Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Do you have old records?

Have you kept your old tax returns, utility bills, pay stubs, insurance records or other records?  Some of your history is recorded there.  Before you toss the older records go through them and record the addresses, the dates, the places worked and other information that may add to your story.  Inflation has made a lot of changes in the amount we are paid and the amount we pay for things.  You don't want to keep every bill you've ever paid, but a few bills kept might add to your story.  When I first started work, I was earning a little less than $3.00 an hour.  The cost of a first class postage stamp was 10 cents.  The cost of a first class stamp now in 2013 is 46 cents.  The cost of gasoline was under 40 cents a gallon.  It costs about $4.00 a gallon now.  

If you are fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents records you can add a lot to their stories.  You can add where they lived and when, where they worked and how much they were paid, what they spent their money on and what it cost them.  Most people don't have a lot of records from their parents or grandparents, so count yourself very lucky if you do have records.

Use your old records to add to your story.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Letters written to family members can be an important part of your family's story.  Do you have letters that your parents wrote to each other?  Were they separated because of school or serving in the military or for other reasons?  Did they write letter to each other?  Those letters can add a lot to their story.  People used to write letters more often.  Telephone calls cost a lot more in the past.  People would limit the time they talked on the phone because of the cost.  They would write letters because it didn't cost much to send a letter.  The letter could be kept and reread.  If your parents or grandparents kept letters they had written to each other, you have a valuable part of of their story.

Have you kept letters that were written to you?  They can add a lot to your story.  When you go through papers either your own or other family members, watch for personal letters.  A lot of family history may be recorded in those letters.

You may want to take excerpts from the letters and include them in your story.  You may want to include the whole letter.  You might want to kept the letter separate.  One way would be to put the letters in sheet protectors in a binder or a scrapbook.  If the letter is written on both sides of the page you could see both sides by putting the letter in a sheet protector.  However you preserve your letters, they can be an important addition to your family's story.

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