A Video Family Tree

The Nel Family circa 1912
The Nel Family circa 1912

I was restoring a photo of my mother’s family taken in 1920. I have often looked at the photo over the years. It was only when a friend asked who the people were that I realized the mystery—there was an “uncle” that I did not know who he was!

I immediately emailed my sister but she confessed she also did not know. It shows the importance of capturing memories while one has access to people who know.

A while ago my cousin asked to create a video biography for her. We had a lot of fun doing it as you can see in the short extract below.

In this post I would like to describe a related type of project—the video family tree.

A Video Biography
A video biography captures the life story of one individual. One basically sits together and come up with a script for the video. Then you collect photos and other artifacts from the years gone by. The person then tells his or her story on camera, often referring to the photos and school albums and so on.

A Video Family Tree
By contrast a video family tree tells the story of a whole family. Basically you record a short video vignette by each person on the family tree. The beauty is that these vignettes give one a sense of the personality of each person on the tree.

Technically a video family tree is more complicated to do because there are so many more people involved. And often they live far apart, even in other countries in some cases. But this is more of an organizational difficulty than a technical one. With email and Dropbox most of these difficulties can be easily overcome.

Half the fun of a video family tree project is exactly the getting all the people involved and seeing family again that you might not have seen in years!

The final video is typically put on a DVD (or BlueRay) and you navigate the family tree using the DVD menu. In many cases it is advantageous to also put the video family tree on a website, making it easier for people to access it from anywhere.

Don’t Procrastinate
If the idea of a video family tree appeals to you, don’t delay. Time flies—one often has just a short window of opportunity to pull it off. A month after I had made the video biography of my cousin, she passed away unexpectedly—if we had procrastinated…?

For more details on creating a video family tree, please drop us a line. We would be happy to help you make your video family tree or video biography a reality.