The generations on either side of me link me to my past and my future. My view of family history involves revealing the roots and the branches.

Throughout this blog you will find perspectives related to the doctrines of temple and family history work from revealed revelation given to living prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS - Mormon).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Writing a Personal History or Keeping a Journal

Photo from LDS Media Library
I love reading my ancestor's personal histories, journal entries, and letters they have written to their posterity. It is frustrating when I can't find any of these materials when researching an ancestor. Trying to piece together the story of their lives from documents like birth, marriage, and death certificates as well as census and newspaper stories is gratifying and yet oftentimes frustrating. I so wish I could read of their life in their own voice; I miss the emotion.

And yet I haven't been very good at keeping my own journal or recording my own personal history. If I don't record something about my memories and my experiences, they will be gone at my death. And what will my posterity think of me? I have spent much of my life researching and documenting my ancestor's lives and yet I have not yet documented my own life. Today, that is going to change.

Spencer W. Kimball
Photo from LDS Media Library
“Your private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity. Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant. Your journal, like most others, will tell of problems as old as the world and how you dealt with them.

“Your journal should contain your true self rather than a picture of you when you are “made up” for a public performance. There is a temptation to paint one’s virtues in rich color and whitewash the vices, but there is also the opposite pitfall of accentuating the negative.

“Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully. You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life.

“What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.

“We hope you will begin as of this date. If you have not already commenced this important duty in your lives, get a good notebook, a good book that will last through time and into eternity for the angels to look upon. Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.
 - President Spencer W. Kimball, “President Kimball Speaks Out On Personal Journals,” New Era, December 1980.

Instead of a notebook, I am going to use the computer. Initially, I am going to use this blog and perhaps in the future I will use other software programs (word documents, notebook programs, etc). I encourage you to join me in this process; to start or begin again. 

To help me document my life, I am going to share some "memory jogging" questions every Monday on this blog and my answer to their questions. One question/topic once a week. Here is today's topic:

What is your full name? 
Why did your parents give you that name?

My full name is Amy Ohms Archibald. My parents named me "Amy" after a song that was written by Bobby Darin and performed by Glenn Yarbrough called "Amy". "Amy, soft as the April snow, Amy, lovely as indigo..." I have indigo colored eyes. They loved Glenn and they still do; they are even his Facebook fans today. Glenn is now 85 years old. My parents did not give any of their daughters middle names because when we got married we could use our maiden name as a middle name. My entire life I wanted a middle name and so did my sisters. Sometimes we would make up our own middle names and write them on our school papers, etc. Because of these feelings I had as a child, I have given my daughter a middle name.

Interested in Digital Journal Solutions? Check out this post:


  1. Count me in! I've been wanting to write in my journal more, and this will help me focus a little better, I think.

  2. Google "online journal". There are some interesting options out there if you don't want to use a paper and pen.