Back to Back Issues Page
Memoir Musings, Issue #107--October issue--Family History Month & Halloween Memories
October 26, 2008

Welcome to Memoir Musings

Welcome to Memoir Musings, your newsletter from Extraordinary Lives. Our goal is to inform and inspire you to save your family stories.

If you enjoy the newsletter, please forward it to family and friends who might enjoy it too.

Enjoy your memoir journey!

Newsletter Contents

Family History Month

How-To Tip: Ten Family History Projects

What's New: Life Story Writing Workshops

Memory Prompt: Halloween

Family History MonthFamily History Month

The U.S. Senate has once again declared October as Family History Month. I looked up the original resolution from 2003, written by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.

The following three passages caught my eye:

  • Whereas the study of family history gives individuals a sense of their heritage and a sense of responsibility in carrying out a legacy that their ancestors began;
  • Whereas as individuals learn about their ancestors who worked so hard and sacrificed so much, their commitment to honor their ancestors' memory by doing good is increased;
  • Whereas to encourage family history research, education, and the sharing of knowledge is to renew the commitment to the concept of home and family;

People often ask, “Why would anyone do a personal or family history?” Senator Hatch stated it well: heritage, responsibility, honor, and commitment. His phrase, “Renew the commitment to the concept of home and family,” adds a new dimension to the list of reasons for creating a family history. It is easy to see that commissioning a memoir is a significant honor to the storyteller. That the same memoir project is also a renewed commitment to family is a remarkable extension. It is a strong signal to all family members that the experiences, choices, beliefs, and emotions of one generation matter greatly to other generations.

I tried to figure out what other actions or gifts send so strong a message within a family. My list so far:

  • Hosting and/or attending family reunions
  • Naming a child after an older family member
  • Maintaining family traditions for their own sake
  • Spending time with all living generations, listening and asking
  • Lovingly maintaining a family-held home or business

While the rich colors of October and Family History Month, surround us, I hope you join me in thinking about other ways to strengthen and demonstrate commitment to family. I want my family to know that I treasure the many idiosyncrasies of the individuals and the warmth and richness of the collective.

How-To-Tip: Ten Family History Projects How To Tip Toolbox

The “sister industry” to Personal History services is undoubtedly the Genealogy industry. Some digging within that industry’s media revealed a nice list of project possibilities for celebrating Family History Month.

According to genealogy pro Kimberly Powell at, here are ten possibilities (some will sound familiar to regular readers of Memoir Musings):

  1. Create a family tree chart
  2. Create a family cookbook
  3. Record family stories (thanks, Kimberly!)
  4. Uncover family health history
  5. Take a trip to family sites—old homesteads, churches, cemeteries, etc.
  6. Scrapbook your family heritage
  7. Start a family web site or blog
  8. Preserve family photos
  9. Introduce children to genealogy through games and such
  10. Craft and give a heritage gift—something related to the history of your family or an individual ancestor

A nice list to ponder, especially with holidays coming up!

What's New at

Extraordinary Lives web site

Visit and check out our Life Story Writing Workshops. These six-week workshops are a perfect way to gain the basic skills and confidence to write your memoir.

Life Story Workshops

Monthly Memory Prompt: Halloween Traditions

memory prompt

In addition to the serious business of Family History Month, October brings the humor, tricks and treats of Halloween. In my neighborhood, it is a huge deal, more like a 400-house street party with props, music, grill-outs, fire pits and incredibly complex pumpkins. My husband's and youngest daughter's are always a treat. I can remember one year, they gave Becky's pumpkin braces, just like her!

How did your childhood Halloween look, compared to those of your children? Compare:

  • Costumes--inspiration and source
  • Your best/favorite costume
  • Age for trick-or-treating
  • Trick-or-treat bag or container
  • Traditions for picking & carving pumpkins
  • Best pumpkin carving you recall
  • Other decorations (boy, things have changed here!)
  • Typical & favorite treats
  • Scares along the way
  • Trick-or-treat practices in your neighborhood
  • Party traditions
  • School traditions
  • If you didn't or don't celebrate Halloween, what prompted that decision? Is something celebrated in its place? Is it difficult for the children?

Thank you for subscribing to Memoir Musings. Please email or call 513.385.1637 with any questions or suggestions.

Send us an Email


If someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you'd like to subscribe for future issues, click on the link below:

Subscribe to Memoir Musings


Back to Back Issues Page

Back to Back Issues Page