Who is family history for?

A little while ago, we sent out a survey about family history to see what people’s perception of family history and collecting family memories was, and how people currently preserved their memories. This produced some pretty interesting learning! It seems, predominately, it is women (76%) who take up the mantle of family historian, and the most active age group were 30 – 49 year olds. But what touched us all were people’s reasons for looking into their family history.

“We all experience so many things in life and for many of us, when we look back, our most special memories are those spent with family and loved ones. Our lives pass by so quickly and we often live in the moment but never take the time to write down or share (by documenting) what memories we have so that we can pass them on. Often, it’s too late and we lose that person who holds the names of family members long lost or that special recipe that kept the family together for Sunday dinners, etc.”

Time, or perhaps more importantly, the passage of time is something we begin to feel as soon as our children are born. Before they arrive there’s you and your parents, they see us as kids and we still feel like kids so we’re locked into this wonderful warm period of timelessness. When we have children, the dynamic changes, we’re seen as parents by our parents, we have this life we’re responsible for and the clock starts to tick.

For me, it was seeing my children with their grandparents when I first began to see time become a precious, finite commodity. I realised one day my parents won’t be here and my children are too young now to understand or care about family history, and so if fell to me. I was also at that age where we want to understand ourselves more, to have that sense of self and place in the timeline of our families. I wanted to speak with great aunts and uncles about their lives, collecting family stories as well as I could and honestly enjoy spending time with members of the family I don’t see much.

The motivation to collect my family history was in part to ensure my young family had a connection to the past that was deeper than faded memories and photographs. Through my exploration I could, when my kids grew up, share with them the story of their family as vividly as I could possibly make it. But more importantly, it was for me to understand where I fit in the story of my family.

That’s why we built Memory Box, to keep memories safe. To keep them for a time when our children have their own family and seek their own sense of self. So they can have a rich collection of memories told by the people who made them – their parents and their grandparents.