he and his wife spent much of their time researching, connecting, aggregating, and building the extended family story. The last time I talked to him was 6 years ago. He showed me […]
Kate Hellmers has been receiving a lot of emails from relatives and friends lately. That, by itself, is not surprising. Each of them expressed some form of gratitude for her efforts to capture and share family stories. What IS surprising is how many of those emails also acknowledged new discoveries – things previously not known to the senders – that were almost always introduced with the phrase, “I […]
What’s happening? We talk a lot about photos, heirlooms, and artifacts from the past, I know. And sometimes we all lose sight of a rather important fact. Today is tomorrow’s past. Whoa. That seemed deep, didn’t it? Bear with me here… The neighbors went off to Colorado with their two kids, climbed some mountains, did […]
Remember those days when you were young, and family – perhaps aunts and uncles or grandparents — were visiting? At some point, they all gravitated to the kitchen or dining room table and just talked. Initially, the conversation was likely about what each other’s families were up to, current events, maybe even politics or religion […]
Ah, the magic of old family photos. You look at one and, in an instant, neurons start firing in your brain as you vividly recall episodes from your past. Your memories can trigger a whole spectrum of possible emotions: Love… as you relive special moments from your wedding day photos, Anxiety… as your knees grow […]
Are you concerned that your family photos may someday wind up in a landfill? If not, you should be. I am not necessarily talking about the photos you took yesterday of that amazing pizza, though, to some people, that too maybe something worth keeping. I am really referring to the old family photos, slides, negatives […]
Was your dad or grandfather in World War II? Do you have a family member who was in any war – it really does not matter, as the experience was likely horrific no matter where or when it occurred. In the winter of 1945, my 20 year old dad fought for his life in a foxhole in Europe during the […]
How did you fill in the blank? It depends on what you are getting set to do, doesn’t it? If you are going to run a race, you fill in the blank with an enthusiastic Go! At least you did when you were a kid. Especially after you purchased a new pair of tennis shoes, which you knew […]
Will the future appreciate the past? Good question. It was the subject of a conversation I recently had with a friend, and she was deeply concerned about it. I’ll come back to that discussion in a bit. First, let me give you some context. “The future” is a reference to those who stand to inherit […]
And Now… The Rest of the Story Does that phrase stir up any memories for you? If you spent any time listening to the radio during the 30+ years spanning May, 1976 through February, 2009, you instantly connected The Rest of the Story with the distinctive voice of news broadcaster and radio personality, Paul Harvey. With a little help from […]
There is life in old photos. Just ask Ken Burns. I am sure you are familiar with Ken’s works. “He has been making documentary films for over forty years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.” The Ken Burns website And, in […]
Say what? Is that a thinly-veiled threat? Like the kind you might hear while watching an action-packed episode of a good police drama? Where the good guys have just concluded a thrilling high-speed chase and collared a notorious drug kingpin who, as he’s being led away with his hands securely cuffed behind his back, suddenly stops and turns to the hero cop, piercing his captor with a […]
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