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A Family History in Five Artifcts

October 11, 2023

Reading time: 4 minutes

It’s family history month, and if you had to, could you tell your family history in five Artifcts or less? Sound impossible? We weren’t sure, so we decided to put it to the test. 

We reached out to one of our super Artifcters, @Grandmom and asked her, if she had to choose just five Artifcts to tell her story, could she? And if she could, what five would she choose?  

Thankfully, Grandmom was up for the challenge, although she did preface it by saying “Are you sure, just five? That’s all I get?” Yep, that all you get, at least for this ARTIcles story. “Well, good thing I have my timeline, at least I know where to start!”

Over to you @Grandmom to walk us through your family history, Artifct by Artifct. (The below excerpts are from an interview we did with Grandmom; the words in quotes are direct from the source!)



Artifct #1: The Beginning

The Milking Chair My Grandfather Built

“Well, I guess I better start at the beginning, sometime in the 1860s. One of my oldest Artifcts is the milking chair my father’s father made his wife. They lived on a farm in southern Georgia. He built it for her because she was so short, that none of the regular chairs were a good fit. He built it right after the Civil War, I don’t think he used a single nail, only pegs. You don’t see that these days.” 

Artifct #2: Childhood in Rural Georgia

Mother's and Grandmother's Wash Boards

Next up? “Well, that would have to be Mother’s and Grandmother’s wash boards. I still have them after all my moves. We grew up in rural Georgia, and we didn’t have much back then, but Mother always made sure we were well dressed and presentable. I still remember her using these boards to do our laundry. I even used them when I was younger! It’s just what you did back then. I can’t imagine what the kids would do today if they had to use washboards. I can tell you; they probably wouldn’t do laundry!”   

Artifct #3: Traveling Far Far Away

Snake Tales

“The next one is one of my favorites—my snakeskin! I still remember [my friend] Shirley’s reaction, ‘I’m not going to do it Martha, you do it, you shoot the snakes!’” What makes the snakeskin so special? “It reminds me of all the crazy adventures and travels that Bobby [my husband] and I had when we were first married. I never could have imagined living overseas, or going on safari, or doing all the crazy things we used to do. I was telling [my granddaughter] about what we did back then, and she didn’t believe me at first. I had to show her the pictures AND the snakeskin. I was something back then!” For the record, we still think you’re something @Grandmom!   

Old photo of a group of people standing around a large dead snake

If ever there was a moment to be glad to have the story behind the photo, it's this one!

Artifct #4: Family Time

Our Trusty Station Wagon

“I guess my next Artifct would be our old station wagon, and the photo of the three boys [our sons] in the back. [It's a private Artifct.] Back then we didn’t use seatbelts; I’m not even sure if we had them in the way back! But man, those boys loved that station wagon; Bobby and I did too! We took it everywhere—Brazil, Europe. I still remember I once got a speeding ticket in Rio while driving the station wagon. I had never gotten a ticket before in my life! So many memories. I can still hear Bobby yelling at the boys to quiet down back there or else. The boys remember too!”  

Feeling inspired? Create a new Artifct!

Not a member yet? No problem! Sign up free to start Artifcting.


Artifct #5: Small Momentos of a Life Well Lived

International Spoon Collection

Sounds like travel and all your adventures overseas are a big part of your family history and story @Grandmom? “It was our life back then. We didn’t think twice about it when we were doing it, but it was what our family did. It’s what our boys remember. Living overseas teaches you so much. So, I guess my last Artifct would have to be my spoon collection.

I have one from every place I’ve ever lived or visited! I have at least two hundred! The one spoon I didn’t have until recently was Monrovia. I couldn’t find one when we were living there, but then Joy [my daughter-in-law] found one on Ebay and now my collection is complete! It’s amazing to think that had life been different, we could have stayed in Georgia. I know my boys are thankful we did not do that.” 

Souvenir spoons hanging on a wooden display rack

One of these is not like the other. Is that a spork in the spoon collection?

And there you have it! Five Artifcts; five stories; five memories of a life well lived and well-traveled. If you had to choose, what five objects would you Artifct to tell your story? You can write to us at and let us know, we’d love to hear from you! 


A very special thank you to @Grandmom for sharing her Artifcts and story with us. For those of you curious about this amazing woman, she is in her 80s, has three grown sons, 10 mostly-grown grandchildren, and has lived in six countries and traveled to well over 50. She was married to the “love of her life” for over 40 years and is proud to be her family’s keeper. Why does she Artifct? “To tell the histories and stories behind all my stuff. If I don’t the boys will have no way of knowing what is what.”

© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Telling My Story Without the Pressure of a Memoir

Reading time: 4 minutes 

Many of us feel overwhelmed by the prospect of telling our stories never mind authoring a memoir. One. More. Thing. To do. And, "How do I even get started?”  

Companies exist that will send you daily and weekly prompts to help; some will even call you. You answer a question at a time until you get to some state of "done." This is a solid, time-tested strategy for any of life’s larger tasks, breaking it down into something smaller.  

Those question-by-question approaches are not for everyone. You may feel pestered as well as stressed if you “get behind.” And not all of us are great with open-ended questions that lack true personalization.  

