We all have the dream that we will take beautiful pictures of our family, take great care and place them in elaborate books that our family will pour over for years and years to come. We envision that some day we will sit down and capture all the family stories that our parents have been telling us over and over since we were little. Who could forget those stories, right?
Then — Bam! – one day we look around and one by one our treasured family leaders seem to be shrinking and now recalling those stories gets harder and harder. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? It’s kind of like that old telephone game where you would whisper a sentence into the person’s ear at the beginning of the line and then they would pass it on to the last person. Only when the last person says the sentence, it was ridiculously different than the original line.
Life gets busy and suddenly we find ourselves with stories left untold and photos that no one remembers who they are and to which family they belong. My mother realized that she would not live forever and took it upon herself to put names to her treasured family heritage photos. I want to be that person that inspires you to break down your family history journey into small steps and get those wonderful stories, large and small, written in a beautiful format.
I’m Michele Kerr, and I would like to be your guide as we take a journey into our pasts and leave a legacy for those who follow.
I believe that we can all find strength and comfort in knowing where we come from and taking a look at the interesting twists and turns that we all have taken that brought us to where we are right now. What “stuff” are you made of?
Beginning It’s a Life Story is something that I have felt drawn to for many years, but have just not taken the time to pull it all together until now. I’ve come to a point in my career that I have had to take stock of what I have done and where I want to go in the future.
The twists and turns in my own life have led me to this place, which I love, but the difference this time was that my next chapter hasn’t just been plopped down in front of me. You see, I have pretty much always had my own business since my 2nd child was born, some twenty-two years ago. At the time, it was a no-brainer what I would do to supplement my income while raising our children. It was very easy to transition my full-time position at the time into a business that I ran out of my home and I have never looked back. My path has changed over time from desktop publishing to Creative Memories consultant to bookkeeper/treasurer for my parents’ company to family history researcher to genealogist for The Society of Indiana Pioneers and lineage society research specialist.
The idea of this site has been a long-time coming. Over the years, I have had so many times when fellow researchers and clients have looked me in the eye and asked why I thought that their children were not even a bit interested in looking at their research work. The sadness in their eyes reflected the pain in their hearts that all their work to pass on their family history might be lost, or in the worse-case scenarios, be thrown out in the trash.
This is where I think that I can be helpful and where my background with all its twists and turns has prepared me. I am pulling my computer background, my creative side, and my love for family history and stories together so that we can draw those who follow to actively search out our Life Stories and be excited to share them to family members for generations to come.
Why should anyone be interested in what I have to say? That is always the question and something that I think everyone struggles with. I am a lover of history, passionate about family history in particular, and combining all the work that I have done in the field as well as my computer background, I find myself at a point where I feel like I have a lot to offer those kindred souls that find their way to my site.
Where did the name, It’s a Life Story, come from? Oh, that’s easy! I love to think that each of us is made up of love stories – hundreds if not thousands of them! Our parents were once newly-weds, just starting out , very much in love and looking forward to the future together as one.
My own journey into my family history began some thirteen years ago when our son needed to have a family tree in fourth grade. (In Indiana our children study the state’s history in 4th grade.) It turned out that this little project changed my life forever. Pretty dramatic statement but it’s true. You see, my mother had passed away a year before this family tree project was assigned. When I started to look around the bits and pieces that she had put together over the years, it gave me a great deal of comfort.
It’s hard to put into words how much it meant to me to find those hand-drawn family trees with her handwriting. Somehow I could sense that many had come before me and many would come long after I am gone; it gave me a feeling of a strong foundation.
What is the goal of this site? My youngest daughter, bless her heart, loved to get tucked in at night. In the past few years, they no longer are the long, extended tuck-ins like when she was a young child, but it still is those last few minutes of a usually hectic day when we get that final connection of the day.
It might have only been a year or so ago that she started to ask me to tell her stories of when I was a little girl. I guess that she had gotten tired of our story time with books and made-up stories! Anyway, I can remember thinking, “Me? I don’t have any story-worthy tales that would be interesting for anyone to hear let alone her!” Turns out that I couldn’t have been more wrong if I had tried. She loved hearing about all the little things that I could muster up from my memory. She still asks for some of her favorite stores to be repeated, especially the one in particular where I was quite embarrassed. I won’t go into it; you can read about it here if you’d like. I think that somehow my stories give her a sense that I, too, was a small girl just finding my way and sometimes even making mistakes.
These stories, even my own love story, is something I want my own kids to know about. They have only known me for a little while. I want them to look at our own family love stories and want to pass them on to their own families.
Are you with me? Ready to explore how you can begin your own family research? Or do you have boxes of research and baffled about how you can pull it together into the treasured book that deserves your family’s attention? Let’s get started.
Sign up and let’s start at the beginning and take one step at a time together.