Creating a life journal or a Legacy Biography as we have called it, requires some research, quiet thoughtfulness and perhaps a few chuckles and tears mixed in for good measure. When we start to consider our roots, our family, and how we were influenced by them, we begin to reveal how we are who we are. This is a great time to talk with older family members whether they are parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles to pick their brains about stories that are part of your family history. Pictures, scrapbooks, family reunions, old letters, Facebook connections, and boxes forgotten in the basement will all provide sources for exploring the history of you.

family-history-3MY FATHER

What’s his full name?

What is his date of birth?

Where was he born?

Where did he go to school and how far did he go?

What did he do for a living?

Did he have any hobbies, play any sports?

What do you remember him doing for fun?

Did he have any special skills like painting, singing, athletics, cooking, writing, speaking, carpentry, auto mechanics, wine making, gardening?

When you look in the mirror, how are you reminded of him – your eyes, nose, mouth, hair, habits, sayings, walk, attitude?

What was the most important lesson he taught you?

What did you like most about him?

What was the biggest challenge in your relationship with him?

Where is he now?

What special stories have you heard from other family members about your father when he was a young man?

How did aging affect him?

I wish he had…

I wish I had…


What’s your mother’s maiden name?

When was she born?

Where was she born?

Where did she go to school and how far did she go?

What kind of work did she do before she married?

Did she have a career after marriage? What was it?

What were her hobbies and special interests?

What did she do for fun?

Did she have any special skill and talents – singing, acting, writing, gardening, dancing, baking, jigsaw puzzles, coaching, sports?

When you look at yourself and your life, what did you inherit from your mother – physically, emotionally and perhaps materially?

What was the most important thing you learned from your mother?

What do you appreciate most about her?

What was the biggest challenge in your relationship with your mother?

Did any of the challenges change as you each grew older?

Where is she now?

What special stories have you heard from other family members about your mother when she was a young woman?

How did aging affect her?

I wish she had…

I wish I had…


If you were adopted, what do you know about your birth parents?

What do you know about your parents’ love story – how did they meet, fall in love and get married?

How old were they when they married?

What is the one thing you would change about your parents if you could?

Do you have any siblings – what are their names and dates of birth?

Use one word or phrase to describe each of them as children.

Where do you fit in the order of birth – oldest, youngest, etc?

What words would you use to describe your home life as a child?

I hope you are enjoying this trip down memory lane. It can be challenging to revisit memories of our childhood as it tugs us emotionally but what a wonderful legacy you are creating for people who want to know who you are. If you know someone who should be doing the same thing, please share this series with them.

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