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There’s a little bit of detective work as one prepares to create a video biography of an elder relative.  I’m not going to compare it to the continuous investigation required to trace one’s family tree, but nevertheless there’s a bit of sleuthing to do.  In addition to the boxes of photos and stored-away albums, documents can really help tell your family’s story.  Here’s a helpful list:

Birth and death certificates

Religious records (bar mitzvah, baptism)

Book inscriptions and family bibles

Photograph albums



Diaries and journals

Family histories

Local histories

Newspaper archives

Baby books

Marriage books

Wedding invitations

Funeral books and memorial cards

Identification documents (passport, driver’s license, school ID)

Immigration papers

Naturalization papers

Land and property records

Military records

Directories (phone, alumni lists)

School records