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Personal History

President Kimball 1980

“I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations.  Each of us is important to those who are new and dear to us and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us.  And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.”

OUTLINE FOR PERSONAL HISTORY
CHILDHOOD HOME –INSIDE DESCRIPTION  Location. Describe the first childhood home you remember – frame or brick — how many rooms – two story — indoor or outdoor bathroom – how was home heated?   Describe each room as you remember it. What kind of furniture was in the living room? Radio or TV? Piano? Did the family gather there in the evenings? Describe the kitchen. Where did the family eat? Where did you eat when company came? What did your bedroom look like? Did you share it or did you have your own bed?  Which was your favorite room and why? Describe your favorite piece of furniture. Do you have in your home today any furniture that came from your childhood home? Did you have a telephone? Describe. Were you on a party line?
CHILDHOOD HOME – OUTDOOR SURROUNDINGS   Did you have a yard? Was there a lawn, trees, swings, flowers, vegetable garden, orchard? How much property did you have? What other buildings were on the property? Did you have farm animals?  What did the neighborhood look like? What kind of houses or buildings were in the neighborhood? Where did you shop? Describe the stores. How big was the town you lived in? Did you travel to a bigger town to shop?
PARENTS  Full names, birthdates and place of birth, death dates and causes of death and place where they are buried. Describe mother and father physically, short or tall, thin or heavy, color of hair and eyes. Did they have any unusual features in their appearance? What kind of temperament did they have, easy going or tense, quick to anger, full of humor etc. What was your father’s role in the home as your grew up? How did he earn his living? Did he actively participate in family life or was he passive? What was your mother’s role in the home? Did she work outside the home? Who was the disciplinarian? Describe some interactions with each parent that you remember in your early childhood.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS   Full names, birthdates, and place of birth, death dates, place of death, cause of death and where they are buried. Which is your place in the family: oldest child, youngest etc.? How did your place in the birth order affect you? Are you more responsible, spoiled, are you still treated as the dependable older sister or as the baby of the family? Describe your relationship with each brother and sister. Are you closer to some than others? Who was your special playmate as you grew up? Do you have a special relationship with an older or younger sibling? Were there any handicapped children in your family? If so, what lessons did you learn from your relationship with this child? Describe special memories you have of your brothers and sisters.
EXTENDED FAMILY  Full names, birthdates and places, death dates and place they are buried of each of your paternal and maternal grandparents. Describe some memories do you have of your grandparents? Were they stern or full of fun? Did they speak a foreign language and did you learn any of the language? What kind of clothing did your grandmothers wear? Location and brief description of your grandparents home. Did you enjoy visiting them? Do you remember your grandparents for something special – cookies or another particular food, outings, a special play place etc.? Did a grandparent live in your home as you were growing up? If so, what did you learn from that experience? Do you have furniture, old photographs or other objects in your home that were once in your grandparents’ home? Describe. Were there cousins that were close playmates? What activities did you do with your cousins — sleepovers, vacations etc.? Did you have favorite aunts and uncles? Did you have a step—mother or father? What were your feelings about them and was your relationship close? Did you have step brothers and sisters and did you enjoy your association with them.
CHURCH EXPERIENCES AGE BIRTH TO TWELVE   Blessing – when, where, by whom. Were there unusual circumstances about your blessing? Did you wear heirloom clothing? When, where and by whom were you baptized and confirmed? Describe what you remember about the events.   Where did you attend church meetings – church, school, home, rented halt etc.? Were there unusual circumstances about your meetings? Was the gospel practiced in an active way in your home — family prayers, scripture study, fathers blessings etc.? How did your family feel about the church? Did you have any temple experiences as a child? Did you go to a temple to be sealed to your parents or attend any temple dedications? Describe some of the changes that have occurred in Primary and Sunday School since your childhood – names of Primary classes, Primary penny march, Primary held after school, dime Sunday, 2 1/2 minute talks, Sacrament gems, Sacrament during Sunday School etc. If you converted to the church at an older age, describe your religious training as a child. Which church did you attend? Was religion actively practiced in your home?
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GRADES KINDERGARTEN THROUGH SIX   Names and locations of elementary schools you attended. Was the building large or small, approximately how many classrooms and students? List names of teachers if you remember them. Did you have the same teacher all day, or change to several teachers? Were there special music and physical education teachers? Who was your favorite teacher and why? Which was your favorite subject and which subject did you do best in? Did you eat hot lunch in the school cafeteria, eat a sack lunch or go home? Did you have a special lunchbox? Did you walk to school, take a school bus or car pool? What kind of clothing did you wear to school — dresses, pants, uniforms, long woolen stockings, heavy galoshes? Describe some of the memories you have of each grade. What were the special events you remember — plays, dance festivals, field trips, musical programs, spelling bees, sporting events, field day, fist fights etc.
