Record your Personal History! Easy as 1-2-3

 To Our Children’s Children 

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There are lots of great ways to tell your personal history. One of the ways I discovered that works best to record your personal history, at least for me, is to use a tape recorder.  Now don’t go thinking “she’s so last century!”– just hear me out!  You can also do this on your smartphone, tablets, and with digital tape recorders, etc.  Sometimes it’s just so hard to get a parent to physically write out their story and/or learn new technology.  By recording it, (just pushing that little button) the task seems a bit less daunting than handwriting the story and, with grandparents and parents alike, it just tends to get done.  At first it feels a bit awkward talking into the little device, but you get used to it and, soon, it’s like talking to a friend who never interrupts! Haha!

If you decide to go #oldschool, I prefer the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, with the WS series, or VN series with PC link. One Christmas I did the research and found that the WS series has a USB port built right into the recorder.  How easy is that? The files can easily be uploaded to your computer, organized, labeled and safely stored with NO extra cords to lose – that is key! At different times in our lives we remember things and see them differently. Our perspectives change.  So, it is important to date when you record yourself.  Just say the date on the recorder before you start telling your story.  Even though the digital recorder should store the date you recorded it, sometimes when you transfer it to the computer the digital date stamp can be lost and replaced with the date of “transfer” instead of the date of creation.  So, by doing this step, you’ve got a great safety measure.  Below I will show you how to save those dates.  Also, don’t go back and change or fix a story.  Just move forward.  At different times our perspective on an event changes.  That’s OK – just keep moving forward.  If you feel compelled to talk about an event again, in a more positive way, then don’t go back, but explain how you’ve changed, forgiven, saw it through another’s eyes, etc.  Just don’t be tempted to erase it!

When it comes to talking about our past and telling your story, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. However, there are lots of great suggestions, helps, handouts, etc., but I think one of the best books out there for telling your life story is called, “To our Children’s Children” by Bob Greene.  It’s a very comprehensive little book.  In my experience, usually one question leads to another and spurs on other stories one might recall from their childhood, teen-hood and even adult-hood.  Sometimes it’s hard to stop talking!Now, keep in mind, that this is not just something for your parents or a grandparent to do . . . this is something you too can, and should do now, before you forget!

Using a recording device is also a great way to begin journaling, especially if you have a hard time being consistent with writing in a journal. In a future blog I’ve discovered some great apps for journaling on your smartphone too!  But, if putting that hand held recorder next to your bed, and after prayers are done, picking up this handy device and just start talking gets the job done, then do it!

Something I’m often reminded about is that “some is better than none.” Let me explain.  I remember teaching my first scrapbooking classes and the moms would take home their one-sided page . . . they felt like they hadn’t accomplished much at all!  But, those moms would call the next day and say that their children sat with each other and looked at that page over and over again and, even though they knew there was nothing on the other side, they would still turn the page over, hoping there would be more.  I’d remind those moms that even that one page is telling some of their story and the kids loved it!  Remember – some IS better than none.

How I transfer recordings from my device to my computer:

  1. Plug Olympus WS digital recorder’s port into the computer. (Each recorder different but here is the general idea)
  2. On your computer, open up the directory file, find your digital recording device, click on the Recorder folder and then subfolder “A” (or whatever folder you choose to record in).
  3. Once you click on folder A, up will come the WS-name/number, the date modified (right now that date is when the recording took place, but will change when transferring the recording to the computer), the type (an MP3 format), and the size of the file.
  4. Now find your Music folder on your computer and gently click on music, then My Music, and then right click and make a new folder.
  5. I like to label the new folder with the date (12-24-2016) and then a title (Elle sweet honor orchestra)
  6. Many times I have forgotten what I recorded, so when the directory comes up with all the files, I double click on each file and listen to a piece of it so I know what to label my new folder with. I.e.: 1-2-2018 my first journal entry or 1-3-2018 Tonya’s journal (simple titles are good). **TIP** — By putting the date first in your title, your recordings can be sorted and listed in the order you created them.
  7. Then select the WS-name and cut and paste into the new file folder you’ve just named and now it’s gone from the digital record, but organized and saved on the computer.

Some other awesome ways to record is on your phone.  Just make sure to label and upload your files to a safe location.

Days Lite – is a great Journaling app on your phone if you still feel inclined to write your story.  Use the book “To our Children’s Children” to guide your journaling each day.

Last, I discovered this week an awesome app called  – they offer daily questions, you audio record your answers and can add 1 picture per story.

Just remember that “some is better than none,” even if you or your parents or grandparents just record one time! That is more than you had before and will be priceless for generations to come!


Forever family trees record your story

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