Writing for Posterity: To Our Children’s Children


Image: Doubleday

I’m a big fan of genealogy. I have so much family history it’s practically coming out of my ears. Rory and my ex-husband, both, can attest to the fact that I have tubs and tubs of letters, photos, documents, awards, paintings, clothes, and anything else my family saved. It’s mostly from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family, but plenty of other branches are represented.

Most of that stuff is just in tubs in the closet and isn’t also represented elsewhere. I haven’t digitized it yet, or even read through most of it. I know that it would tell many stories about family members, both those I knew well and those I never met, giving me a glimpse into their lives and times.

This kind of thing has made me aware of looking at my own life as family history. Imagine if I could leave behind a really great record of what my life was like. A record of things such as my home life, how I liked my jobs, what kind of parent I was, if I brought a lunchbox to school when I was a kid, what music I liked, what my favorite recipes were, or how my family celebrated holidays.

Years ago I found a book that would help me chronicle things like that, called To Our Children’s Children. It has hundreds and hundreds of questions that guide your thinking, allowing you to pull your memories out and answer questions for your descendents.

I started writing these answers down years ago, and then moved a few times, having many life changing experiences, and forgetting about the project. I recently found the book again, and hope to start adding to the Microsoft Word file that I started oh those many years ago (2008 was the last time I worked on it, but Amazon tells me I ordered the book in 2005).

If you place any importance on preserving the stories of your life for future generations, I highly recommend this book. It’s not big (though it is packed full of questions), and not expensive. And your kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will thank you. And it might even spur on some interesting conversations within your family. Give it a look.

About Jenny Bristol

I'm just me.
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One Response to Writing for Posterity: To Our Children’s Children

  1. zooey says:

    I have some of that history, but not tubs and tubs. I also think of past relatives that are basically branches on trees and that’s it. Most likely, that’s what we all come to in the end after a few hundred years, unless we are extraordinarily famous. This dark thought sorta stymies my resolve to work on a history. I envy your resolve. :)

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