Starting Your List

Starting your family history is simple. It all starts with you – just one person, one important person – YOU!

Grab a paper, your notebook, a computer or a tablet, and make a list of stuff you remember as a child. People, places, things. These will all help you to understand who you are, where and what you come from, and a bit more about the era in which you lived, live now and will grow into.
Your list will be added to, and change as you work on it. Don’t do details, just thoughts, one or two words is sufficient to jog your memories. To help you to remember what your life was all about.

Family History is just that – history – it is so much more than names and dates to be listed in a chronological order. There are people, and stories, personalities, and memories to be had. These are all so important to your heritage that follows you. Stories and legends is what makes up our history.

I did this exercise for a Personal History class I took a few years back, and this is a bit what my list looked like.
Memories are funny things really; they come in a fleeting moment and leave you just as quickly. When asked to do an assignment thinking of my childhood or things that were important to me, I went back as far as I could go and these are the thoughts that came to my mind.

  • A canopy
  • A white toy chest
  • Dad’s money clip
  • Dad’s Change Dish
  • The smell of the station wagon
  • Mom’s Perfume
  • Grandma Kuykendall’s house
  • Aunt Sally’s house
  • My Kool-Aid Cup
  • The large console Television
  • My Yellow Camaro
  • Licorice plant
  • Smokey the dog
  • The Campbell boat
  • The mobile home in Havasu
  • The raccoons
  • The golf cart
  • The raft at Lake Havasu
  • Molasses cookies
  • New Year’s Day Parade

With even more thought into it now, I could easily add another two or three dozen to the list. But that was not the point of the project. I chose to expound on a couple of these thoughts. These things meant so much to me as a child and still hold fond places in my heart today as a middle-aged mother and wife. I wonder if you will recollect from your own life as you read these pages.