Write a Personal History--AppendixEdit This Page

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Here is further information to help you get started in writing a personal history and to preserve family photos and artifacts.

Questions to Prompt Personal Recollections

  • When and where were you born?
  • How did you get your name?
  • What did you look like as a baby?
  • What color are your eyes? What color is your hair?
  • What are your earliest memories?
  • Who is your mother? Describe her appearance and personality.
  • Did your mother work outside the home? What did she do?
  • Who is your father? Describe him and his personality.
  • Did your father do home repairs? What were his hobbies?
  • What was your father’s occupation?
  • How many siblings do you have? What are their names?
  • Where do you fit in the family?
  • What family rules did you have?
  • What did your parents value?
  • Did you have assignments or chores when you were a child?
  • Did you get along well with your siblings when you were children?
  • Do you get along well with your siblings now?
  • Did you know your grandparents? What were they like?
  • Did you know any of your great-grandparents? Tell about them.
  • Who were your earliest friends?
  • Where did you play?
  • What kinds of games did you play?
  • What were your favorite toys?
  • What were your favorite family activities?
  • How did you feel about taking naps as a child?
  • Were you a happy child?
  • What made you mad when you were a little child?
  • What did you like to eat when you were little?
  • What were your childhood fears?
  • What were your childhood dreams?
  • What health challenges did you have?
  • What are your earliest school memories?
  • How did you get to school as a young child?
  • Did you do well in school? What were your successes and failures?
  • What did you like most about school as a young child?
  • What did you like least about school as a young child?
  • What pets did you have as a young child?
  • Did you ever get lost when you were young? What happened?
  • What organized groups did you belong to, (Scouts, 4H, and so on)?
  • How did you feel about church when you were little?
  • What religious values did your parents teach at home?
  • What do you remember about the house you lived in?
  • What do you remember about other homes you have lived in?
  • What were some of your family traditions?
  • How did your family celebrate Christmas?
  • What was your favorite Christmas gift?
  • Describe your hometown at Christmas time.
  • What was the best family trip you ever experienced?
  • How did you celebrate birthdays?
  • How did your parents discipline you?
  • Was reading important in your family?
  • What did you like to read when you were a child?
  • Was music important in your family?
  • What musical instrument did you learn to play?
  • Tell about special talents in your family.
  • What special family heirlooms did you have?
  • Did you grow a garden?
  • Describe your childhood dreams for your future.
  • Describe your physical appearance as a child.
  • What games did your family play?
  • Did your family go on picnics?
  • Describe the neighborhood you lived in as a child.
  • Where did you shop when you were a child?
  • Did you move during your childhood?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What was your favorite thing to do when you were a teenager?
  • What was your favorite food when you were a teenager?
  • Describe the school you attended as a teenager.
  • What were your hobbies during your teenage years?
  • What sports did you enjoy playing?
  • Describe your physical appearance as a teenager.
  • What illnesses or accidents did you have as a teenager?
  • Who were your friends?
  • What did you read as a teenager?
  • Did you like movies?
  • What was your favorite type of music?
  • Did you date during your teens?
  • What was your favorite date during your teens?
  • What was your strangest date?
  • Did you have a steady boy or girlfriend?
  • Was peer pressure a problem?
  • Tell about learning to drive.
  • How did you get to school?
  • Were you a good student?
  • Tell about a strange fashion during your teenage years.
  • What were your religious beliefs as a young adult?
  • What college or university did you attend?
  • What did you enjoy about your college years?
  • What was the most important thing you learned during your college years?
  • Where did you live as a college student?
  • Tell about your early romances.
  • Who were your friends during your college years?
  • Did you get a degree? If so, what was your subject?
  • What was your first job?
  • What was your job through most of your working life?
  • Why did you choose your career?
  • Tell about successes and failures in your career.
  • If you had a chance to choose another career what would it be?
  • What has been your biggest responsibility in your adult life?
  • What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your life?
  • How has the relationship with your parents changed since you became an adult?
  • What did you look for in a future spouse?
  • Tell how you met your future spouse.
  • What did you do on dates with your future spouse?
  • How long did you know each other before getting engaged?
  • What attracted you to your future spouse?
  • Tell how you got engaged.
  • How long were you engaged?
  • Where did you meet your future in-laws?
  • What challenges did you face in planning a wedding?
  • Tell about your wedding day (weather, clothes, and so on).
  • What problems did you encounter on your wedding day?
  • What special gifts did you receive from your wedding?
  • How old were you and your spouse when you got married?
  • Where did you get married?
  • Where did you spend your honeymoon?
  • What were your plans and dreams when you married?
  • Where was your first home after you married?
  • Tell about any interesting or unusual things in your first home.
  • How much rent did you pay per month?
  • What surprised you most about your spouse?
  • Do you get along well with your in-laws?
  • Share some memories of your early married days.
  • What was the hardest adjustment in marriage?
  • How hard was it to manage finances as newlyweds?
  • Describe the first home you owned. When did you buy it?
  • How much did your first home cost?
  • How many times have you moved during your life?
  • How much time passed before the birth of your first child?
  • Tell about the births of your children.
  • How did you choose your children’s names?
  • Tell about the differences between your children.
  • Do your children get along together well?
  • What were your biggest challenges in raising your children?
  • What would you do differently in raising your children?
  • Have you fulfilled any childhood dreams during your adult years?
  • Do you feel you have done a good job managing money?
  • Tell about any major diseases you have had.
  • Have you had any major accidents?
  • Tell about any surgeries you have had.
  • Are you physically active?
  • What do you do for leisure?
  • What sports do you participate in?
  • What physical or mental challenges do you have?
  • How is your vision? Do you wear glasses or contacts?
  • What is your blood type?
  • Describe your physical appearance as an adult.
  • What is your favorite food as an adult?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • What is your favorite type of book?
  • Share your religious beliefs.
  • Do you like to travel or would you rather stay home?
  • Where have you traveled?
  • What have you learned from traveling?
  • Where would you still like to travel?
  • Describe your relationship with your siblings as an adult.
  • List all the places where you have lived, including addresses.
  • Have you served in the military?
  • Tell about the most unusual person you have ever met.
  • Tell about your favorite neighbors.
  • Who are your friends?
  • What interesting people live in your neighborhood?
  • What is the best thing about your community?
  • What would you like to change in your community?
  • Tell about the weather where you live.
  • Do you live in a large or small community?
  • Have you been involved in your community?
  • What career changes have you made as an adult?
  • What is unusual about your appearance?
  • What do you like best about your physical appearance?
  • What would you change in your appearance?
  • What has been your best vacation as an adult?
  • If you could change the world for your grandchildren, what would be different?
  • What is your advice to those younger than you?
  • What are your dreams for your children and grandchildren’s future?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • What would you like people to know about you?
  • What awards and recognitions have you received?
  • Describe your present home.
  • Do you live alone, with a spouse or with others?
  • What makes you happy?
  • How have national events influenced your life?
  • How have international events influenced your life?
  • How has technology changed during your life?
  • What other major changes have you seen during your life?
  • Tell about any major catastrophes.
  • Tell about major religious events in your life.
  • What do you still want to accomplish in life?
  • Tell about your relationship with your spouse.
  • Tell about your relationship and feelings for each of your children.
  • Do you have any major regrets? Can they be remedied?
  • How have you changed during your life?
  • What pleases you most about your life?
  • What have you done to make your world a better place?
  • What are your basic values and beliefs?
  • How has answering these questions affected you?

