April 7, 2017 Theo Brainin

How to Capture Your Parents’ Life Stories

How much do you really know about your parents’ lives? So many stories took place before you were born, or were old enough to understand. Your parents know your whole history – but chances are you only know a fraction of theirs.

As our parents get older, these stories start to become more important to us. A lot of us turn our minds to making a record – we don’t want these irreplaceable memories to be lost. A Story Terrace biography is a great way to ensure your parents stories will last the generations.
However you want to record your parents’ life stories, the first step is to start talking. So today, we’re sharing four top tips.

Picture this…

A lot of our customers find that old photo albums are a great place to start with their parents. Take a day to bring out the old family albums with mom or dad. You will find that it jogs the memory, brings up stories you never even knew about, and it’s also a fantastic way to begin assembling material for a memoir or biography.

Parents memories
It’s also an opportunity to digitize old pictures, which we strongly recommend. Nowadays, we are overwhelmed with photos. But older photos, from our parents’ childhood days, are often few and far between. It’s very likely you have no ‘back up’ of these pictures – old film and prints are liable to get damaged and lost forever! For this very reason, these older photos are infinitely more precious.
Luckily, with advances in technology, it has become easier to preserve old photos. Pictures can be scanned and stored safely online so that precious memories are not lost. As an added bonus, they are then easy to reproduce in a memoir or photo book. You can do it yourself by downloading an app, using a nearby print shop, or purchasing your own scanner.
Read our quick tips on how to digitize old photos for more information!

Be your own family’s archaeologist

If you’re really serious, it’s time to have a look around the attic. Think of the film Titanic. A search for a precious necklace, missing in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean lead to the discovery of something priceless: a timeless love story. It’s not just Hollywood fiction – objects can tell stories!
There’s a reason historians spend time digging up old Roman pots – it says a lot about how people lived their lives. Material culture can be just as important for you as your family’s historian. Your mom or dad’s memory won’t be infallible – mementos from the past can be important in bringing those truly old tales back to the present.
‘Why do you always wear that necklace mom?’
‘Well, I was 13 and I was walking to school one day….’
By examining your parents’ old possessions, you may not only be able to jog their memory, but to make the story come alive for yourself!

Take note!

Now you’ve got your parents talking, you’ll want to keep a pen and paper handy.
The stories that parents and grandparents share can be important insights into the past. Stories dating to a time before you were born: ‘I had to be evacuated during WW2, I can still remember the sounds of the air raid sirens’. Realities that seem so contrary from modern life: ‘I got my first job at 11 and have worked ever since’.
Make sure to jot down these little bits of information. And don’t forget to ask questions! It is through these that life stories can truly come together.

Get professional help from Story Terrace!

We would all love to personally record our parents’ life stories. But it often isn’t that easy. It can be difficult to find the time to finish a project. It’s also hard to be an expert interviewer and writer on the first attempt. And then you will want to transform all of that work into a format you can share with your family – which involves editing the text, and designing and printing everything yourself.
Story Terrace is here to help you capture your parents’ life stories. Our professional ghostwriters have extensive experience interviewing our customers’ parents and structuring their memoirs and biographies. We have in-house editors who manage the process end-to-end, and we know how to beautifully present precious memories in a way that will last. If you’d like to inquire about our services, feel free to contact us.