If you choose to write down family memories, you can write and publish a book as I did with Cherry Blossoms in Twilight: Memories of a Japanese Girl. That was a lot of work, but then it is a hundred-page book. You can instead create a booklet of stories that a copy shop like Kinkos can take care of. This is economical and fairly easy to do. And wouldn’t it be a great idea to include recipes among your family history stories? Some people just create family cookbooks filled with “heirloom” recipes from mom, grandma, and great-grandma, and maybe a few stories about the recipes or memories of dinners and cooking – a different focus.
To make writing down memories really easy for you, there are quite a number of family-memory books available that have pages of questions for you or your family member(s) to answer. I’ll write about the pros and cons of this later.
Scrapbooking is really in fashion now and lots of fun. If you’ve got some creativity and plenty of great old photos, this may be the way to go. Scrapbooking can be as labor-intensive (and costly) as you want to make it. Related to that, you could just do photo albums using some scrapbooking techniques. Can’t include that much in the way of stories that way, though.
One of the easiest and perhaps best ways to capture memories is to videotape the storyteller(s). Nowadays you can even take that videotape to a camera shop and have it made into a DVD. I have videotaped two relatives together with good results, even though I was almost a total amateur and one of my subjects was not very forthcoming. I have plenty of advice to give on this method.
The final method is to hire somebody to do any of these other methods for you. I have seen stunning scrapbooks and homemade books done for clients. There are companies that will shoot and edit videotapes, too. Expect to pay a good bit for someone else’s time and special talents.
I’ll write on each of these methods in future entries.