Recording your family history

October 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Record your family history and pass stories onto the next generation. One Bay Area grandmother found a unique way that brought her family together. Surrey Blackburn, author of "Tales from My Grandmother," shares her story.

About Surrey Blackburn:
Surrey Blackburn, mother of two and grandmother of five, was born in Bristol, England, and now lives in Northern California with her husband, a dog, four cats, and a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean. After years as a teacher, bank manager, foundation director, and now photographer, she returns with these stories to an earlier interest in working with young children.

How the book began
This book grew from both ends. For some years I had told my grandchildren stories of my childhood. These stories became easily named and were often requested by one grandchild or another.

· Surrey's granddaughter India had urged her to write them down for other children to enjoy, but of course life was too busy to even think of doing that. Then in the January of 2008 Surrey broke her leg and was confined to a wheel chair for four months. Being an avid reader she took the opportunity to read all the books that I had gathered ready to read given the time. She had just finished the 39th book when she realized she was finished too - finished with reading. It was time to write. The stories already told so many times rolled off the pen and soon many more came to light as my memories spoke to me of that interesting time.

· After writing 14 of the Tales she found it harder and harder to continue. It was quite an emotional journey and she dreaded going back to those times. The idea for the remaining 6 tales was already in my head but she could not write. She was invited by a dear friend, Susan Bishop a Nurse/Hypnotherapist to try hypnotherapy. The results were amazing - quite an extraordinary session. Not only did she break my writers block, but she returned so speedily to those days and numerous details came to me from the tales she had already told. The result was a complete rewrite of all my tales and the of course the final 6 tales simply flowed out.

Thing to consider from Surrey in regards to writing a book on your childhood memories to share with others:

· Shared these tales with my grandchildren - and as a result developed a closer bond with them.

· People often wish after a beloved family member dies that they had asked them a very important question about their childhood.

· With so many advances in technology it is easier to record a family's history.

· Children see parallels with their own lives when they hear these stories and feel closer to their grandparents and parents.

· People remember stories much better than facts and the stories will be remembered and passed down. (We remember 80% of the story and only 20% of the actual facts.)

· Grandparents will not only have given a gift of their history but they will be better able to give more appropriate birthday gifts to their grandkids because they will know them better.

· An understanding of the family's past can be an enlightening experience for the family and its future and the communication will help start other dialogues in the family and help bridge the generation gap.

For more information, visit www.talesfrommygrandmother.com.


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