RECREATION, FRIENDS AND PETS   What were the names of your best childhood friends and how near did they live? What memories do you have of these friends? Where are these people now, do you still keep in touch with them? Describe some of the games and activities you enjoyed — kick the can, hopscotch, cops and robbers, crack the whip, fox and geese, marbles etc. What were some of your favorite sayings, jump-the-rope rhymes, ditties, poems, songs? Did you have your own bike? How did you spend Saturdays? Did you attend Saturday movies? What were your favorite radio programs? What were your favorite TV shows if you are young enough to have had TV? What kind of clothes did you wear to play? Did you go barefoot? Describe your pets — dogs, cats, turtles, rabbits etc. What memories do you have of these pets?
HOLIDAYS   Did you have a Christmas tree? Describe the decorations. Did you decorate your home in addition to a tree? Do you use any of these decorations in your home today? What were the Christmas traditions in your family? How did you spend Christmas eve? Did you celebrate with big family parties, religious observances, sing carols, visit friends and relatives? When were gifts opened and were they opened all together as a family? Were the gifts wrapped? Did you hang a stocking and what was put in it? Did you believe in Santa Claus? Were there special foods you always ate at Christmas? Was a big dinner a tradition? Did your mother bake fruitcake, dip chocolates etc.? Did you earn your own money to buy gifts? Describe some of the gifts you remember giving to others. What was the most memorable Christmas you remember and why? What was the most favorite gift you received as a child? Did your family do some kinds of charitable activities at Christmas? How was your birthday celebrated? Did you have a cake, invite friends to parties, special dinners etc.? How did you observe the Fourth and Twenty-fourth of July – parades, fireworks, picnics? Describe Easter. Did you have an Easter basket, new clothes etc.? How was Thanksgiving spent? What was the menu for dinner and was it a big family gathering?
SPECIAL EVENTS OF CHILDHOOD   Did you move to a new home during your childhood? Describe each home. What were the circumstances that make your family move? How did you feel about the move? Describe trips with your family? Did you ever travel on an airplane, train or bus? What was the longest distance from home you traveled as a child? What are the special things you did with your family — picnics. boating, skiing, fishing etc.? Did you take camping trips, attend family reunions? Do you have memories of trips to the doctor and dentist?  Describe the first permanent you had in your hair. Did you have any daring escapades? Describe.
ALL ABOUT YOU AS A CHILD   When and where were you born? What were the circumstances you have heard about your birth? Were you a healthy baby, any birth defects or health problems you had to overcome. Describe yourself physically, small or tall for your age, fat, thin, color of hair and eyes. Did you have freckles? How did you wear your hair? Did you wear glasses? Describe your temperament — shy, outgoing, active, passive, show displays of temper, spoiled etc. What worries or fears did you have as a child? What childhood diseases and other illnesses did you have? Describe accidents, broken bones, tonsillectomies, operations that occurred during your childhood and what circumstances surrounded them. Did you spend time in a hospital? Did you have braces on your teeth? How did you learn responsibility? What were your jobs around the house? Did you have an allowance? What were the kinds of things you did as a child that caused you to be punished and how were you punished? Did you have a nickname and how did you get it?
TALENTS. HOBBIES. SPECIAL ACTIVITIES   Did you take music lessons, which instruments, who was your teacher and how long did you practice each day? Did you practice willingly or were you made to practice? Did you take other lessons such as dancing, tennis, swimming? What activities did you participate in as a child – Brownies, Campfire girls, 4H activities, summer camps? Describe your first experiences cooking, sewing, embroidering, knitting etc. Did you learn these things from your mother? Did you earn some of your own money babysitting or in other ways?
FAMILY LIFE DURING CHILDHOOD What was the climate of your home — authoritarian, permissive, strict, happy, sad etc? Describe your family’s financial condition during your childhood — rich, poor, poor but you didn’t know it? What did your family do for fun? What was the social climate of your family? Did you have guests of ten? What difficulties did your family have to deal with during your childhood — deaths, divorce, financial setbacks? If you were a child during World War I, the Depression or World War II, what do you remember about these times? Describe your happiest, most exciting memory of your childhood and describe the worst memory of your childhood.
