Step 1. Write what you can from memory
Why should we write things down?
Island people have excellent memories for information. But, memories can fade and old people can die. Writing makes it possible for others to see and read our information without our being there to tell it, even after we are gone.
Writing can be put into computers and used to get the names into the temples and to keep information on the temple records. The temple record is a computer file, so someone must enter the written information into the computer. Once it is entered and the temple work has been completed, we can search the computer file to learn what has been done for our ancestors.
What should we write?
1. Our names and the names of family members who are living are a good place to start.
Next, we should write the names we remember of ancestors who are dead. Page 16, 17, and 18 show some forms we can use for this, when we are ready. If not, any piece of paper will do.
2. Make notes about your own life, your parents, brothers and sisters, spouse, and your children.
Notes of what you know about our grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others we were raised with or who helped to raise us will be of great value later on as we continue with our family history efforts. We can do this a little at a time, making notes as we go along
Write what you know about where people in your family lived. Where did they live when they were born, when they were growing up, married, died, or when other important events happened in their lives?
If there is a story connected with the information, write it down. If there is a historical event that affected the lives of our ancestors, we should include it in our writing.
3. Gather written records you and your family already have.
Gather the family history information others in your family have already prepared by:
• Asking your family members if they have any written information about the family, including ancestral maps (hohoko), whakapapa books, letters, stories, family group records, pedigree charts, school records, certificates, pictures, and artifacts such as wood carvings, tapa designs, etc.
• Ask if you may have a copy of what they have.
• If it is a carving or design, ask what it means and how it relates to your family.
• Make copies of them, photograph them, or write a description of them and where they are kept if you can’t keep the original.
• Return the original to the owner.
• Write where you got them on the back of the copy.
• Keep the papers you write and photos you take in a safe place.