A few years ago, a friend mentioned some interesting findings he read in an article in the Washington Post entitled “Study: Teen’s knowledge of family history a sign of social-emotional health.” As the mom of four teens, I was intrigued enough to learn more. Here’s what I discovered.
In a study about how storytelling helps families function, psychologists from Emory University found that teens who knew more about their personal family history enjoyed a “host of positive outcomes. . .including better measures of self-esteem, a stronger belief in their capacity to control the future, lower levels of anxiety, fewer behavioral problems, more resilience in the event of hardship, better academic performance and better relationships with their parents.”
I don’t know about you, but I want those outcomes for my kids in the difficult world they are trying to navigate these days. So, the real challenge is making family history appealing to a generation adept at tech. One way you can do it by using tech to journal your family history.
Not Your Grandma’s Family History
Remember the good old days when family history meant rummaging through musty boxes looking at outdated records to piece together fragments of family stories? I remember old shoe boxes full of interesting but unmarked photos that were cool to look at but completely void of connecting stories.
These days, however, family history comes alive with advancements in tech and online resources. Not only can you discover details about your family heritage with a few easy clicks, but you can add to your family’s story with online journaling tools.
Here are some things you need to know about where to find the stories you seek, as well as how you can use tech to keep the story going.
Online Family History Resources
According to familytree.com, an online resource for discovering pieces of your family’s puzzle, the Best Free Genealogy and Family History Websites include the following:
In many cases, these online resources not only help you discover new information about your family but allow you to upload information to their sites as well. This includes sharing documents, journal entries, photographs, and more.
Journaling with Tech
Family history is about more than just discovering what’s already out there, though. It’s about contributing to your family history by recording details about yourself, your kids, your parents, and other relatives. Even if you don’t think you’re good at journaling, here are some online tools to help you use tech to journal and record your family history.
Here are a few of the online journals available to help you record your thoughts according to the site Lifehack.com:
With everything from one-word prompts to stream-of-consciousness writing, these sites encourage you to capture your family history for future generations.
But journaling doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. If you’re not great at journaling but love to update your social media accounts regularly, consider publishing your hard work in print form. Sites like chatbooks and jouri can help you get started.
When you’re on the go, you and your kids can also turn to trusted smartphones like those available at Troomi.com. With note and voice recording apps, your family can jot down memories, thoughts, quotes, etc. at a moment’s notice. Each recorded snippet adds content to your tech journaling efforts.
And if writing just isn’t your thing, consider capturing those family stories through video or voice recordings. . Many family history sites allow you to upload audio and video recordings of treasured family memories. Even if you don’t choose to share those gems publicly, they will still be priceless in your family circles.
The Journaling Payoff
Whether you’re naturally interested in family history or want to give your teenage kids (and others) the benefits of lower anxiety, higher performance, and overall stronger relationships, consider adding journaling with tech to your to-do list today!