Capturing living memory

Capturing living history — also known as writing — was the subject of one of the sessions given July 29 by nationally known genealogist Curt B. Witcher at the Conference on Family History and Genealogy at BYU.

Mr. Witcher is past president of both the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society and currently manages the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind. He asserts that to be serious about preserving family history for future generations, one must spend consequential time "dealing with living memory through writing."

"I fear that many of us ... focus a lot of our time, energy, talent on researching," he said. "I fear that excitement and zeal ... pushes out any time we have to do writing. I believe that's the second part — the second important part — of us preserving our family history."

After collecting documents, filling out ancestral charts and family group sheets, "we just expect that everyone's going to know how all that fits together," Mr. Witcher observed. "They won't know all the stories that went into you finding that information, and they may not know anything at all about you, if you don't write your story."

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