Monday, 2 January 2017

FamilySearch encourages your own story to be written

FamilySearch ( has launched a new project to encourage folk to write up their own stories, through a project called #52Stories. Here's a brief summary:

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 by theme on 12 colorful 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?

For the full press release, please visit

COMMENT: I am very much of the school that couldn't care less about the size of your family tree, it's the quality of the history which you wish to pass on that counts. And if there is one story that many family historians fail to record, it is their very own. This is something I realised many years ago, and sought to address it since both by keeping a diary (with occasional gaps!), but also by writing an account of my childhood for my kids, which I keep dipping into and updating every so often, as I remember more, or am reminded of past events. This initiative by FamilySearch is a great idea to help you achieve similar, providing a focus to get you started. You don't have to be Shakespeare, Burns or Chaucer, and by all means, hang the grammar squad - just put pen to paper and tell it like it is, or was! You may well find that you are as interesting, if not more, than some of the ancestors who came before ye, and just as important in the bigger picture!


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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