Treasure Maps Genealogy

Genealogy and Family Tree How-to Help

A Fun Family History Writing Project - Seven Chapters in Your Life Story

The Treasure Maps Genealogy site has many tutorials and articles on how to write your life story, journaling, and oral history, etc. Here are a few:

You may be thinking, "Hey, that sound's good, but it will take too much time. I will do it 'some' day." This is natural because getting your entire life story written can be overwhelming. But, only seven stories? You can do that.

Some day and later usually never happens, so I'd like to give you a challenge. Here is a fun, SHORT, project that you can easily and quickly do.

It's Only SEVEN Stories - C'mon Try This…

- If you had only SEVEN stories to tell about who you are, what would they be?

- How would these stories reflect your life and define who you are as a person?

- What are YOUR seven stories?

Here is a writing project that several students at Eastern Michigan University did. They started their seven stories/chapters with a Table of Contents.

Here are some examples on their "National Day on Writing" page. Remember, they are college students. Most of us have a lot more life experience under our belts, but there are many examples. Some are touching, some are a little sad, and some are a little disturbing.

- GO TO: My Life in Seven Stories

"Description: Create the table of contents for a book about your life so far or the life you imagine."

Here are few random items from their Table of Contents that I liked:

- "The Bowl cut that Scarred My Life"
- "Huge, Crazy, Loving Family: The Best in the World!"
- "I Am a Father? What Do I Do Now?"
- "The Long Awaited Senior Year"
- "Awkward Adolescence"
- "The Shaping of a Military Man"
- "Secret Life of a High School Prom Queen"
- "Dream Big/Go Hard"
- "My Parents Don't Love Each Other Any More"
- "I Hate Barbie Dolls and My Father's in Jail"

As you see, some of these students had fun coming up with their Table of Contents.

Yes, this is a FUN thing. Please, do it today, or over the next few days: Create the Table of Contents for the Seven Stories of Your Life and come up with a good title for each chapter.

 Write the TABLE OF CONTENTS for

What are the the "Table of Contents" for the Seven Stories of Your Life? Leave a COMMENT at the BOTTOM of this page:  
TIP: If you are thinking, "I can't think of a way to describe my life in seven stories," try this:

- Write about seven influential people in your life.

- Use seven quotes from songs or poems that are special to you and include some of your personal beliefs.

- You can split your life into seven five-year sections and write a chapter about each.

- You can write about seven lessons that you've learned in life.

- You can choose your seven most influential years (or moments, etc.).

- Write about seven world events that happened during your lifetime and describe what was happening in your life at that point in time.

 It's fun, but it will also make you think. Only seven. What will they be?

Are you in? I hope that you will take me up on the challenge to come up with the seven stories of your life.
Your children, grandchildren, and their children, will be happy that you did.

Our lives are important. They may be simple; they may seem boring at times; but they are more important to others than you think.

A FINAL TIP: Be sure to include your FEELINGS in those stories. How did you feel back then when whatever event happened? How do you feel about it now?

Have fun and enjoy this special project! Share Yours in the Comments Area Below…

Grandmas Apron Poem

This is very appropriate because of the Holiday Season. You may want to share it with your family and friends (who know what it means to wear an apron) who you may be seeing this Thanksgiving or Christmas.

This stirred up a lot of memories for me, and I bet they will for you, too.

Click to continue »

Use this Wonderful, Online Tool / Service to FINALLY Write Your Life Story

Have you ever thought about writing your Life Story?

If so, why? What are the reasons? Here a just a few…

  • Leave a legacy.
  • Preserve an important history for your family and descendants.

Why haven't you done it yet?

  • It is overwhelming.
  • Someone is supposed to do it for you, maybe? If so, when is this going to happen?

 Here is a solution that I'm personally excited about:


  • Your Life Story in print.
  • Audio recordings of your Life Story.
  • All done in very manageable chunks and you can finally "Git-er-done!"

If you want to finally write your life story - or even better - have it in print AND in audio, then this is the coolest Tool / Service you will see.

I just found out about it, use it, love it, and also use it for many other things.

For example, I use this tool to save lots of time with upcoming articles and lessons, letters and email, personal journal entries, notes to myself when I'm anywhere.

Then, I get everything I say sent back to me in text by email - and can get the audio files as well.


NOTE: You do not need the "Cheat Sheet" I show in this video any more - and they have changed the discount to $20 less, versus $30 less.

Here is the special discount link for the CopyTalk Mobile Scribe tool that I talk about in the video. You don't have to call my person or anything - just go straight to this link to use this wonderful tool/service:

3 Tips to Help You Easily Write YOUR Life Story

 "Every death is like the burning of a library."
                              (Alex Haley)

Here they are, short and sweet. Three do-able tips to write your life story:

ONE: If you want to take the stress away from writing your life story, for heaven's sake, DON'T think of it as writing your "autobiography." When you think of an autobiography, you may picture thick volumes on library shelves. Scary! However,you can write by hand, type on computer, or record on a tape recorder, your "life story" in small chunks.

TWO: Doing it a little at a time is the key, and you do NOT have to do it in sequential order.

Click to continue »

Why You Should Research Your Family History AND Your Family HEALTH History

How Your Past Can Affect the Health of Your Future (and maybe help save family member’s life!)

Note: Most of this article is due to Judith L. Weinberger and Linda Clark’s willingness to share their experience with the Treasure Map’s on-line family.

Judith wrote: “This letter is to relate a recent experience that at first glance has NOTHING to do with genealogy, but at second glance has EVERYTHING to do with family history…

Last year I had a heart attack (yes, thank you, I am doing very well now). No one expected I would ever have this type of medical problem. Every doctor I spoke with (and there were a lot) asked if heart problems ran in the family. I knew they did, but was unsure of the extent.

During my recovery at home, I pulled out all death certificates, obituaries, and family oral history in my files and created a chart.

Click to continue »

The Natural Approach to Oral History Interviews Part 2

"The Natural Approach to Oral History Interviews and the Two Critical Questions You Must ALWAYS Ask" by Robert Ragan (Part 2) Continued from Part 1

"Writing Prompts" and "Memory Prompts"

One Mother's Day, I gave my Mom a blank journal. She surprised me by saying that she had been thinking about starting a journal. I also gave her a book (that has questions and plenty of room to write) called "The Book of Myself - A Do-it-Yourself Autobiography in 201 Questions" by Carl and David Marshall.

Here are a few of the writing prompts from the book:

-This is what we usually did at Thanksgiving.

-I want you to know this about my grandmother(s).

-I want you to know this about my grandfather(s).

-One book that had a very strong impact on me was.

-I am proud of my sibling(s) for this reason.

Here is one of my favorites:

-My predictions for each of my grandchildren are these…

Click to continue »

The Natural Approach to Oral History Interviews Part 1

"The Natural Approach to Oral History Interviews and the Two Critical Questions You Must ALWAYS Ask" by Robert Ragan (Part 1)

Back in November 1997, I spent a very special day with my Dad on his pontoon boat. We've spent lots of hours with family riding up and down the St. Johns River in Northeast Florida on that boat (see "Papa’s Boat Day Get-a-Way" page).

That day with fresh batteries and a tape recorder, I sat down to record the story of his life–his oral history. It rained a little bit, we were bumping around the boat, and there were boats passing by making noise, but it didn't matter. It added to the charm of that tape.

Answering those questions and sharing all that information is taxing, so after an hour and a half we started to wind down. But before we stopped, I made SURE that I asked the two most important questions that you should ask when you sit down to do an oral history interview with anyone.

Click to continue »