A Lasting Legacy
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Growing up in poverty in England… travelling the world in the Second World War…  missing out on the career he had hoped for and…  finding the love of his life – all treasured memories Doug has left as a lasting legacy for his family.

He has left these unique stories in his own words for generations to come because he chose to capture his personal history in a professional video biography.
There's a growing interest to research and preserve family history. According to Global Industry Analysts, an estimated 84 million people around the world spend anywhere from $1,000 to $18,000 a year in search of their ancestors.
Google “family history” and you get numerous provincial, national and international online sites and libraries to help you find your ancestors: myheritage.com, familyhistory.com, cangenealogy.com, archives.com and one of the most popular, ancestry.com or .ca. Some sites are free and others charge in various ways including monthly fees.
Type in “family history” on YouTube and you get more than 3 million results with everything from step-by-step “how to” research videos to tips on recording your history.
Not only can you search on these sites, some allow you to organize images and information, create an individual timeline for everyone in the tree, upload photos, attach historical records, and record audio.
Or you can dig up your family tree right here in Simcoe County with the help of a genealogist or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Tap into the largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogical records in the world at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah through their online database or visit their local Family History
Centre in Barrie.
You have access to their computers and the centre's consultants can assist with searching archives and some of the family history search sites that charge fees – all free of charge.
Typically people come with a name or the beginning of their family tree and the consultants will sit with them and go over the process and principles of family history research. They'll help them search the online catalogue, census, birth, marriage and other records.
The collection includes more than 2.4
million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals and 3,725 electronic resources.
If they find information that's only currently available on film, it can be borrowed from Utah's centre for $6 and sent to Barrie for six to eight weeks to view.
Approximately 200 cameras are currently digitizing records in more than 45 countries.
Records have been filmed in more than 110 countries, territories, and possessions.
A family history consultant at the Centre, Louise Todd, started her genealogy business, Family History Simplified, in 2009. “It's interesting, enjoyable and I love finding lost people,” she said.
Todd is seeing a rise in popularity of
family history, particularly people looking for their health history and baby boomers realizing it's easier than ever to leave a legacy.
So you've found out that your great-grandfather floated downstream to Canada to escape from the U.S. civil war and your distant aunt baked the best oatmeal cookies in the land. How do you preserve their histories and share their stories with future generations?
With today's technology, there are several ways to pass on great-grandfather's secret to survival and Aunt Martha's secret recipe: you can write a memoir book, record an oral history or even capture the stories on video.
A non-profit organization, Association of Personal Historians (APH), was founded in 1995 and has grown to more than 650 members worldwide who are saving lives one story at a time. Members have backgrounds in fields as varied as journalism, publishing, broadcasting, social work, education, law, medicine and graphic design. The group's vision, quite simply, is a world in which the story of every person, family, community, and organization is recorded and preserved.
If doing it yourself seems a bit daunting – you may not have the time or expertise – there is help locally. Marks in Time offers several services to help you preserve your family history from photo tributes to oral histories to ethical wills on video and video memoirs.
“We sit down with people in the comfort of their homes and record their stories on video, but the process begins before the lights, camera and action”
“I suggest they start looking at old photographs to spark their memories. Consider who's in the picture and the story behind the picture, but also look at what else is in the picture. Maybe the family dog is sleeping on the rug in the background and that conjures up some fond memories or the old stove that always burned the bread.”
Marks in Time meets with clients to discuss what parts of their lives they want to include in the memoir and who they are recording their stories for: family, friends, the public. The client receives a questionnaire focusing on the areas discussed so they can start to organize their memories.
“This gives both of us a good idea of the areas we're going to cover when we begin recording. After the shoot, we scan their photographs and can transfer old film and VHS tape and begin the editing process. This is one of my favourite parts: taking hours of video and weaving together with music and titles to create an HD mini documentary or movie”
“I have over 15 years experience in TV broadcasting producing, shooting and editing features and award-winning documentaries, but producing personal memoirs allows me to focus on what I love: telling people's stories. I enjoy hearing their diverse and interesting tales. We're at risk of losing a generation of stories – a generation that witnessed the first war, the first man on the moon and the first computer. We need to capture these stories and pass them on before they're lost forever.”
Memories are preserved and delivered on DVD or other digital formats in a custom designed case. Depending on the type of memoir: starting with photo tributes and shorter video memoirs to 30 and even 60-minute documentaries; prices range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Clients can also choose to have their photos printed in a beautiful hard cover coffee table book.
“Really the possibilities are endless. We can interview several family members or revisit a childhood home or homeland. We can make the memoir as big or as small as they like, but the important thing is to capture something. 
“I hear many people say, ‘Oh my story's not that interesting,' but their children are interested and they will benefit from having these stories and their wisdom and lessons learned”
Memoirs give people an opportunity to reflect on their lives and this reflection can be therapeutic. Doug wasn't a storyteller, but going through this process opened the vault and he continued to recall and retell his family history. It also allowed Doug to ensure his family knows how much he loves and respects them. In the video, he told his wife she was the love of his life and always would be while she watched off camera with tears in her eyes.
Doug's children and grandchildren pull the DVD out to watch at family gatherings and celebrations. They treasure this lasting legacy that will pass on the spirit and soul of a loved one for future generations.


Judith Banville on May 09, 2013 - 13:58

john on May 08, 2013 - 21:24

Great article that had a personal touch that was very heartfelt and true . Wish I had access to this service for my parents in the past. Memories are all we have left once those close to you are gone and to keep them in in this way for future generations is invaluable.