If you’re reading this, you’ve made a decision to record your family stories. Woohoo! That’s awesome! I’m so excited you’re doing this.

Recording family stories and sharing them with all the generations of your family has so many benefits:

  1. It helps improve the emotional health of your youngest family members. Knowing where they come from and what challenges their family has overcome, helps children better deal with this world.
  2. It recognizes and celebrates the achievements of your most senior loved ones. You don’t reach age 80 without learning a few things and overcoming some difficulties. You also compile one heck of a list of good stories!
  3. It provides an activity to bring your family together. You’ll all learn so much about each other. Anyone, of any age, can lead the project. I have a teenaged cousin who is writing a book about the women in her family!

Compare Options for Recording Family Stories

Many companies, including mine, want to help you record your family stories. Some offer books, others offer videos. Some are inexpensive, some are an investment. Pay attention to how much work you are willing and able to do.

Finally, think about this as a lasting family heirloom. In 20, 50, or even 100 years, what will future family members share and interact with? I love technology and use it constantly. But I worry about how quickly it changes and becomes obsolete. If you’re making this investment in your family’s future, choose some finished projects that will stand the test of time and technology. Yes, I’m talking about books!

They aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. They’re the only technology we have that you don’t have to upgrade, plug-in, or buy an adapter for. It’s a physical object you can pass on.

Videos and audio options are also amazing. Nothing beats seeing a loved one who has passed away, hearing their voice, being reminded of how their eyes twinkled when they were laughing, or seeing that resemblance to your new baby. Video is powerful. However, it’s difficult to keep it in a format that can be easily passed on.

So, look at your options and choose what’s best for you.

Circa Legacy

Circa Legacy was founded in 2020 (on my 44th birthday!) in Nevada, Iowa. The mission of Circa Legacy is to help families define their legacy and keep their stories from disappearing. The company is owned by me, Keesia Wirt. I have 25+ years of journalism, writing, and interviewing experience. I started this company, in part, because of the tremendous regret I feel about not recording and preserving any legacy stories from my two grandmas, Betty and Maxine. Circa Legacy products include: three custom book options (Your Legacy Book, Anniversary Book, and Family Recipe Book), Your Legacy Kit/will companion kit, Family Time Capsule kit, How to Write a Good Obituary Guide, and more products are on the way!

What makes my company different than the competitors? Two things set me apart:

  1. I provide free resources and how-to guides to help you do this project all by yourself. There’s no catch. I know preserving your family stories can be expensive, but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from doing it. So, I compiled everything I’ve learned from 25 years of writing and interviewing people into the helpful articles and guides on my website.
  2. I will interview you or a loved one to help you determine your legacy stories. It’s more than just hitting the ‘record’ button and transcribing everything you or they say. I’ll help you narrow down those stories and define the legacy you want to leave behind. Then, we’ll design a beautiful, hard cover book with favorite family photos and your carefully curated legacy stories. Circa Legacy books are top-notch family heirlooms you will be proud to pass on and share.

Cost of Your Legacy Kits: $49.99

Custom book projects: starting at $3,400

Story Terrace

Story Terrace started in 2014 and is located in Beverly Hills, California. According to its website, its mission is: A biographer for every person. It’s an impressive service that allows you to choose one of 600 different writers to interview you and write your life story. You will receive a finished, hard cover book at the end of the project.

Their target customer: People who want to capture their own life story.

Story Terrace is my closest competitor. They offer three tiers of service: compact (a junior writer interviews you), complete (a senior writer interviews you), or novella level (a premium writer interviews you). I have not tried their services, but you can read some reviews on their site to see what other’s think of the experience.

Custom book projects with a premium writer: $8,250


StoryWorth started in 2013 and is in Claymont, Delaware. According to the site, their mission is: Preserving family history, one memory at a time. StoryWorth will email a loved one a different question each week for a year, and send their answers to you and other family members. After 12 months, they bundle all those memories together into a black-and-white book. It’s a great concept and a very inexpensive option compared to custom books.

Their target customer: Children and grandchildren of seniors who have good stories to share.

But, there are some trade-offs with the low price. It’s up to your loved one to actually answer the questions… There’s no professional interviewer to ask questions, get details, or help guide them to more robust stories and memories. So, the final memories may not be as deep or detailed as you wished. But, they will be saved and recorded, which is important.

One-year subscription to StoryWorth: $99

A Life Untold

A Life Untold started around 2019 by a husband/wife team in Australia. Like other companies in this market, they offer a very low-effort, low-expense option for recording family stories. A Life Untold sends you or a loved one 101 thought-provoking questions to answer. They combine the questions and answers, along with some photos into a templated book and send you a hard copy.

According to their website, their mission is: To make it easy, fun, and affordable for absolutely anyone to write and print their life story into a beautiful book. This company’s approach is very similar to StoryWorth with all the same benefits and cons.

Their target customer: Children and grandchildren of seniors who have good stories to share.

Cost of a finished book: $199


Tribute is a video-recording service started in 2013 that’s based in Brooklyn, NY. This company allows users to create video montages to celebrate important occasions. Users can upload many different videos created by friends and family, edit them together, and send a finished video tribute to their loved one.

It’s a very different offering than the other companies listed, but people often mention it for recording family stories.

You might have heard of or participated in a Tribute recording during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a very popular option for celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other events when people could not get together in person.

Their website says: We are on a mission to spread gratitude in the world.

Cost of one Concierge video editing service: $99

It’s Time to Record Your Family Stories

I’m ready to help you record your family stories. Whether you start with a free article, one of my legacy kits, or jump straight into a custom book, it’s time to record your family stories!

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