Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: M is for … Memories, Memoirs and a Headstone

The letter M has proved to be harder than I thought, simply because there are too many choices. Firstly I decided to write about marriages, then that changed to military records, followed by writing about grandpa’s Magarey Medals, and then monumental inscriptions. So as you can see my head has been swarming with M words for the past few weeks.

So after starting and then restarting this post several times, and before I change my mind again, I’m going to write about …


I felt that I couldn’t write about memories without also writing about memoirs along with it, so I’ve combined them for this post.

Memories are something that is personal, they are YOURS, and no-one can take your memories away from you. Remembering a memory can bring back so much feeling and emotion of a time, a place, a moment, a special occasion and more.

While no-one can take away your memories, sadly LIFE can. As we get older and fill our head with useless things like the picking up some milk on the way home, your PIN number or your passwords for websites (ok, no they’re not useless, but you know they’re just day-to-day stuff), some memories get pushed to the back – sometimes to never to return, while others may with something that sparks a trip back to that time.

Earlier this week I spent an afternoon with my 92 year old grandma. I primarily went over to scan a sketch her brother drew of a scene in WWII (but that’s a story for another day), but while I was there out came the photos, and piles of them. But along with the photos, came the stories. It was the story of the dance they were going to, or the dress my grandma was wearing was one that she’d made … and so on.

We must be thankful for memories, not only our own, but those of our older relis as well, as they are an amazing source of information. I wouldn’t have known the significance of the photo of my grandma down at Mount Gambier if she hadn’t told me that that’s where they went for their honeymoon.

Now this brings me to memoirs. No-one should EVER, and by that I really do mean “EVER” discount the value of writing a memoir. And when I say “write a memoir”, I’m not meaning something novel length and covers your entire life from childhood to your later years, but trust me, if you do … in years to come, when your ancestors are researching the family history, you’ll be a favourite ancestor for sure.

A memoir can be a few pages and be remembering an event, or some anecdotal memories which you’ve written down, or it can be something more substantial. As I tell people ANYTHING written down is a bonus, as people don’t know your memories unless you tell (or write) them.

So take a moment and think of a few moment throughout your life that you’d like someone in the future to know about. Have you got them written down, or at least in some digital form (that hopefully can be converted when the technology is surpassed)? Think about it … memories and memoirs are special, so share them.

M is for a HEADSTONE (well technically the MONUMENTAL INSCRIPTION)

And I could do an M post, without including a pikki of the BEST EVER (in my opinion) headstone (or to make it an M word Monumental Inscription) that I’ve ever seen. I did write about this one some time ago on my Genealogy & History News blog, under the title of  Tombstone Tuesday: A Genealogist’s Dream Headstone.

I truly believe everyone should include info like this on their headstones. If you can see from the closeup it has not only the names, maiden names, and dates, but also a whole bunch of extra info including who they were descended from, and the name of the emigrant ancestor and the ship, how special is that?



5 Responses to “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: M is for … Memories, Memoirs and a Headstone”

  1. Marvellous post.

    By blogging you are practising what you preach – writing down your thoughts and memories for future generations.

  2. Alona says:

    Thanks Jill. Yes, I guess a blog can be a little like a public memoir. Ooh, now I wonder technology-wise, how well will a blog last? Hmmm …

  3. Sharon says:

    I rang my Aunty for her 74th birthday this week and was so happy to hear that she has started writing her memoirs (with quite a bit of prompting from me) . Yes, Memories and Memoirs are very important.

  4. Pauleen says:

    Memories are so much part of who we are and bring us both joy and sadness. Writing it all down to share with others and our families is a treasure. An insightful post Alona. I especially liked how your grandmother shared the stories behind the photos.

  5. Catherine says:

    Memories resonate with me SO much Alona… especially because now I’m blogging my memories, and especialy those of past generations which have been passed down orally by my mum, my gorgeous children are delighed and encouraging me to write/ record more. PUFF PUFF PUFF… how many hours are there in a day 🙂 Thanks for another fabulous post.

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