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Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to write your personal history to share with your family and leave for future generations. The task, however, can seem daunting. Where do you start? FamilySearch can help with its #52Stories project.
Each week in 2017, FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogical organization, will publish topic questions designed to trigger your memories. You just need to focus on the topic and write a response.
It doesn’t matter if you write a few paragraphs, a single page, or several pages. You can write in a journal or in a document on your computer, or you can make a video or audio recording. When 2017 concludes, you will have 52 stories about your life to enhance your personal history. “This 2017 personal history challenge, called the #52Stories project, is an expanded version of a similar, very successful challenge offered by FamilySearch four years ago,” said Wendy Smedley, FamilySearch project manager for social media. “This year, however, instead of having a list of only 52 questions, the writer can choose his or her 52 questions from a list of 144 questions.”
You don’t have to look far for a great series of memory triggers. The #52Stories Project has divided the year into 12 themes, from “Goals & Achievements” to “Education & School” to “Holidays & Traditions,” providing 12 different questions for each theme. That’s a total of 144 questions, giving you plenty of options to choose from as you build your library of #52stories. The questions are available for download in fun, colorful themed pages, and you’ll also see a different question highlighted each week on Instagram (@FamilySearch) and the FamilySearch Facebook Page.
January’s theme is goals and achievements. Sample questions include:
- What goals are you actively working toward right now?
- What was the greatest achievement of your life?
- What is something you taught yourself to do without help from anyone else?
- What role has failure played in your efforts to achieve your goals?
Your 52 stories, or your ancestors’ stories, can also be shared for free in a FamilySearch Memories profile, preserving these stories for future posterity. FamilySearch will not make these stories public while the person is living but will make them available for future generations after the person is deceased. New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler and faith leaders such as President Spencer W. Kimball of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have emphasized that recording and sharing glimpses of your life and your ancestors’ lives is an invaluable aspect of building strong families.
Family stories are a great gift that helps build individual identity in children and children’s children. These stories allow you to preserve and share the story of your life and your ancestors’ lives, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed bleak, and your rejoicing when you finally achieved your goals.