I wish I had something from my parents that told their story. Sure, I remember a little that they told me as I was growing up. There are old photo albums but they are mostly pictures of people I do not know. Back then there was no easy way to get that information down in a form to pass on for future generations. Technology has changed and we can now record our memories in many forms.
Others have asked about how to put together a book of memories to pass on to their offspring. Some look to gather together many photographs, prints/slides, and others want to tell about the family history, their genealogy as was passed on to them.
In previous articles, we have looked at digitizing old photos and slides. In my opinion, the easiest cloud to place all these digital images in is Google Photos. (see the article on Where Are My Photos) Instead, you could have them in your OneDrive, DropBox, or even Amazon Prime cloud.
As I take pictures with my cell phone, they are automatically uploaded to my Google Photos cloud. I have also written about using a phone app to take those old photo albums with multiple pictures on one page and turn them into individual digital images. (see the article on How To Scan Old Photo Albums…)
Once they are in Google Photos it is easy to organize them into albums and share those albums with many others. You can even create photo books from your images and have them shipped to each of your family members.
That is great for getting the images out there but what about that family history?
Using a word processing program like Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, Google Docs, or others, you can write your memoirs and include some or all of the images as well.
You can even utilize the speech-to-text feature available in some of those applications to save your fingers from that great volume of typing. (see the article on How To Let Your Computer Do The Typing)
So now you have ways to share all your images electronically, print a book containing some of your images, and write your family history with pictures included within the text. But how do you get that final work out to others?
One approach is to use one of the many self-publishing companies out there. I like to use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). All I have to do is create my book with pictures and save it as a PDF. I upload the file to KDP and choose a cover and, bada-boom, I have a published book.
On Amazon, I can make it available as a printed book or as an eBook on Kindle. And it does not cost anything upfront. After it is published, I can purchase copies for myself at cost and mail them to each of my family members. I never have to release it to the public.
Creating a PDF is easy. You can use any word processing program. Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, Google Docs, or any other will do just fine. When you are finished, simply choose the Microsoft Print to PDF printer to generate the file to upload to your publishing site.
What if I don’t want to have it listed on Amazon or any other bookstore? Now that you have the book in PDF form you can upload it to your OneDrive or DropBox account. Then just share the file in OneDrive or Dropbox and it will create a link for anyone who has it to view and download the file.
What about email? The file is probably too large to send as an attachment but you can easily send the link to the file in an email or even in a private post on your Facebook page.
Another solution is to save the PDF on a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. Make one for each of your family members and US Mail it to them.
There is no one way to get your memories down in a form for future generations to know who you were. Now is a good day to get started.