by Tiffany Pankau
When I think of writing a family history book I have to look for sources. Those sources can come from many different places but the best place is if someone, like one of great-grandmothers, left journals....tons of journals. Journals give us loads of information. In my great-grandmothers case she started journaling when she was young, about 15 years old, and they continued until she died when she was 92. Sometimes her journal entries were long and detailed, always including the weather and other times short and sweet... you know just tellin' what the weather was. She included when people were born, her testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the weather (as I mentioned before), her troubles with the wash, when the kids were sick, when family members were quarreling and many more things. All these entries give me a sense of her life and make it easier to write a book about her if I so desired. Do they tell the whole story of her life? No, since its all in her point of view but it can help me get a clearer picture of all that is happening in the time she lived and of those around her. As I piece together her life and those around her I can write a wonderful life history of her.
Spencer W. Kimball said, "I promise that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us and as our posterity reads of our life's experiences, they too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted."
As I said before most of us are already writing our family journals in our blog posts and facebook status', but what a wonderful treasure journals, and blog posts and facebook status' are. Did my great-grandmother know how awesome her journals would be to our family? Did she realize that by reading her journal someone could learn to know her and love her even without knowing her in this life? Do YOU realize that your posterity will treasure the things you write... even if we are just writing journals, or if we are self published writers, or published by a large or small publishing house, or even if we are never published?
Part of the reason we write books, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, is that we can give something great and positive to the world. That we can have a positive influence in the world and those around us. Writing in a journal can help with writers block, it can increase your understanding of the things in your life, and it can give you peace as we work toward writing other things, and it gives us time to step back and enjoy writing the things of our souls.
So if you keep a journal keep it up... if you don't start now and then enjoy the blessings that can come from it.