Sharing Your Story: Autobiography


All of us work so hard to find the stories of our ancestors and it is so exciting when we find a great story of our great grandfather. In times to come, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will want to have our story. So… what are we going to do about that? I suggest that we take a few moments and write out our life story for them.

This does not have to be terribly difficult. You will want to start with some basics: your full names, birthplace and birth date and then move ahead. Start with your earliest memory and work your way forward. Where did you go to school? Did you like school? What was your favorite subject? When you were young what did you want to be when you grew up?

Who was your best friend and what type of games did you like to play? Did you like sports? Were you shy or outgoing?

Who was your first boyfriend/girlfriend? How did you meet them? How old were you when you first started dating? How did you meet your husband/wife? When you had your children, what were your thoughts about this new chapter in your life?

What jobs did you work at over your lifetime? What did you like or dislike about them? Did you belong to any civic organizations? Where did you attend church?

Did you serve in the military? What branch? What job did you have in the military and what rank did you obtain? Where were you stationed? Did you like it there?

You could start a timeline listing each year starting with your birth. Fill in something for each year. For instance, I was born in 1946. I had a brother born in 1948 (even though I cannot remember this, it did occur). In 1950, my father was recalled to the military for the Korean War. This impacted the family greatly and when I get to this part of my story, I will explain how.

You should have a good idea of how to go about this process by now. I have offered a bunch of suggested topics. There is no right or wrong way to write your story. Make it as long or as short as you like.

Your children and grandchildren will love you for taking the time to do this. it. In my case, I had never mentioned to my children that I started school in Fontainebleau, France and then spent my Sophomore and Junior year of high school in the Azores. Their comment was MOM!!!!! So now like you, I need to complete this project. You may surprise yourself with the stories that you bring back to life.

To read Janet Walberg’s previous genealogy columns or to delve deeper into her writings and insights for searching out and recording your own family’s genealogy, please go to and visit Janet’s own web page.