J is for Journals


My first years of blogging bound into a book

My first years of blogging bound into a book

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, because if you are a blogger, you are a type of journaler already. This area of family history is really about your descendants, not your ancestors, because finding an ancestor’s journal is pretty awesome, but also pretty rare. I have my grandfather’s journals, but they are merely diaries, meaning I learned what the temperature was, what he bought at the store and what time he got up and went to bed, but I don’t learn anything about him–what he felt, what he believed, what he knew. So I’ve resolved not to let that kind of disappointment come to my descendants–I want them to know me in my own words!

Your journal is your legacy to your posterity. Keep them in mind when you write. I’m not saying leave out the negatives, but I believe mistakes should come with a “lesson learned.” Anyone want to weigh in here with a different opinion?

So here’s a few journaling ideas:

*Don’t think about what you write—just write!

 *Write like you are telling a story, not an English essay.

 *Write every day. The more you write, the more memories will come!

 *Think about places in your home and write about specific memories in specific places.

 *Use your 5 senses–describe what you smelled, ate, touched, saw, heard.

Family Vignette

I started blogging in 2008 and by 2011 I had enough blog posts to warrant sending them in to Blurb.com where they were bound into a rather nice quality book (see photo above). I also have hand-written journals from many years that I’ve toyed with the idea of typing out and having bound, but they may need some editing…

My hope is that my children and grandchildren will be able to refer to these when I am gone and gain inspiration and encouragement from my life and the lessons I can pass on to them. Throughout my journals, I try to testify of my love for God and His Son, and the knowledge I have of His influence in my life.

Here’s an excerpt from my entry for January 4, 2001:

What a wonderful holiday season! D & R arrived safely on December 16th after several flight delays and cancellations. We have enjoyed having them here for three weeks–they go back to school this Saturday. B&G took the bus up from NYC on the 21st; the house was full–of love and joy as well as bodies! We all tried to emphasize homemade gifts this year and it was quite successful: D made cds of each person’s favorite music; B did decoupage, V and I crocheted items, Gramma sewed and knitted. I made a canopy bed for V out of ribbons. We transferred her into it while she slept Christmas Eve and she woke up as if in a princess bed!

We enjoy a multitude of blessings daily. We are especially grateful for divine protection for Rich as he drives the back roads for two hours each day in his commute. He has been protected from collisions with deer, dogs and icy roads many times.

Happy Journaling!

related links:




Over at ExcuseMeWhileIYogini you’ll find a great description of the difference between a diary and a journal.

Part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge


About Gail

Genealogist, librarian, writer, traveler, Mormon
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, Books, Family, Genealogy & Family History, Life Lessons, Synchronicity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to J is for Journals

  1. wordstock16 says:

    Great post with lots to ponder. I used to do diaries as a youngster and had a journal for years but no longer do that. I think that the blogging I do on family history probably contains more of my personality than is probably necessary but going forward, no one is going to wonder who I was. It’s all out there.


  2. Sammy D. says:

    We are fortunate that it has become much easier and affordable to make bound books for our families. I’ve done a couple for my grandkids about their early years, and am ready to do another one now that my grandson has hit “double digits”.

    As for keeping journals,it is a pain to take time for daily or weekly thoughts and jottings, but it triggers such amazing, detailed memories when we thumb through the ones from years past.

    You are creating your own legacy and passing it on; that is such a gift.

  3. knace says:

    I’ve been feeling completely unmotivated to write lately and this was a nice little pep talk, as writing for my future descendants was the original reason I started my blog. I didn’t know about Blurb.com either. Going to check it out. =)

  4. seeker says:

    Thanks for the pingbacks. How did you print and bound your blogs? Did you write something about this? It’s an excellent idea.

  5. susan says:

    thanks for stopping at my blog – you have a wonderful family (yes I know you know I’m just saying)

  6. I’ve always thought the idea of keeping a journal to be a lovely one, but it’s not something I’ve ever been able to get into myself. It’s looking like any future relatives will have to try and puzzle me out from my blog. I think it’s wonderful that you keep one for your descendents. I’m sure they’ll treasure it. 🙂

  7. I need to sit down with my mother and write down more of her family stories. They will be lost after she passes away, otherwise.

  8. Marie Abanga says:

    Gail, it sure is easy for you to keep a journal and I am jealous. A great post indeed!

  9. Maria Dunn says:

    I so agree with you, Gail. I have an 85 year old friend who I’ve been trying to encourage to write down his stories for his posterity. I love listening to his history and he has so much to share that will just be lost if he doesn’t get it down. Journaling is that way of passing down our story to those who follow so they too know from whence they come. You have a knack for it. I love reading your family vignettes and am learning from you how to do a better job of it myself. Thanks. Maria from “http://delightdirectedliving.blogspot.com/”

  10. WOW! This is great! I might follow your idea. Lovely way of keeping memories.

  11. Great tips on journaling! I tend to journal binge and get burned out after a month or so. Rather than journaling when I feel so inclined and inspired, I’ve forced myself to write XX pages a day and the appeal is quickly lost!

    I’m enjoying your posts throughout the challenge! So great to meet other bloggers along the way!! 🙂

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