As a filmmaker, one of the aspects of projects that has always brought me the greatest joy is capturing the interesting stories of people before they are no longer able to tell them. About four years ago, I started Storied Legacy for this very purpose – to chronicle families’ life stories. We focus on capturing, preserving, and presenting the narratives and values that are most important in our communities and that expand the domain of what will be remembered.

Storied Legacy started with the goal of putting these “legacy assets” into videos and putting those videos into archival websites, beginning with digital transfers.

Here are a few pointers on ways to get started and how to make this more fun than it might seem at first:

  1. Open Pandora’s Box! Take a pad of paper and start making a list of what you have, even if it’s not a complete list. Make notes of anything else that comes to mind, generally. What do you think would be fun to do with all this stuff?
  2. Prioritize. Since the first big step should be getting things transferred to digital formats, you might want to know what is most valuable to get transferred. Maybe everything is high priority and that’s okay.
  3. Digitize. Go ahead and find a service (or two) that will transfer your assets. Make sure it’s someone who will stand by their work, so that your important stuff is not lost forever if they make a mistake.
  4. Have a family party! We’ve found that the most difficult aspect of all this is curation — figuring out what is what and identifying all these people who keep cropping up.

Read the full article about archiving and preserving your family legacy by Wil Weldon at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.