JUNIOR HIGH OR MIDDLE SCHOOL  Name and location of the junior high school you attended. Describe the building inside and out. Approximately how large was the student body?  What courses did you take? Describe some of your classes. Did you take cooking, sewing, gym? Describe your gym suit. Which were your favorite classes and why? Who were your most memorable teachers? Why do they stand out In your memory? Describe special activities you enjoyed – sports, clubs, dramas, music etc. Did you have a graduation ceremony?
HIGH SCHOOL   Name the location of the high school you attended. Describe size and physical facility. What course of study did you pursue? Tell about some of the classes you particularly remember. Were you a serious student or a laid back student? What were the special activities you participated in – clubs, pep club, choirs, operettas, dramas, sports etc. Describe special memories. Were you elected to a student office? Did you receive any special recognition, scholarships or other awards? Describe your high school graduation. Where, what did you wear, how did you celebrate after the ceremonies?
FRIENDS AND ACTIVITIES TEEN YEARS   Who were your close friends during your teen years? What did you do for fun after school and on weekends? Did you participate in any daring escapades? Did you have a part-time job to earn some of your own money? How did you use your money – spend it all on clothes, save for college, buy a car etc? What were the clothing fads you wore – pegged skirts, sack dresses, rolled up blue jeans, charm bracelets, saddle oxfords, circle skirts, platform shoes, mini skirts etc. How did you wear your hair? Did you wear make-up? When did you get your first high heels? What special music or other lessons did you take during this time? How did you use your talents – for performing or for your own enjoyment?
RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES DURING TEEN YEARS   Name of ward and stake. Did you attend church regularly and was the gospel practiced actively in your home? Describe the Mutual or Young Women’s activities – names of classes. Were you an honor bee or a golden gleaner? Did you participate in girls sports? What are some of the special memories you have – dinners, gold and green balls, road shows, summer camp, Friday night ward shows etc? Did you have church callings as a teenager – teaching, playing the organ or piano, officer in your classes? Did you have temple experiences – baptism for the dead, temple dedications? Was early morning or released time seminary part of your high school experience? Where was seminary held and what memories do you have of classes or special teachers that influenced you, dances or other activities? Describe seminary graduation? At what, age did your testimony begin t. develop? Were there people or events that strengthened your testimony? Did you read the scriptures regularly as a teenager?
SPECIAL EVENTS OF ADOLESCENCE  When did you learn to drive a car?  How old were you and who taught you?  Were there funny incidents that happened while you were learning? Describe the family cars you remember. Tell about some of the trips you took with your family. Describe some of the family activities you particularly enjoyed. Were there special projects or experiences you participated in during these years — talent or beauty contests, state or national competitions. What were some of the world events that took place while you were a teenager?
DATING AND ROMANCES (Do not include courtship with husband)   When, where and with whom was your First date? How old were you and do you remember what you wore? What kinds or activities did you do on dates? Did you go in cars, ride the bus or walk? Did you double date or have blind dates? Tell about some of the most memorable evenings — proms, girls choice dances, special dinners, football games etc. Were you given corsages? Where did you go to dance and who were your favorite bands or groups? What kind of clothing did you wear for dates? Describe your most loved dresses. Describe the absolutely worst date you can remember. What made It the worst? What qualities did you most like in your dates?
POST HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION   Name and location of the institution you attended after high school – university – business college — technical college, etc. How many years did you attend and what course of study or major did you pursue? Describe some of the classes you particularly enjoyed. Were there instructors that influenced your life either for good or bad? What were the factors that helped you decide on your career choice – example of parents – influence of peers – expected income – working conditions, etc.? How did you pay for your schooling – scholarships – earned your own expenses – parental support – support. from spouse? Describe some of the events you remember – special speakers, concerts, athletic events, pep rallies, dances. Did you participate in student government, clubs, sororities, etc.? Were you elected to honor societies or did you receive special recognitions? Did you graduate? Describe your graduation ceremonies. Did you attend Institute of Religion classes during this time? How did these classes influence your life?
COURTSHIP WITH HUSBAND When, where and how did you meet your future husband? What was your first impression of him? Describe your first date. Was there an immediate attraction? Did your relationship grow slowly from friendship into love or was it love at first sight”? Tell about some of the special, wonderful dates you remember. Did your future husband have money to spend on dates or did you plan dates that involved spending very little money? Was your relationship stable and easy or did you argue and quarrel? How did your first impressions change as you became better acquainted? What qualities did your future husband have that you most appreciated? What were some of the serious differences between you — different religions or intensity of feeling about religion – different cultural backgrounds – different philosophies about family life and child rearing, etc.? Describe your marriage proposal. Did he propose or did you? Did he give you an engagement ring? How many months or years did you date before becoming engaged and how long were you engaged before marriage? Would you change any thing about your courtship with your husband if you could repeat that period of  life.
