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Telling Your Life Story in Bullet Points

Telling Your Life Story in Bullet Points

Let's face it: Not everyone is a writer or wants to be one. Family history research is fun, but writing pages of results or analysis isn't everyone's cup of tea.

As family historians, we are expected to write about our ancestors. But what about your story? Most genealogists ignore one aspect of family history: telling their own story. Have you gathered records that document your life? Have you written your story?

Numerous books, articles, and webinars can teach you how to write and give you ideas about what to write, whether it's the story of your ancestor or your biography. But not everyone is going to want to write their story. But everyone can write the facts of their life.

Recently, I remembered something that happened at a previous job and realized that although it would interest my kids, they had no idea what jobs I held before their childhood. Like most people, I'm busy, so writing my life story isn't high on my to-do list, but I realized I could at least write out a list of bullet points of the facts of my life so that they would at least have that information should I never get around to writing a more significant life story.

Bullet Points

What would a bullet-point life story look like? It would simply be facts or summary details of experiences. It could be done as a timeline, with facts listed chronologically with dates or years.

Some events that could be included are:

  • Birth date
  • Year started elementary school
  • Year graduated high school (or elementary or middle school)
  • Year of first car and type of car
  • First job
  • Years attended higher education (college, university, trade school)
  • Year married

You get the idea. You can also add historical events that may have impacted you. For example, I remember hearing about President Reagan's assassination attempt when I was in 6th grade. I would want to include historical events that I knew about or impacted me in some way, not historical events that I wasn't aware of. After all, this is the story of your life, not just life in general.

What else could you include? It's really up to you, but you could include family members' names and dates of birth, marriage, or death. Your bullet list doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be, completed in one sitting. Take your time to add to it. It's a living document that will change as you experience new events and remember the old.

Leave something about you for your family to discover. Creating a bullet point list of your life story is an easy way to start.


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.



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I agree totally, Gena. I haven't written anything yet either. Mainly because there are still so many holes in my research (Irish that came to US before 1840) and I'm not a writer. I have put info into my own record, but I'll use your list to double check what I might have missed. Luckily on one front, I worked for the same company for 45 years (different jobs & locations) and only one other. Thanks for the reminder.

From your bullet point list you can develope paragraphs and before you know it you have a fairly good life story. I have done this for several relatives with success.

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