Trena Cleland is a personal historian in Eugene who helps individuals and families write life stories, compile family histories, create legacy books, and more.

She offers these topics to help get the gears of your memory in motion.

Ethnic identity, ancestry, heritage

Where did your ancestors come from? How, when and why did they emigrate to the United States?

What do you remember about your grandparents?

What were your parents like? Describe each of them.

What were some of the prevailing attitudes and beliefs in your family?

Home and family life

Describe your childhood home and neighborhood.

Who was in your household, including pets? What do you remember about your toys and games? Did you have chores?

What were some typical meals (and do you have favorite recipes)? How were holidays celebrated? Did your family go on vacations?


Did you like going to grade school? Any favorite teachers?

How did you get there? What did you wear? Did you take your lunch?

When you were in high school, what was going on in the world?

Did you play sports or an instrument? As a youngster, what were your interests?

Courtship, marriage and children

At what age did you being dating? What did people do on dates?

How did you and your spouse meet?

What did you love most about your spouse when you met? Describe your wedding, if you had one, and the early years of your relationship.

When and where were your children born? How did you choose their names?

Describe the personalities of your children. What are you proud of?

Vocations and avocations

What were some of your early jobs? Which jobs have been the best fit?

Do you have favorite hobbies?

Other memories and reflections

How has the world changed from the time you were a child?

Do you have a spiritual or religious path that is meaningful to you?

What family heirlooms do you possess?

Are there family traditions you would like to see carried on?

Visit for more questions and assistance in recording your personal history.

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