PictureFrances Amos (nee Delderfield).
I love to share the stories about our family with my nieces and nephews. The challenge I’ve found is that they don’t always believe they’ll find anything interesting. This year, I was able to visit my brother in California and my other brother in central Manitoba. During both
visits, I was able to share family stories but I was surprised at how the opportunities arose. My sister’s kids had a school assignment about family trees, so there was another chance. 
One of my nephews is very young and I got the chance to babysit one night while I was there. That meant I got to tell a bedtime story. As both of my brothers are extraordinary story-tellers, they don’t always use books so I was feeling quite a bit of pressure! Then I realized I didn’t need to make up a story, I could just use part of our family history. I told him about Jabez and his family, including his daughter Frances (pictured above), and how they used to live in England which was far, far away and then they came to Canada on a big ship that took a long time to sail. I went on about the people but you get the point.

PictureWilfrid George and Adeline May White (nee Edmondson)
The other opportunity came when one of my nieces, now in college, asked me about the people in the photographs they had in their living room. These photos were the ones from our grandparents’ home so they have a bit of age to them. On one hand, it’s fantastic that we all know the images but sometimes that makes it easy to forget to tell the stories about the people in them.
It just so happened that I’d done a bit more research about that family earlier in the year and there were some pretty interesting details to share. As my niece is older, she was interested in more details than had been my 4 year old nephew at story-time. When my niece asked the question, the other kids were also around and we ended up having a really good discussion about these ancestors.
The photos are of the kids’ great-great-grandparents, Wilfrid George White and his wife, Adeline May Edmondson. They appear to be in their 30’s which would put the date of the
photos sometime in the first decade of the 20thcentury. I was able to tie in stories about their lives by referencing places and events that the kids recognize. It seemed like a good idea to relate the people back to something known (in the hopes that the stories would stick!).
When my sister called me a few weeks ago, the kids wanted to know if we’re related to anyone famous. I wracked my brain and then recalled a letter that my grandmother had in her collection from an uncle. He had written a little bit about the history of the family and indicated that we were somehow descended from Bloody Queen Mary. I’ve always found that interesting because if Mary, then why wouldn’t you say Henry VIII? Unfortunately, the writer did not cite any of his sources. A vivid reminder to us all to keep track of our sources!
These days, I think it is much easier to record conversations. Whereas in the past we had letters and tape recorders, today we have recorders in the form of pens that record audio – some of them write AND record. Because I seem to be having more and more conversations about the family history, I picked up the LiveScribe pen so I can record them. That way I’ll have the information, as well as a recording of the people’s voices.
If you want to check out LiveScribe or other recording pens, search for Smart Pens and see if one might be right for you. Here is a link to a review of a variety of Smart Pens, http://digital-pen-review.toptenreviews.com/.

 
I'll admit it. My memory for dates is terrible. Tell me a story about your life and I'll probably remember it for decades but do not ask me to remember your birthday or anniversary.

One tool I use is a perpetual calendar. It's hanging on my office wall so I see it every day. The only slight snag is I still have to turn the page at the beginning of the month.
I like this option because I just use the same calendar year after year. I plan on creating one for family members that references all of our birthdates and anniversaries, including the year of the event. This will be a gift (so everyone act surprised when you open your Christmas presents!)

There are all kinds of options for making your own calendar if you want something specific to the current (or next) calendar year. I have not yet found a template for a perpetual calendar but it should be simple enough to create in Word or in Excel and then take it in to an office supply store to get it printed and bound.

I really like the practice of creating calendars for specific years, too. They provide a snapshot in time. My sister has created them in past years and I've kept them as pseud0-photo albums showing the growth of the family and where they live.

Another example of an annual calendar is in the form of fund-raisers. Below is an example of a hockey fund-raiser calendar. There is a lot of information that you could infer from it, including where the family lived, as well as an indication of an important element of the childs' lives.
You can create your own perpetual calendar to include whichever special occasions you want. They don't usually have a whole lot of writing room, but I suppose if you were keeping track of dates relating to ancestors then you could have one for births, baptisms, anniversaries and/or death. An alternative would also be to have one for different lineages.

If you'd like to create your own annual calendar, you have many, many options. Family Tree Maker has a publication option for calendars and you can specify the year, as well as who and what data is included. Check your local photo and camera supply store web sites (Blacks.ca and Walmartphotocentre.ca for example) as they often have on-line programs for creating the calendars.