“But Mom, when are you going to write your life story?” On several occasions, my youngest son has goaded me to record my own stories. “We really don’t know them—you really don’t talk about yourself much.” It is true. I have relished recording lifetime memories of older family members and hospice patients I have worked with, but I have never taken a serious stab at writing my own stories. For one thing, condensing all the years of my life into something meaningful as well as interesting is quite overwhelming (and therefore too easy to procrastinate)!
So, it was with some hope that I found Storyworth, a unique and easy way to record personal history “one story at a time.” Storyworth is one of many apps approved by FamilySearch for inclusion in their App Gallery. You can find this and other apps in the App Gallery by scrolling to the bottom of the FamilySearch opening page and clicking on the “App Gallery” link. Impressively, Storyworth was the the Rootstech 2015 Innovator Summit grand prize winner and the People’s Choice award winner. It has been featured in articles in the New York Times, Slate, Business Insider, and on the FamilySearch blog (also found at the bottom of the FamilySearch home page), which reported: “StoryWorth brings memories to life and facilitates the preservation of memories and personal histories through simple question prompts emailed directly to users each week. . . . In time, with minimal effort and using only technology that’s already familiar, users create their personal histories, one story at a time.“‘
One of the most important things we can do for both the future and the past is to record our memories,” said Nick Baum, founder of StoryWorth. ‘When we write our stories, and share them with our families, it brings families closer together in the present (Paul G. Nauta, “StoryWorth Sweeps RootsTech Innovator Showdown,” FamilySearch [blog], Feb. 13, 2015).’”
So after signing up on the family plan, I selected five other storytellers in my family besides myself. I chose my 89-year old mother, my husband, two of my siblings, and one of our children. You really need to try to convince these folks. Believe it or not, all people in your family may not be excited to share stories about themselves or may not be able to find snatches of time to participate. (Who knew?) If you have reluctant participants, you can pitch a good case to them about strengthening family connections, preserving your family history, and getting to know each other better. Ultimately of course, each will decide whether or not to respond and read shared stories. If someone decides not to participate, you can easily replace him or her with another family storyteller as well as customize recipients. Once stories are recorded, they are saved privately and securely and can easily be downloaded anytime, as well as printed and bound as books.