May is Personal History Month; take time to share your story!

May is Personal History Month

Wouldn’t you be interested in learning about your grandparents or great-grandparents? How they lived their day-to-day lives, what their struggles were, what were their accomplishments and interests? If only they had recorded their memoirs, their observations of life, their advice and life-lessons they wanted to pass to future generations. This is what Personal History Month is about: taking time to capture one’s life story to preserve for future generations. While genealogy is important to family history, a personal history brings the facts to life in a more personable way.

Personal histories may be presented in many different forms:

  • Books
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Website
  • Quilts
  • Scrapbooks
  • Shadowboxes
  • Paintings
  • Collages

Many resources are available to help get you or your loved ones started in compiling a personal history. A search on, for example, produces several books on how to get started, as well as books asking questions and providing blank spaces to write answers. Most of us may find writing or recording a personal history difficult and daunting to do on our own, so it’s helpful to recruit assistance from a family member, friend, or in the case of our home care clients, their home care aides. You may also seek professional help by hiring a Personal Historian. These creative people are trained to help draw out details and ask good questions that help tie their subject’s life story together along with historical and social context. They also can interview family, friends, or co-workers to get a bigger picture. Many also specialize in organizing home movies, photos, letters, diaries, and the like.

Your personal history can be as detailed or as simple as you’d like. The main point is to record it for future generations. You may not think your life is “interesting,” for whatever reason, but each our our lives is of interest–even if you’ve never been famous or have never had your name in the Daily News.

For more information about Personal History Month and the Association of Personal Historians, visit their website at

Personal Historian in Mt. Laurel, NJ •