WEDDING DAY AND HONEYMOON When, where and by whom were you married? What time of day were you married and what was the weather like? Describe what you remember about the marriage ceremony. Did you have a wedding gown? Describe the style and fabric. Did you purchase it or was it homemade? Describe your veil. Did you wear heirloom clothing? If you married in the temple did you wear your wedding gown or wear another special dress for the ceremony? Did you have a wedding breakfast or a rehearsal dinner? When and where and what was the menu. Who were some or the guests? Did you have a reception or party after the ceremony? If there were bridesmaids, who were they and what did they wear? What was the color scheme and how was the reception room decorated? What did you serve for refreshments? Describe your wedding cake. What were your favorite gifts? Was it the custom to register your china and silver? Did anything funny or dreadful happen on your wedding day? Did you “cold feet” at the last minute? Did you have a honeymoon, if so, where did you go and for how long? Describe fun and special events of your honeymoon. If you and your husband were sealed in a temple at a later time, describe that experience. When, where and by whom were you sealed? Were children sealed to you? Write about your feelings on that day.
EARLY YEARS OF MARRIAGE Description and address of your first apartment or home. Do you remember how much you paid for rent? How much furniture did you have and was it a cast off from your parents or borrowed? Did you or your husband attend college or some other kind of schooling after marriage? How did you support yourselves – student loans, parental support, or were you the major means of support? What was your income and how did you make your budget stretch? Did you live in student housing? Did you and your husband spend time in military service? When and where did you live? Describe memorable experiences during this time. Describe some of your homemaking failures and successes during these early years. What memorable meals do you remember. What were some of your biggest and funniest housekeeping, cooking, sewing or budgeting errors? Describe the first car you bought together. How did you pay for it? What were the major adjustments you and your husband had to make as ‘you learned to live together? Do your remember your first quarrel, what was it over and how did you resolve the problem? What was the best thing that happened to you early in your marriage to unify you as a couple? Did you move away from your parents so you had to depend only on each other?
CHILDREN (Repeat for each child) When and where were each or your children born? Describe how you felt when you first realized you were expecting a baby – excited and happy, frightened, worried about finances or space, etc. What preparations did you make for the baby such as decorating a nursery or sewing? Were there unusual or funny events during the pregnancy? Were there any serious medical problems with either the pregnancy or the birth? Did your husband witness the birth? Describe the emotions you felt with the birth of each child? What inadequacies did you feel as a new mother? Were you frightened? Tell about funny or scary experiences you had in the first days and weeks of your child’s life. Describe each child’s personality traits. What traits made them easy to care for and what were their difficult traits?
RELIGIOUS EXPRIENCES  When, where and by whom did you receive your patriarchal blessing? How has this blessing been a guide in your life? Do you read your blessing often? When and where did you receive your endowments? Describe the emotions you felt at this time. Write about some or all of the church callings you have held. Which callings were the most rewarding? Which callings were the most difficult arid which made you grow the most? Have there been times when you felt particularly inspired in your calling? When in your life has your testimony been very strong and when has your testimony weakened? II you converted to the church as an adult, describe your conversion. Who taught you the gospel — missionaries, friends, others? How did you know the gospel was true? When, where and by whom were you baptized?.. Has the church provided you with most of your social and recreational activities? Describe events you remember – ward dinners and parties, family camp—outs, cultural programs, sports programs, etc.
FULL-TIME MISSION EXPERIENCE  When, where and length of time of your mission. When and how did you make the decision to serve a mission? Were there incidents or people who influenced your decision? Describe your feelings when your call arrived. Describe the training you received prior to leaving – MTC, a few days in the old mission home, or no training. If you had to learn a foreign language, how did you learn and did you become fluent quickly and easily?  Tell about some of the highlights of your mission – inspirational experiences, difficult times, people you particularly learned to love. How has your mission influenced the rest of your life?
EMPLOYMENT   What was the first full time job you held after your schooling? Did you find a job in your major field of study? What was your salary and how did you spend your money – on clothes, buy a car, support yourself in your own apartment? Describe other jobs you have held during your adult life. What was the reason for the change in employment – bigger salary, better hours or working conditions, moving to a new location, the arrival of children, etc? What kind of a savings program have you had? Have you ever been fired from a job? What was the reason and what did, you learn from the experience? Have you been employed since you have had children? Have you worked because you want to or because you have really needed the salary? What do you feel are the advantages and the disadvantages of a mother working? What are some of the ways you have managed to balance home and family and your employment?
