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Put Your Story in Historical Context

September 26, 2014

If writing your life story appeals to you and yet seems too daunting, consider starting your story by doing some general historical research. History gives the events in our lives a broader context.

I remember reading in my Grandma’s life story about the 1918 influenza epidemic that spread across the United States. She described how most of her family and neighbors in the small community were ill and how the few neighbors who were not ill went from house to house offering care. Grandma’s description was nothing spectacular, but later as I learned about the influenza epidemic in high school history class, I remembered Grandma’s experience. Her story brought gave life to a broader historical event for me.

Begin your historical research now:

  • Write down your major life events such as birth, graduations, marriage, and so forth.
  • Research historical events in your community, state, country and the world that were happening at the same time you passed milestones in your life.
  • Do an internet search to become familiar with historical events that correlate with your life events.

You don’t have to include every historical event on every level. Rather pick and choose the historical stories that interest you most and that you feel will give a broader context to your own story. Start recording those events to include in your own story. Before you know it, you will be writing about your story as it relates to those historical events.

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