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Preserving Precious Memories: Documenting Your Loved One's Legacy

Preserving Precious Memories: Documenting Your Loved One's Legacy

The Importance of Capturing Memories

By keeping a record of our family history, we're linking the past and future, passing down not just the facts, but also feelings, important values, and the heart and soul of our family story.

Memories can get blurry over time, but by using different ways to interview and document, we can make sure these important pieces of our past are kept safe and valued as a forever tribute to the people and experiences that made us who we are.

Box of family photos

Different Ways to Document Life Stories

There are a number of different ways you can keep your loved one's stories alive. One simple way is just having a good old chat. Whether it's via phone call, video call or in-person, this is a great idea for capturing your family's history. If you need a list of questions to get you started, take a look at some sample questions that we’ve put together.

Another fun way is to get out some photos, home movies, or other special items to help spark memories. Ask them to share all the stories behind them.

Technology can be a great tool to help keep memories alive. A phone or video call lets you hear your loved one's voice and see their facial expressions. By recording the call, you can easily share it with your family, to keep around for future generations.

We've outlined some of the best ways to record and document your family history below. You might find that one of these, or a combination of a few of these, work best for you. The important thing is to capture and preserve these stories, so that they can stay with you and your children forever.

If you don't have time to do this yourself, No Story Lost can take care of everything. Using a combination of phone or video calls, with some pre-written questions, we interview your loved ones and produce a beautiful hardcover book of memories that your family can cherish forever.

Journal with pictures around it

Phone Interviews

A phone call is a great way to have a natural conversation that can bring out both personal and family stories. You can learn new things, ask fresh questions, and capture the sound of their voice, as they share their memories.

This method is the most popular way that we capture our clients' memories at No Story Lost. We find that sending the questions ahead of time lets the storyteller think about their memories, and our interviewers are skilled at letting their answers lead the interview.

Lady talking on the phone

Video Interviews

Thanks to the pandemic, video calls have become extremely popular. It allows us to keep in touch with family members who are far away and lets us see their faces. It's also a great way to get together when you can't be in the same physical location.

When you have a video interview, your loved one can show things like photos, keepsakes and other mementos that add to their story. These interviews can be recorded and saved digitally, making it easy to preserve and share with future generations.

Grandma and Grandpa on a video call

Written Interviews

By asking questions in written form, you allow your relatives to really dig into their memories, experiences, and wisdom. This helps them think about their life in a structured way, making sure no important stories or details get left out.

Start with basic questions about their early life, like where they were born, their family, and childhood memories. You can ask about school, work, and major milestones. Feel free to ask about accomplishments, challenges, failures and regrets. Any questions that encourage them to share their feelings about their life are great questions! If you would like a list of questions to get started, click here for a sample.

We find that a combination of both a written interview and phone or video call works really well and helps bring out the storyteller's best memories.

If you already have a written interview that you would like put into story form, we can edit it and include it in your book, along with the phone interviews that we conduct as part of our package. We will reduce the amount of interviewing by one hour for every 3,000 words of written content provided.

Person answering written questions

In-Person Interviews

Another great way to your family history is by having a face-to-face discussion. These up-close-and-personal talks are great if you live close to your relative and can be in the same location.

To have a really good in-person chat, pick a space that feels safe and familiar, where your loved one feels comfortable about sharing their thoughts and memories. Use open-ended questions and stay flexible. Let the chat go where it wants to, following unexpected twists and turns. Remember to be patient as they take their time to remember their stories - keep them comfortable and engaged!

If you can, use a video camera (ask their permission first) to record the session. This will allow you to keep these stories to write them down later, or just pass on to future generations.

If you don't have time to do this yourself and would like someone to fly in to do in-person interviews and create a complete book for you, our friends at Log Your Legacy can help!

Elderly lady speaking with someone over coffee

Journals

Reading a loved one's journals gives us a very intimate view of their lives. This gives us more than just a history of their life events; it also lets us see their thoughts and feelings about these happenings.

Journals often provide the most real version of your loved one's life stories, unfiltered and written for themselves. As these are usually not intended to be shared among the masses, you will need to use your judgement when sharing these personal stories.

Writing in a journal

Scrapbooks and Photo Albums

Making a scrapbook or photo album is a great way to organize memories and life events. Who doesn't love looking through wedding albums, or a baby's first year? Including handwritten notes and other keepsakes keep it personal and help tell their own story.

Our No Story Lost books include a combination of family stories along with photos, to capture memories in a meaningful way. Click here to see a collection of some of our book samples.

Scrapbook

Genealogy and Family Trees

How many branches are on your family tree? Tracing your genealogy or making a family tree is a great way to visually track your family's life story. You can ask your mom, dad or grandparent what they remember to get started, and then use online databases to fill in any blanks.

Using a family tree can help bring out the real-life and funny family stories. While creating a family tree with your loved one, you can ask them questions about what they remember about their childhood. Just seeing certain names can help jog their memory about different stories.

Family tree

Collaborative Storytelling

Sometimes your loved one can be reluctant or shy about sharing their stories. While they could talk about their friends or family for hours, they might not like the spotlight to be on them. Talking to people who are close to your loved ones can help provide a more complete picture. Something like "I did well in school" from the storyteller could actually be "He graduated at the top of his class" when you hear about it from a close friend or other relative.

Talk to people who were really close to your loved one, like a sibling, old friend or neighbour. Don't be surprised if you hear stories that you hadn't heard before! Feel free to ask for more details when they give you answers.

Friends meeting to chat

Putting It All Together

While it's great to learn about your family history, it might be overwhelming if you want to organize it in a way that makes it easy to pass down to future generations. Some families intend to capture these memories, but everyday life gets in the away. We hear from so many people who wished that they had documented their loved one's stories before they passed. At No Story Lost, we can take care of everything for you - we schedule and conduct interviews, record and edit the transcripts, add your favourite pictures and turn them into a beautiful coffee table book to cherish forever. Click here to get started today!

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Bob and Barb looking at their No Story Lost gift book

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