RECREATION  What kind of activities has your family done for fun – camping out, picnics, boating, swimming or other sports, singing together, etc. Write about some of the special times you have had. Do you own a vacation home. Describe. Did you build it as a family project? Tell about some of the family vacations you have taken. What were the funny or difficult things that have happened on vacation? Have you and your husband continued to have dates or some time alone together often? What kind of activities do you enjoy doing together? Describe vacations you and your husband have taken together without the children. Who took care of your family while you were gone? Do you feel time with your husband alone has helped unify you as a couple? What was your most memorable trip and why?
FAMILY ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIENCES   Description and location of the homes you have lived in through the years. When did you buy your first home? Cost and how did you finance it? Have you maintained a vegetable garden as a family and done your own home canning and freezing? Have you redone your home with “do it yourself” projects? What have been some of your funny errors? What are some of the accomplishments you have enjoyed as a family? Have you had family pets? Names and type of pet. Were your pets considered part of the family and showered with love? Tell about experiences with your pets.  Describe how your family celebrates Christmas. What are some of the family rituals and traditions? What traditions have you kept in your family that came from yours and your husbands childhoods? What new traditions have you started? How do you celebrate birthdays and other holidays?
HOBBIES AND TALENTS   What talents have your pursued and tried to improve through your adult life? Have you tried to continue using the talents and skills you developed as a young person? Have you taken music or art lessons? Describe. What kind of adult education classes have you enrolled in through the years? Have you gone back to college to graduate or to pursue a graduate degree? What books and magazines have you enjoyed reading? Who are your favorite authors, musicians and artists? Do you enjoy poetry, classical music, operas, ballets, plays, pop concerts, jazz, etc? Describe some of these events that you have particularly loved. Have you done community service through the years? Describe. What are your hobbies — genealogy, music, writing, art work, cooking, sewing, gardening, etc.? How have you found time to pursue your hobbies and interests? What advice would you give to your children and grandchildren about the im3ortance of staying interested and involved in the world?
MOST DIFFICULT EXPERIENCES   What is the most difficult experience or experiences you have had to deal with in life – death of your spouse or a child, divorce, severe health problems, severe financial problems, wrongful behavior of children, your own behavior, etc. What kind of strength did you find to help you cope with these problems – prayer, strong testimony, friends, family? How have these experiences strengthened you? Describe the experiences you have had with grief caused by a loved one’s death. What emotions did you feel – anger, frustration, relief, loneliness, etc. What are the things that helped you overcome your grief? What are the major health problems you have had to deal with in your life? Describe. Have you had the experience of caring for elderly parents? Did they live in your home? How has the experience increased your compassion and understanding of the elderly? Is there advice you would give your children about your own care as you get older? Have you had to care for an ill or handicapped child? What lessons have you learned from this experience?
HAPPIEST EXPERIENCES   Describe the happy and excited feelings you had when you knew you were going to be a grandmother. Write about each grandchild and how that child is special to you. Describe several of the happiest days in your lire? What made them the happiest? What do you consider to be your most important achievement? What tings have given you the most pleasure or satisfaction? What do you consider to be your best and your worst personal trait?
CHANGES   Describe important changes you have witnessed in the church – – death of prophets – worldwide expansion of the church – changes in the Relief Society – Church publications – expansion of temple building – genealogy – budget from tithing fund – refinancing of missions, etc. Describe important events you have witnessed in the world – men on the moon – World War I or H – other wars – the depression – death or assassinations of presidents – unification of Germany, etc. Describe some of the inventions and household conveniences you have seen come into use – automobiles – airplanes – helicopters – rockets – satellites — frozen food — cake mixes – plastics – automatic washers – TV – VCR – compact discs – transistors – microwave ovens — message recorders – computers – video cameras – remote controls, etc. Describe some of the medical marvels you have witnessed — antibiotics — polio and other vaccines — contact lens and hearing aids – heart and other organ transplants – ultra-sounds – laser technology – saving the life of very premature babies — fetal surgery, etc. What events or trends have disturbed you most in your lifetime – the sexual revolution – abortion — women’s rights – homosexual rights – AIDS – increased crime etc.? What trends do you fear most in regards to your descendents?
FINAL WORDS   What would you like your family to know about answers to prayers? Share some of your experiences with prayer that you hope would benefit your children and grandchildren.  How have you achieved inner peace and tranquility? What personal trait do you admire most and why? How would you like to be remembered? What traits would you most like to see your family develop? If you had your life to live over again, what would you do differently? What is the most important lesson, message or advice you’ve learned that you would like to pass on to your family? Write your testimony and your feelings about the Gospel for your descendants.

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