How To Keep A History Of Yourself

About 8 months ago, I was reading a book by my ancestor John S. Stucki. He lived in Switzerland and was one of my first ancestors to come to America. The book was his history and was a large part in why I wanted to visit Switzerland so much.

When I got done reading the book, I wondered what stories of me would be remembered in five generations from now. After thinking about it, I realized that I was starting to forget things that happened just five years ago so how would they know about me? So I made a plan.

Since that time I have kept two journals each day. One is a journal that recaps the day’s events. It has been good timing to start one now as I have had some major things happen in the last year. Writing in a journal is a very good practice to keep. It is more than a chronology of your day. As you write, you realize how you can plan your day better and you give yourself a good gauge at how you are doing in your life with your standards and your goals. I felt this as I wrote on my mission, and feel the same way now as I have restarted the habit.

The other journal was a new idea for me, and I have enjoyed it just as much. I call it my Memory Journal. I realized that I have already forgotten quite a bit from the first 25 years of my life. If those memories are fading already, I can’t imagine what it will be like in 25 more years. That thought scared me.

My memory journal consists of memories that I have never written down but would like to remember. Each day, I think of something to write. Some of my posts have been my first plane ride, the first time that I got in big trouble, the names of my elementary teachers and something they taught me, etc. You’d be surprised at how much comes rolling back when you think about it.

I don’t write really long entries, but I put enough detail in there so that I will remember it when I’m fifty. And I write as if someone is reading it for the first time. It should be clear enough to give them the story, but not too long to bore them.

To write these journals, I use a program called MacJournal. It is free and makes it very simple to keep a daily digest. If you don’t have a Mac, you can use a plain word document.

I keep a good backup of my computers, but also I print the full document out every two weeks so I am sure to not lose any of it.

One final tip would be to find a way to remind yourself each day. Personally, I don’t like to have too many emails in my inbox so I have an email sent to me each day and my rule is that I can’t erase it until I have written the entries. To do this, I use a cron job, but you can use iCal or a free online service like They’ll send you an email every day at the same time.

If emailing isn’t a daily thing for you, you can try an old fashion way like a rock on your pillow that can’t be moved until you write in it. Or keep your iPod and iTunes collection off limits until you get the writing done.

I hope that your great-great-great grandkids will know that you existed.


  1. I started doing something like this on my mission. I did a day to day and then i did a spiritual journal where I put the inspirations i had that day or really special experiences that i wanted to remember. Stopped writing in it afterwards but then started again as a thing to give to my brother when he goes on his mission. Not too long so he won’t read it but some insites and good stories and good ideas for him to use and learn from. i’ll have to be sure to get it back and keep it for my kids and so on also.

  2. I would love to read your journals because it would be interesting to me to see your view. I have kept one going most of my life too…I also still have the journal I still keep on MY KIDS (you!)

  3. I have received alot of emails about this topic, and a lot of them are in line with these two comments. Most people keep somewhat of a journal.

    From what I’ve received because of this post, I’d feel safe to assume that anyone who writes in a journal would be able to double their efforts and get much more then what they are getting now. There are alot of thoughts, memories and experiences that never get written down.

    Writing in a journal is always good, but keeping a regular schedule is what is the most restorative for me.

  4. I love writing in a journal too. How do you think of things to write about everyday in your memory journal? Back when I was consistently writing in my journal everyday, it was weird how I would think in these clear, perfect sentance thoughts, almost as if I was thinking about my day in terms of how I was going to write it in my journal. Is that weird? Thanks for reminding me of how much I love doing that. I will get my journal out right now and write something in it wince it has been so long.

  5. Rachel that is a good question. Once you start making it a point to write down your memories, they seem to come throughout your normal day. Maybe I’ll see something or someone in a day and that reminds me of a memory. When that happens, I use my phone to email myself. I always have to record it somewhere or I’ll forget.

    just put a contact in your phone called note and put in your own email address. Then, write a text message to “note”. Or, if you can do it the old fashion was and write it down on a piece of paper to write about later.

  6. I am also a decendant of John S. Stucki, or rather my husband is, and recently read his journal. It is out of print and I would like to have them reprint it or find another copy somewhere. Do you have any suggestions?

  7. Hey Brian & Candace, saw your website and found it interesting. You might not know who I am, but I sure know your parents and grandparents, on both sides, the Stucki’s and the Tingeys.

    I just finished my history. I’am thinking about publishing it so my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will know a little of their history.

    Tell your mom, dad, and your grandparents hello for me. Good to see you on the web. Brent Stucki

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