In this post, we'll give you an overview for discovering your memories. It sounds simple, but can be more extensive than you might think. We'll walk you through the kinds of memories we'll talk about on this blog.
We call our six-step process for collecting, preserving and sharing your family’s memories, DOTAGE. Read An Introduction to DOTAGE for more information about the process.
The first step is the D for discovery.
Do you know where your memories are? No, not the ones rolling about in your head. But your head is a good place to start: Have you maintained a journal? Maybe you have the journals of your parents or grandparents.
Memories come in many forms. You might have audio recordings of you or other family members telling stories. If you have any recordings, are they in a digital format or are they on cassettes or reel-to-reel tape?
What about videos? Maybe you have old 8mm film taken with your dad’s Super 8 camera. Or VHS tapes from that camcorder Mom was so happy to get for Christmas. And don’t forget the video you took of your grandkid’s preschool graduation on your phone; is it backed up anywhere? You can convert those old 8mm and VHS home movies of your seventh birthday party to a digital format and share them online.
We’re willing to guess the most numerous format you have is photographs. If you’re of a certain age (born before the 21st century) you have countless photographs. Older fiends also might have slides. (Remember when relatives came over for dinner and treated you to the slide show of their vacation to Niagara Falls?) And now that we have cameras on our phones and tablets, you might have many more digital photographs. Our seven-year-old grandkids take photos and videos on their Kindle Fire tablets!
Memories are also the treasures we have in our homes? Artwork or collectibles or souvenirs. Ask yourself:
- What is the significance?
- When was it purchased or received?
- Who did it originally belong to?
- Why is it important?
Discovering your family’s memories can take a while. But we have real-time communication now with email, texting and voice and video calling on our phones and computers.
My grandmother and great-grandmother were born before phones or electricity. Communication was by mail (with handwritten letters on actual paper!). Even when phones became popular, communication was expensive and used only for emergencies or special occasions. Now you can find an item, snap a pic and send it to all seven of your children asking what the heck that item is and whose it was. And you’re likely to get seven replies in minutes instead of weeks.
Discovery is the first step in our DOTAGE journey. Before you can preserve your memories, you have to find those memories, and then gather them together. After that, you're ready for the second step: Organization.