John Rowley and Sarah Wright Family Messenger


At one of our recent meetings the question of biographies and autobiographies was discussed. It was suggested that we encourage members of our family society to write their personal histories. In studying suggested procedures, I found this;

Everyone should consider that he has an obligation to write his own life story, a record for future generations. It is your story – as one can write it as well as you can. If you do not write it, it may not be written.  E. Kay Kirkham wrote, “…every life is different. Every life important. A written story of your life will be a happy remembrance to yourself, your family, your friends and to your own descendants.”

Gather and write it in an orderly way. Give dates, places, when and where important things in your life happened, but don’t make it strictly a statistical account. Include schools and churches attended, civil responsibilities, accentuate human interest stories.

Keep it simple and direct. Use pictures and portraits when they are available. They sometimes tell more than the words themselves.

The other day I was given a list of things one might include in an outline for the story of your life. I was interested in it and will pass it on to you. Of course, one would want to be selective, but it is a good list from which to choose.

  1. Birth, time, place and surrounding circumstances.
  2. Early memories of home or homes and surroundings.
  3. Childhood playmates and ?????
  4. First birthday you can remember.
  5. First school days – school house, teachers, etc.
  6. Childish pranks and episodes.
  7. Home – conditions, ??? and religions.
  8. Prayers that were answered.
  9. First lesson n honesty.
  10. The outstanding Christmas in your memory.
  11. School teachers and studies.
  12. Home tasks, where you made your first money.
  13. Baptism, when, where, by whom; Confirmation when, where, and by when.
  14. Church activities in younger life.
  15. Youthful associates.
  16. Announcements.
  17. High school, vocational schools, college. First appearance before public.
  18. Embarrassing situations and how you met them.
  19. Courting days.
  20. Marriage, ?????, wedding presents.
  21. Starting out for yourself, new home, conditions.
  22. Children and family relationships.
  23. Tragedy and comedy in the home.
  24. Family problems.
  25. Neighbors and friends.
  26. People who have entered your life and made a lasting impression.
  27. Favorite books.
  28. Choose forms of recreations.
  29. Removals to other homes.
  30. Church activities.
  31. Testimonies, faith promoting incidents or answers to prayers.
  32. Hobbies, characteristics.
  33. Travel and pleasure trips.
  34. Public life.
  35. Personal accomplishments, desires, whether filled or not.
  36. Appreciations; philosophy of life.

It may not be easy to start your history, but someone has said, “that which we persist in doing becomes easy to do.” Not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our ability to do increases. Let us hope so.

William R. Jones

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