The Family History Help & Product Review Newsletter 

Tools, Toy & Inspiration  for Family Historians

Michael BoyterWelcome to this issue of Family History Help & Product Review Newsletter.  I hope that it find you in good health and spirits. 

I apologize for the length of time, that has passed, between the last issue of this newsletter and this one.  The last month has been very hectic.  I am getting ready to head to the Middle East for an extended period of time and, as one could imagine, I've had many family and business things to put in order.

The issues, over the next four months, may be a bit shorter than normal.  This will only be because of the time constraints put on me while in that region.  But upon my return, look for a return to the normal issue length and content.

I depart tonight (Saturday) and will be gone for four months.  It will take about a week to get to where I am going, so I may not be too quick in returning your e-mail this week.  

I wish to especially welcome all of our newest subscribers. I am Michael Boyter, publisher of this newsletter. Your input, feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Send them to:

I have another exciting issue for you, but....

... before you dig in -- please do your friends and family a favor and forward them a copy of this newsletter/e-mail or send them this link so they can subscribe:

"Your Life Changing Event" is this issue's feature article.  It really puts life story writing into perspective. It was written especially for this newsletter, by Tom Gilbert of .  

Family History CD is a brand new product that I've added to the Web site.  Be sure to read about it in this issue.

News and Happenings


Publicity!  Memorygrabber and received a mention in the August issue of Personal Journaling Magazine.  It is listed in the resource section for journal writers.  I was very excited to see it!  If you haven't read this magazine before, I recommend looking for it on your local newstand,

 MerchandiseShirts, bags, coffee cups  and more are now available with the logo.  They are great for striking up family history conversations or for family reunions.  Let 'em know where your passion lies.  

Back of shirt reads "A Story Forgotten Can Never Be Retold". Take a look at all of the items.  



In This Issue....

Article: Your Life Changing Event

New Product: Family History CD;    

Life Story Writing Exercise: Important Dates and Events 

"We cannot control the length of our life, but we can have something to say about its width and depth."


Feature Article

Your Life Changing Event

Written by Tom Gilbert


Something has happened in your life that is shaping everything you are and do.


If that is not true in your life then it just hasn’t happened yet.  It’s inevitable that at some point in this journey we call life there will be a life changing event.  It may be your marriage, or the birth of your first child.  Perhaps it will be overcoming some great trial, like a serious illness or life-threatening addiction.  For many it is the loss of a loved one, through death or separation.  Often it is the experience that brings you to a faith in God, or that “something bigger” than all of us.


You may be thinking, “Well, that’s true, but actually I’ve had more than one such life changing event.”  Great!  Not, “great” in the sense of celebration if any of these events were painful and traumatic, but “great” in the broader appreciation that such events have for stretching us and helping us to experience the fullness of life.  You see, we experience that fullness even through loss. 


One of the valuable reasons for preserving your life story is because in the process you will confront these life changing experiences.  You will discover how they affect your beliefs, your actions and the way you view life.  Sometimes returning to these memories helps you grow.  This can be especially beneficial if any of the events in your past are holding you back from truly living life to the fullest.


Not only do you owe yourself the benefit of knowing what has most impacted your life.  You really have an obligation to share that with others.  We are not meant to live in isolation.  Each of us has something to contribute to others.  You may never make world history, be famous or rich or any of the other things the world often tells us are important.  However, if your children, your parents, your spouse, siblings, relatives, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers are deprived of any beneficial lessons from your time on the planet then it is a loss for all of us.


Testimonies of faith and stories of life’s great adventure are of interest to everyone. You know this is true.  Just visit any bookstore and notice the huge number of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs.  Keep track of all the movies and television programs that focus on someone’s life story.  Open up one of the most influential books in all of civilization, the Bible, and observe how much is devoted to the telling of various individuals’ struggles and triumphs.


When you decide to record family history, write your life story or help someone else do the same you should always attempt to capture the essence of life changing events. Be open and honest with yourself or your interview subject.  Certainly be sensitive.  The greatest drama in life is there.  Our best life lessons are learned from hearing, seeing or reading these stories.


Tom Gilbert is a writer and his web site, is dedicated to helping others preserve their life story.  Discover the various ways you can do this, from writing to video, oral history to journaling.

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother."

Theodore Hesburgh   


New Products at

Family History CD Software          

A brand new software package made especially for distributing family histories

Do you have family history files on your computer? (Photos, documents, audio, video, PAF and so on). 

Don't know how to distribute them to family and friends for easy viewing? 

Family History CD will help you quickly organize them into a multimedia CD-ROM for easy and inexpensive distribution, and will actually burn the CD for you. The CD runs automatically when inserted into the computer. 

You design your own custom front page with buttons that link to your files. Any file type can be used, and special accommodations are made for pictures (slide shows and more) and PDF files

You and your family will be able to create these lasting memories with minimal computer expertise

Pictures can be imported quickly using the drag-and-drop features. 

Full list of features

If you are like me, you probably have family history documents in various places in your home.  I have family pictures in many parts of my home.  Many are scanned and on my hard drive, while others are still in boxes and picture albums.  

Family History CD ties everything together.


Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something
stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we
might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."
-- Earl Nightingale

Life Story Writing Exercise

List creating is a powerful, yet easy way to keep a journal, write about your life or whatever you wish to call it.

In this writing exercise, I'm asking you to write a list using the following prompt:


List dates that are important and have meaning in your life.

For me, there are dates that will not pass without me recalling an event from the past that  occurred on that particular date.  In this exercise, include typical dates such as birthdays and anniversaries, but go beyond those. 

If you think hard on it, many dates should come to mind.  Here are examples from my own life. 

August 20th 1986 - Wedding Anniversary

August 21st 1985 - Returned home from Church mission in Venezuela

16 May 1986 - Started military basic training

January 10th 1989 - Became father for the first time

November 4th 1986 - Grandma died

Along with each date, comes a memory and a story to tell.  How did that date change your life?  What were the details of that day.  What was the current situation in the family, at the time?    

There are many more dates on my list that I've created.  More are sure to be included, at a later date. 

The best way that I've found to keep track of all of these dates, is by plotting them right into a calendar program like Family Picture Calendar



Tools & Toys for the Family Historian

There is more than one way to preserve your family history/stories. At, I am continually adding new "tools and toys" to help you get the job done.  My objective is to make the information gathering process easier, quicker and way more enjoyable!

The Journal Considered, by many, to be the best journal writing software available anywhere. Combine your typed text, family pictures, sound to a highly organized way to gather together your personal and family memories. Try it F*ree for 45 days!   Memorygrabber is built-in to this newest version!.   

Memorygrabber - An unrivaled fill-in-the-answer life story workbook and life story interview "script". Nearly 900 memory prompts, lists, activities and web resources. Trial Download 




Home Video DVD Cookbook - Turn those dusty family video tapes into a brilliant family DVD library. Trial Download





Family Picture Calendar Box GraphicFamily Picture Calendar - Get rid of those generic calendars on your wall and replace it with your "official" family calendar. Distribute to family via e-mail. Trial Download 



All They'll Need to Know - Record and preserve vital information your family will need to know, when you aren't there to give it to them.





Well, that's all for this issue of the newsletter. Please submit comments, feedback and suggestion to

Until next time, keep preserving those memories, because it's work that needs to be done, it's enjoyable and above all else, it's worth it!

I wish you and your family the best.


Best Regards,

Michael R. Boyter,

P.S. Please remember to forward this e-mail to anyone you know that values the family and the memories they create.


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.