Preserving Family History and Lore for my Grandchildren

Grandma book

I have a project I’m looking forward to. This past Christmas, my pregnant middle daughter gave me a book, Tell Me Your Life Story, Grandma: A Grandmother’s Guided Journal and Memory Keepsake Book.

She said, “I feel a little guilty for giving you homework.”

I said, “Do I have to finish it by the time the babies are born?” (The twins were born February 14, 2023.)

She said, “How about by the time they’re five.”

Yes! That I can do. I haven’t started it yet, but now that I’ve seen my granddaughters, I can’t wait to begin.

I love family stories, and I think it is important to share family stories across generations. I’ve posted some of our family stories on ARHtistic License and elsewhere: stories about my kids when they were little (and about me, too); about my mother’s family; about when our pet snake escaped; about my dad; about my first job; and others.

The book is divided into sections: Early Years; Childhood; Interests & Pursuits; Family Tree; Family, Friends, & Relationships; Motherhood; Beliefs &Values; Reflections; Short Questions; and Notes to Loved Ones. In each section are prompts and ample space to address each one. They can be completed in any order.

Here are some sample prompts:

  • What were your favorite subjects in school?
  • Which traits do you share with your siblings? In what ways do your traits differ?
  • In what ways do you consider today’s world a better place to raise children compared to your childhood days?
  • Has anything happened in your lifetime that you hope future generations never go through?
  • Who are your top five most-listened-to singers, bands or musicians?

Some of the questions are straightforward; others require some pondering. I think I will make a rough draft before I write my answers into the book. And I suspect I will remember a few more stories to share on ARHtistic License, some which are true, and some which are merely told and handed down and may not have happened exactly as I heard them.

Of course, I could have done a project like this without a book to lead me through it, but up until now I haven’t, even though I’ve thought about it many times.

Now it’s your turn. Have you written your family’s story to hand down to your children’s children? Would you? Did you or would you wing it, or find a book to help you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

8 responses »

    • When my children were small and my parents were still alive, I bought them a cassette recorder and a bunch of cassettes and asked them to tape themselves talking about their memories, but they never really got into it. I wish they had.


  1. I made a big scrapbook about my Mother’s life after she died, and it was a rewarding project. I don’t think I care to do a fill-out-the-form book about my life, but I’ve been considering writing a life history to leave for my daughter, in part because there were so many things I wished I had known about my Mother. Good luck with your project!

    Liked by 1 person

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