The Blog

The Value of a Personal Historian, by Dan Curtis

If you’re thinking of hiring a personal historian, keep reading.  If you’re a practicing personal historian, remember that potential clients don’t really care what you do. What they care about are the benefits they’ll get from hiring you.  I must admit that I sometimes forget this fact.  So as a reminder to myself and to anyone else who needs a prompt about the benefits -  here are five important ones. Can you think of more? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

1. Your story will get told. This is the most important benefit of all. Countless times  people have told me that they started working on their life story or that of a family member but never seemed to be able to get it finished. Hiring a personal historian means the work will get done on time and in a professional manner.

2. It’s more fun.
Let’s face it, sitting alone with a blank computer screen or piece of paper and waiting for inspiration to strike can be daunting. We are by nature conversationalists. Sitting with a personal historian who is a skilled interviewer and empathetic listener makes telling your story an enjoyable experience.

3. Your story will be richer in detail. Because of the familiarity with your own story, you can easily miss details that others would find fascinating. You need a personal historian who is fresh to your story and has the skill to bring out the richness of your life’s journey.

4. A personal historian relieves you of the burden of  producing your film. Putting together a life story is an overwhelming undertaking for most people. From start to finish it requires a set of skills  that include – interviewing, editing, research, photo enhancement, design and layout, and printing.  A personal historian takes on these production tasks  and ensures that all are handled professionally.

5. A personal historian has the time. Are you someone who simply can’t find enough hours in a day to devote to working on your own story or that of a family member? Hiring a personal historian relieves you of the guilt of not putting in the time you need to get your life story or that of a family member told.

Thank you to personal historian Dan Curtis for this article, which was previously published on his blog. You can learn more about Dan and his work at http://dancurtis.ca.

Personal Historians Take Vegas by Storm

Most people don’t know there’s an association for personal historians. Not only does such an organization exist; it’s actually a thriving group.  And this weekend, the members of the Association of Personal Historians (APH) will convene in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada for their 17th annual conference.

As a personal historian, I can honestly say I love my job. I’ve seen first-hand the power of a personal legacy.  By preserving memories for future generations, we provide insight into the nuts and bolts of a life.  The stories teach future generations what worked, or what didn’t quite work, in our lives. They help us record what makes us tick, what our greatest passions are, and how we want the world to remember us. In addition, personal history preservation connects the generations.  My ancestors’ stories connect me to the past, just as I hope my stories build a bridge to generations yet to come.

Every year, when I’m surrounded by my colleagues at the conference, I am reminded of why I am so passionate about this job. And it brings a smile to my face to see hundreds of colleagues from around the world who share my passion for storytelling and personal history.

I encourage you to visit www.personalhistorians.org to learn more about the APH and the wonderful world of personal historians.

Update 10/23/11:

As a recent attendee of the 17th Annual Conference of the Association of Personal Historians, I think I am correct in saying that what happened at the recent APH Conference will not be staying in Vegas.

We had five wonderful days to listen to top-notch keynote speakers and knowledgeable workshop leaders.  These were rich opportunities for the 180 plus who were present. At the conference, the APH also introduced their new logo and updated website.  It is a valuable resource for everything relating to preserving personal history.

I will be using the knowledge I gained and the extensive networking opportunities with other personal historians to be even better at what I do – namely, helping individuals to effectively tell their life stories.

Save a life, tell your story!

Photo source: http://www.metroscap.com