Who is this book for?

Do you have a box full of old photos and no idea what to with them? How about an intriguing family story that has never been verified or documented? Or keepsakes that might be confused for trash when you die?

I wrote this book to encourage and help you — yes, you! — to tell your family stories; even — especially! — if you are not a genealogist, or a photo organizer, or a writer.

Each part of the book includes the following sections (and more):

WHY: Why tell your stories? Why add photos to them? Why learn more about your family history? Why leave a legacy, not a burden?

HOW: These sections offer specific actions for you to take, depending on your desired goals and how much effort you want to put into meeting them.

PHOTO STORIES: I’ve included some of my own family photos, and the stories behind them, to inspire you to tell YOUR stories. The first one, about my bathing beauty grandma on the cover of this book, is the longest. The rest are quite short. Your stories can be as long, or as short, as you like!

Here’s how YOU can participate in creating YOUR family legacy:

Low effort (Do this if nothing else.)

Why not give a copy of this book to the historian, genealogist, photo keeper, or storyteller in your family? If you read it first, you’ll surely gain a greater appreciation of these family members and perhaps find ways to help them preserve and share your family legacy.

Medium effort (Your family will thank you.)

Take action on some of the ideas you find in this book and share your progress and results with your family!

High effort (Ask for help if you need it.)

Each section of the book contains helpful resources, and Part 5 will help you become even more resourceful! When I search for something online, I most often use Google (search engine) on Firefox or Safari (web browsers). But feel free to use whatever search engine(s) and web browser(s) you prefer!

As you read, you may find yourself thinking:

But, what if I’m not:

  • a photo organizer?
  • a genealogist?
  • a writer?

What if nobody’s interested in my stories, or my genealogy research, or my things? Then what?

Trust me. I’ve worked with clients as a residential professional organizer for 15+ years (continuously); as a genealogy researcher for 30+ years (off and on); as a blogger and author; and as a member of various local and national organizing, genealogy, and historical associations and societies. And I’ve never met a person who didn’t have a story worth telling. Everyone has a story and this book will help you tell yours!

There are lots of easy ways for you to tell your family stories (Part 1) and enhance your stories with photos (Part 2). If you get curious, you can dig deeper roots and climb higher into the branches of your family tree by learning more about your ancestry (Part 3). While you’re at it, why not declutter, downsize, and tell the stories of your prized possessions, too, so you can leave a legacy, not a burden (Part 4)?

We’ll start with one of my own family stories. Don’t worry; yours don’t have to be as lengthy as this one, and the rest of the Photo Stories in this book are much shorter!