Basic Care and Preservation of Photographs, Artifacts, and Documents

As you begin gathering items to help you remember your experiences in your life, you will find that soon you will have a good collection of precious items. Carefully consider the care and preservation of these photographs, artifacts, and important documents. All types of paper, including photographic and document paper, can be damaged by sunlight, dirt, dust, fingerprints, pressure, and general neglect.

If you want to preserve a photograph or document, don’t display it! Make a copy of the item, and display the copy. The original should then be stored away from light and extreme temperatures. The following is a list of things to do and not to do to protect your photographs, artifacts, and documents.

DO NOT:

  • Store anything of value in magnetic albums.
  • Write with ball point pens on the backs of photos.
  • Store photographic negatives in the sleeves that they came in.
  • Store negatives with your photographs.
  • Handle photographs with dirty hands.
  • Write on the front of photographs.
  • Place photographs over other photographs in an album.
  • Store photographs face to face.
  • Store photographs or documents unprotected in wooden drawers or on wooden closet shelves.
  • Store photographs or documents with newspaper clippings.
  • Store photographs or documents with staples, paperclips, or any metal that may rust.

DO:

  • Store photographs and documents in archival-safe plastic sleeves.
  • Store sleeves in three ring binders to minimize stacking and pressure on photos and documents.
  • Store photographs and negatives in separate storage containers.
  • Be sure that hands are clean before touching photographs and documents.
  • Thoroughly clean your work area when working with documents and photographs.
  • Write gently with a soft pencil around the edge of the back of photographs.
  • Make photocopies of letters and other documents, using acid free paper.
  • Store original documents in acid free page protectors.

Web sites for photo and document preservation information and supplies

Books on photo and documents preservation


 

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  • This page was last modified on 2 May 2014, at 00:15.
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