- Right at Home Canada -
Published By Nancy Esson on January 07, 2016

For information, contact:
Nancy Esson, Business Development

B: 705-293-5500

C: 705-333-8849

Do you remember the story of when your grandparents first met? What it was like for them to serve in the war? What about their favorite memories from childhood? What was life like before television or the computer?

Perhaps you are curious about your family history and where you came from, or you want to record the paths of your ancestors as a preservation gift to your own children and grandchildren. Whatever your interest and motivation for completing your family tree, you now have easy-access tools to help you such as Internet sites, how-to books and community family research centers. In genealogy endeavors, one of the best resources is your elderly relatives.

“There are many rewarding benefits of creating an oral and recorded history with your elders,” said Nancy Esson, Business Development and Client Relations at Right At Home Georgian Triangle. “Talking more in depth about family history strengthens bonds between the older and younger generations. Reminiscing and memory sharing are important to the elderly as a way of remaining engaged in life and with family members. As they listen, the children and grandchildren receive an invaluable legacy that they can someday pass on to their own families.”

If you want to help an older loved one share his or her family history and lineage, how do you begin? Esson, suggests the following to secure your family history:

            • Compile what you already know about the family. Collect old photos, family records, letters, diaries, newspaper clippings, videos, notes in family bibles and other recollections that may be sitting in boxes in the basement, closets or attic.

            • Talk with your older relatives. Family reunions and special family gatherings are a natural time to talk in person with ageing family members. Consider setting up a separate time to interview your grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles to capture the oral history of your family. In-person conversations are best, but you can supplement with phone calls, emails and social media (depending on the technology capabilities of your elders).

            • Focus on a conversation, not an inquisition. Avoid rushing your older relatives or pressing them to remember every date and name. Try to ask open-ended questions using phrases such as “Tell me about….” or “What do you remember about…?” or “What was it like when…?” These dialogues may also be a good time to ask about family illnesses or medical conditions to help create a family medical history. 

            • Record the oral history conversations with videos, voice recordings and photographs to help with accuracy and to pass along a voice and visual presentation to future generations.

            • Scan old photographs and historical documents. Ask permission to scan your elder’s family photographs and important documents (birth certificates, newspaper clippings, awards) and make these available to other family members. Also, ask your elders to help identify the people and settings in old photographs and then write these photo details on the back of each photo as a more permanent record.

            • Organize and chart the family history facts. Include each generation’s names, birth, marriage and death dates. It’s easiest to work on the most recent generation and then work backward to fill in the mystery detail gaps. Family tree software programs are available to help. Consider sharing the completed chart with your entire extended family and update every few years.

            • Turn to the Internet. You can simplify your search by visiting websites tied to family history centers throughout the world. Many ancestry websites are free and allow you to search for your relatives, share information about your family history and contact other researchers. Well-established ancestry global sites sort by region of the world including ancestry.com and genealogylinks.net.

            • Benefit from local family search centers and family historical societies. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds the world’s largest collection of genealogical information with more than 4,000 local centers. Visit familysearch.org to find a center nearest you or search their free online ancestry archives.

            • Continue the ancestry journey. You may also want to discover family history records by visiting cemeteries, courthouses, churches, schools and other places that keep historical records. Another source of inspiration is the genealogy documentary TV series Who Do You Think You Are? Airing on the BBC since 2004, the popular series has generated adaptation shows in nearly a dozen countries. Each episode features a celebrity person often traveling the world to trace his or her family tree. The show helps viewers learn how to uncover their own history going back hundreds and hundreds of years.

In the process of working with your older loved ones to compile your family history Esson empathizes, “Focus on the relationship with your ageing relatives, not on perfectly completing the final history chart. It is the people in your life that matter the most and together your life stories are a gift to the generations that will follow you. Enjoy the adventure!”


Right at Home Canada, Georgian Triangle offers both non-medical and medical care to seniors and disabled adults who want to continue to live independently.  Right at Home Canada, Georgian Triangle offers a unique approach to care delivery including a Care Team approach that leads to a higher level of quality and care experience.  Each caregiver is thoroughly screened, trained and insured prior to entering a client’s home.  Right at Home is a global organization with offices in Canada, the United States, China, Brazil, the UK, Ireland, Japan and Australia.  For more information on Right at Home Canada, visit About Right at Home Canada at www.rightathomecanada.com or contact your local office at  13 Ontario Street, Collingwood, Ontario  at Right at Home Canada, Georgian Triangle, 705-293-5500 or by email at nesson@rightathomecanada.com


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