My work in photograph restoration and photograph retouching has led increasingly to different types of people who want their photographs repaired. Many of my customers are studying their own family trees and family histories which led to an interest in my own family history. And it’s just that one thing leads to another….
On my recent visit to Who Do You Think You Are – Live Show, one of the most interesting exhibits I found was Autodotbiography. This is a company set up by Bryher Scudamore (for many years the producer of the TV programme That’s Life with Esther Rantzen) who wanted to make writing your own autobiography as easy as possible, having realised how little she knew of her ancestors.
For a single cost you have access to the Autodotbiography website and template of an autobiography structure that Bryher has spent years developing and, when completed, you have a fully bound hard backed book of your own life so far with up to 300 photographs and unlimited words.
To make writing your own autobiography even easier there are lots of pre-written wordings to introduce each section of the book which you can choose from, edit, or just use as inspiration to write your own wording. That’s what struck me first, the fact that the structure is all there, and also it’s just a great trip down memory lane for me with the hard work of the overall structure taken care of. It really couldn’t be easier.
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Since the loss of my own parents, I have often thought how little I really know about them and my grandparents’ earlier lives. It made me realise the value of writing the story of my own life, for my children. The bonus I discovered is that it’s also great fun remembering and documenting everything as you are helped and guided by the series of questions devised for the reason. I know from my own photograph restoration and photograph retouching customers, that many of them think no one will be interested in their old photographs and stories as well as memories of the past but, believe me, as you get older your interest in earlier times increases dramatically. Photograph restoration and photograph repair as well as photo retouching can make virtually every photograph so much more enjoyable.
I have a photograph of my grandparents that I have restored and am really fond of. It’s on my study wall and I look at it and enjoy it every single day.
All I know about the photograph is what someone had made the time to scribble on the back “Isle of Man, 1910”, five years before my mother was born. I would love to know more about their lives at that time and now, of course, I will never know.
Writing your own autobiography is something you really should consider so that your descendants and family will know about your life and times. So now that I have started writing my own autobiography, I’m finding it really good fun. Autodotbiography has made it very simple by creating a template of the different stages of your life – earliest memories, schools, jobs, family life etc. – They have created a vast series of questions which act as a memory joggers. I am really enjoying remembering all the times and events that these questions uncover. Because each section of the book you’re creating is clearly separated, it’s easy to add any information to any section, whenever you remember something new.
You can also add your restored photographs, school reports, birth certificates and any other important photographs and documents as well as your family tree information. So you can make it your family photograph album too by adding all your favourite photographs with descriptions. This will very soon become a valuable family heirloom!
With Father’s Day just around the corner, it is often difficult to find a special present for fathers and grandfathers. So, get together as a family and give your precious dad or granddad an autobiography. What a gift!