The Association of Personal Historians

Interest in collection and preservation of individual and family history has increased dramatically in recent years. More people than ever are writing and preserving memories as photographs, tape recordings, scrapbooks, collections of family stories and books. Exploring new technologies such as video cameras, computers, color copies and short-run printing enhance traditional story preservations and develop new methods.

The Association of Personal Historians (APH) is a professional alliance of individuals and businesses whose mission is to assist preserving life stories and memories. Their members have expertise in journalism, non-fiction writing, publishing, genealogy, history, storytelling, gerontology, counseling and video documentary.

If you are writing or thinking about writing your personal or family history, APH offers “coaching” at Lots of examples will help motivate you.

For example, Randy C. Smart of preserves family pictures from oblivion. He offers a new interactive multimedia family album on cross-platform CDs. Another example is Julie McCullough ([email protected]), whose business, Your Story Oral and Family Histories, can help you preserve much of your precious legacy.

High tech memory sharing

“I’ll be sure to send you a copy,” my cousin said about a picture he just took of my family. That was more than five years ago and I still haven’t seen it. My pictures were fine, but I’d love pictures other relatives took. Everyone knows about e-mailing pictures. It’s easy to copy photos and mail them the old fashioned way. But we don’t make time for it.

Create a Video by PhotoVision, is a new product that makes it easy to share and present pictures in an entertaining way. A video with special effects, music and titles is created with pictures. After your reunion, mail your film to PhotoVision. The film is processed, printed and the best pictures are selected for the video.

Video copies are $9.95 each. A single-use camera or roll of film is provided for every ten videos ordered. Price includes film costs, pictures and shipping costs to one person for distribution or, for a fee it is sent to each member’s home. PhotoVision also creates videos from old family pictures and 8mm movies to video transfers. Contact Brenda Grimes, 800-533-7636.

Tips to preserve family documents

A few simple and inexpensive precautions can help preserve your family’s important documents for future generations. Remove paper clips, staples, and rubber bands. Don’t glue, tape, or laminate. Metal fasteners rust, rubber bands lose their elasticity and adhere to paper. Both glue and tape hasten paper deterioration. Glue also attracts insects and lamination may or may not be harmful, but it is almost always irreversible.

Store documents at room temperature. Avoid storing them in rooms like the basement and attic or against outside walls. Extreme heat and dampness speed deterioration. A good rule of thumb is if the temperature and humidity feel good to you, it’s fine for your documents too. Documents are best stored in the dark (flat, acid-free containers). Avoid lengthy displays under damaging fluorescents or direct sunlight. Avoid folding and unfolding important documents. If you’re saving newspapers or clippings, store them separately from other less acidic, documents. If the newspaper or clipping is important for the information it contains rather than as an artifact, photocopy it. A photocopy will hold up much longer than newsprint.

From the Homestead National Monument of America, Beatrice NE.