Examples of Family Stories

When Writing Your Life Story Don't Forget Your Family

By definition your autobiography is about you, but don't hog all the spotlight. Don't forget to mention other family members, especially brothers and sisters.

If you are reading this, then you are most likely the one in your family that realizes the importance of keeping a personal journal and preserving examples of family stories. Maybe your brother(s) and/or sister(s) couldn't care less, at this point.

If this is the case, just know that what you write about them today may be the only thing that their descendants will ever know about them.

I could share with you many great family stories, but here is an example of one that demonstrates my point above.

A True Story. Why Passing Down Family Stories is Important

In the late 1990s, I came across an individual with my same last name of Boyter. As you probably already know, Boyter isn't that common of a name. 

I was 30 years old and, up to that point in my life, I had never crossed paths with a person with my same surname and not known immediately who they were and how we were related.

I was puzzled and intrigued!

On a side note, this gentleman lived only two hours north of where I had grow up and my grandparents didn't know who he was either.

We sat and talked for several hours that day, swapping family information, stories and looking at family photographs. As we talked I couldn't help but notice how his general look and mannerisms reminded me of my grandpa Boyter.

He told a story of his ancestor James Boyter who, in the 1870s, left Scotland and came to the United States with his older brother Alexander.

According to family legend one or both of the brothers found themselves into trouble for hunting on royal property. The story went on that these two, in an attempt to escape the law, fled to the United States.

The brothers eventually went back and brought their mother to the U.S. and became quite skilled masons and built many homes in the southern Utah town in which they settled and became prominent residents. Alexander ended up in Utah after the U.S. Army assigned him there.

I sat and listened as this man told me this story. I kept silent and held my excitement inside until he finished telling the story. I had heard that exact same story countless times at family gatherings all during my childhood. Now here was a complete "stranger" telling me the same story.

I Immediately Knew How We Were Related!

It was a bizarre feeling. It was pretty cool as well. I immediately knew how we were related!

He was excited when I told him that I was a descendant of the older brother Alexander; my great-great grandfather Boyter.

If that story had been lost to my family over the years, I would have regained a knowledge of my great-great grandfather Boyter that day thanks to the diligence of life story preservation of the long line of descendants of James Boyter.

In this case both sides of the family had held on and had perpetuated the story down through the years. This is what I meant when I said that we should not forget to include stories of our siblings and other close family members into our own journals, diaries, autobiographies and life stories.

That which we include in the account of our life story, may make all the difference in the world to your brother or sister's descendants generations from now ... all because you recorded it in your own history!

Strengthen Your Family through Personal and Family History

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