Editor’s note: Emily will be sharing some posts on a regular basis here at Mormon Women: Who We Are on the topic of family history…with the intent to help all of us do a little to work on our own personal and family histories. Today, we wanted to give her the opportunity to tell a little about herself and about her passion for family history, and tomorrow, we’ll share her first family history help/invitation post.

Mormons are passionate about family history

Hi, my name is Emily. I have been married to my best friend for almost 9 years. Together we have four little boys in our family: an almost 7 year old, a just turned 5 year old, and 2 1/2 year old twins. They are all the lights of our lives, and our greatest challenges too. As a family we love to go camping, hiking, play “sardines”, and ride our bikes around the neighborhood. I love to scrapbook, craft, do photography and read when I get the chance. When I’m in the mood I love to bake as well. I love being a mother and think it’s the best job in the world!

I have always had a love for keeping track of my personal history. When I was 10, my mom gave me my first real journal, which I faithfully wrote in everyd ay. It became a habit for me to record in it every day, minus a few days when I either was too tired or completely forgot. When I was in High School, I started making my first scrapbook–and this was before “scrapbooking” became a hobby per se. It had just plain craft paper that I would tape pictures or random things on. There was no rhyme or reason to it, I just slapped everything in there as I went. When I was in college, scrapbooking was just being introduced into the world as a hobby with cute papers, stickers and decorative scissors. With the little spending money I had, I purchased my first scrapbooking supplies. I faithfully kept up on my journal writing and scrapbooking, because I wanted to be sure that people knew who I was–not in a selfish “I’m better than anyone else” attitude, but with the thought that some day I would love to look back and remember what I was like “back then”, and with a hope that my children would one day love to see who I was in my younger years.

When I became a mother almost 7 years ago, my focus shifted–I only wrote in my journal about my son, and only scrapbooked about him, holidays and family vacations. I did that through 3 more sons (the youngest two are twins), and pretty much left “me” in the dust. I was so busy documenting their lives (which isn’t a bad thing), but I really didn’t take the time to record anything about me. I don’t even have many pictures taken of me in the last 7 years. It makes me kind of sad that my boys will look back through their scrapbooks and see pictures of them and daddy or brothers, but no mom in the picture–just the work done by mom.

The more I thought about this, the more I wished that my grandparents had left something behind about them. They have all passed away, and though both of my grandmother’s kept irregular journals, they were mostly records of what they did that day–no thoughts or feelings or reactions to what was happening in their lives. There aren’t even a lot of pictures of them through the years–I can remember one picture of them as teenagers, one of their weddings, and a handful of them from then on. Granted, film developing was expensive, so I understand the reasons why, but with today’s technology, I really don’t have an excuse to NOT be in pictures, or to NOT record my life or my family’s life.
My parent’s, sadly, have been even worse at keeping track of their personal histories. I gave them “Journal Jars” and brand new journals for Christmas one year, hoping they’d record their histories before it was too late. A few years later, I found their empty journals on the bookshelf. Obviously that wasn’t working.

This last April, one night before going to bed, I was pondering on all of this, and thinking about how I could help my parent’s and sibling record their lives–histories that I would love to have! An idea came to me to give one personal/family history question a week that they could answer on our family blog. Then, I thought, why not make it it’s own blog so other people out there can also benefit from it. I was pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one wanting to help my family and myself get their histories recorded. Since starting the blog (“This is Me” Challenge), I’ve “had” to work on my personal history, and I’m also having my boys respond to the questions. It has been so much fun seeing what they have to say about things! It has also been great to see that others have benefited from this as well, and I feel truly blessed to do this.