Call to record family histories
Manama, February 3, 2008
People must start documenting their life experiences to help preserve family traditions, according to an American author.
Mary Coons said the modern pace of life means 'parents and children often fail to document important events.'
The writer was speaking at a seminar, entitled 'Reflections of a lifetime: Documenting family stories,' organised by Wide Horizon Event Planning and Management at the Bahrain Society for Engineers auditorium, Juffair.
The event was held under the patronage of Information Minister Jihad Bukamal.
A professional writer for more than 35 years, she has published more than a dozen family stories and histories since coming up with the concept 10 years ago.
During the two-hour session, participants learnt the differences between genealogy, family stories, journaling and pictorial histories, and how they intermix.
The bulk of her speech was devoted to discussing the 10 steps necessary to create family stories.
These include purpose, audience, approach, topics, drawing on memories, documentation, interviewing, filing and journaling, writing and editing stories and publishing the information.
'Preserving family traditions and stories through documentation helps younger people learn more about their older relatives,' Coons pointed out.
'With today's mobile society, adult children and their parents often live great distances from each other.
'Gone are the days when grandparents reminisced about their youth with children and grandchildren, who in turn, orally passed these stories along.'
Coons, who is the founder and international editor of Bahrain Traveller, Bahrain's official monthly tourism magazine published by US-based Pen & Ink Communications, said elderly parents often do not document their stories because they mistakenly think family members would not be interested.
'Actually, in my experience, it's the adult children who want their parents to record their memories so these timeless accounts will not be lost when the older relatives pass away,' she said.
'It's basically the adult children who pool their money together and do this as an anniversary or Christmas gift so that their parents will document their early years.
'Preserving stories means honouring individual lives, experiences and your relationships. It means celebrating the joys and treasured memories as well as passing down the hard-earned lessons and individual struggles.'
Coon's family history service is not limited to families and can also encompass the history of organisations, churches, community and businesses, celebrating milestone anniversaries.-TradeArabia News Service