FAQ

How much does it cost?

A life story is an investment that appreciates over time.

The cost varies from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on what you require. Each personal history project is custom designed, so the time involved can range from a few days to several months. I will work with you to meet your budget. Please contact me for a free initial consultation and estimate.

How does it work?

I like to start by having an informal, no obligation chat. This allows me to describe my services fully. And it allows you to ask me any questions that you might have.

If we decide to work together, I will draw up a contract detailing our mutual commitments and the costs involved.

The basis for much of my work is a series of audio or video taped interviews. These are done usually in your home where you are most comfortable. Each session is about an hour in length and it usually takes from six to eight sessions to complete the interviews.

How much time will it take?

It depends entirely on what you require. A book or DVD memoir can take up to six months from the initial interviews to the finished project. On the other hand a smaller project such as Golden Wedding tribute video or book can be done in a few weeks.

In an interview will I be asked questions that will embarrass me or make me reveal things about my life I’d rather not talk about?

No. I respect your privacy and your need to control what is and is not included in your life story. This is your personal history and it is up to you to tell what you want to tell. I will never abuse your trust. If you say something that you wish you hadn’t, I can simply edit it out of your interview. No problem.

Why can’t I do my own life story?

You can. There are books and workshops that can offer guidance. Let me tell you the advantage of hiring a personal historian. First of all, it’s more fun! It is easier talking to someone who is genuinely interested in your story than sitting by yourself facing a blank sheet of paper or computer screen. Another advantage is that the project will actually be completed. Many people have the best of intentions but often never get their life story finished. A personal historian is a professional who can handle your book or video from beginning to end. You don’t have to worry about learning publishing software or the complexities of video editing.

Remember that your life story is a treasured legacy. You want to leave something of beauty and quality. A personal historian can ensure that happens.

Who would want to read my life story? I am not famous.

As Mark Twain once said, “There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility.” It’s true. I have yet to encounter a boring life story. All of us have had to face the challenges and joys of life. We have loved, faced losses, coped with illness, been part of the complexity of family life, dreamed about what might be and laughed at our foibles.

How does a life story differ from a genealogical record?

A life story portrays the essence of your life. It captures your experiences, beliefs and feelings. A genealogy is a statement of facts concerning your lineage from the present to your earliest ancestors.

Is it possible to contract a personal historian to prepare the life story of someone other than me?

Yes. For instance a personal historian is often hired to prepare the life story of a parent or grandparent.