Another option is to work with a professional writer. No, not someone you meet for 30 or 60 minutes and with their notes they write or record your life story. Really? That’s a neat trick. If only life were so simple.  

We’re talking about the professionals like with LifeBook Memoirs, whose work is a true art, a physical family heirloom, and a gift. The level of care, privacy, and personalization to your needs, coupled with the product they print makes anyone a believer in the power of a memoir. 

But what if you want are not yet ready to plunge into the time and cost of a memoir and still want to privately make progress on your own? That's what we're talking about here today.

The Artifcts Approach to Writing Your Story, Your Memoir 

I’ve been telling my story through travel mementos, collections, books, photos and more, slowly but surely through my Artifcts. No outline. No grand scheme. As I come across or receive something that inspires me, I Artifct it.  

I'll use one of my most recent Artifcts as a simple example. I took my 13-year-old daughter to see the Broadway show Six. She loves choir and drama, and yet she couldn’t have been less excited in the days leading up to the show. I stayed quiet (which if you know me is quite a feat) and waited. The lights dimmed, the six wives and the all-female band took the stage. And ... magic! 

My daughter was enthralled, smiling, and shooting looks at me that said, “Wow!” After the show she told me it was even better than Hamilton. Never could I ever have imagined anything would outshine Hamilton in her eyes.  

When we got home, I Artifcted the physical playbill, the digital one with the six wives’ signatures, and a pic of my daughter at the theatre. Why? I’m not going to keep that playbill, but I am going to keep the memory of that day for always, for her, for me. 

Artifct of Broadway musical Six from Egoody

Fun fact: When I later searched Artifcts to pull up my Artifct, I found a second Artifct for Six. I had forgotten that my co-founder took her daughter to Six, too. Don’t you love uncovering surprise connections? 

The Best of Social Media, Meets the Best of Artifcts 

I always tell people that when we built Artifcts, all the social media giants were on Capitol Hill defending themselves and their policies. We had the opportunity to build something better. So, I’ve been privately Artifcting the big little moments in my life through the objects I collect without the pressure of view counts and follows. 

Then one day about two years into Artifcts, a genealogist challenged me to show how Artifcts could easily help someone to tell their life story. Apparently this is the holy grail of the genealogy world. I eagerly accepted that challenge and gave myself 10 minutes to complete it. 

How? Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I began at the beginning, using the Artifcts I had already created to tell my story in full color (and with audio, video, and supporting documentation, too).  

      1. Created a new Artifct 
      2. Titled it. I was literal, “My Life Story.” 
      3. Picked a category. I used “Life Moments: Other Life Moments.” 
      4. Filled in the story. Within the 10 minutes, I wrote an 1,100-word story that included approximately 40 Artifcts via @ mentions and wove in each of my family members, key friends and other loved ones with @ mentions, too, giving them instant ‘View’ access to my story.
      5. Added documentation. Totally optional, but in this case I chose to privately attach my birth and marriage certificates. 
      6. Tagged it. #LifeStory and #Genealogy made sense to me for single-click sorting to see other Artifcts with the same tags in the future. 


This 2.5 minute video shows you the @ feature in action.

Imagine the surprise of the genealogist who challenged me when I privately shared the Artifct with her and it was not just a story, but a multi-media surprise of layered stories about myself, my loved ones, the places of been, and the experiences I have accumulated, aka life!

The text of an Artifct blurred out for privacy but showing the title and names of linked Artifcts within the text

The green text represents the linked Artifcts that are sprinkled throughout my "life story" Artifct.
Don’t have 40 Artifcts? You could tell your story in 5 Artifcts, 30, or 100s. Artifcts you don’t weave into your story will always be one click away in your Artifcts collection for the full-er story! 

How Will You Write and Share Your Life Story? 

Artifcts is a gift. The reality is that if I were no longer here tomorrow, my family would know me and remember me with support from my Artifcts. No life story required.  

The life story Artifct I created is simple to create and a powerful, one-stop opportunity to hear the story from my perspective. And, best yet I can go in and edit and add to it any time I want. My story is not done. My perspective may yet shift, even on the way I see the past changes. And, who knows, one day my Artifcts may be the perfect fodder for LifeBook Memoirs to help me write my memoir. 

No matter how you choose to tell your stories, we beg you:

      • Create a digital backup. And make sure your loved ones know your story exists and how to get to it and ALL the supporting materials (photos, documents etc.) that went into it.
      • Do not let perfection or some idea that your stories don’t matter stand in your way. There’s no one “youer” than you!

We promise you it’s the big little details in life that everyone loves you for and wants to remember you for, too.


You may also enjoy these ARTIcles by Artifcts:

Not Sure What to Write? Tips From Author Jeff Greenwald

The Value of Cherished Objects in Our Life Stories

Timelines Have Arrived at Artifcts!

A Family History in Five Artifcts


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Join Us for the 12 Days of Artifcts, 2023 Edition

Join us for some holiday fun!

Starting Friday, we'll publish a daily theme to Artifct as part of our 12 Days of Artifcts. No turtle doves or partridge in a pear tree, but each of the 12 Days of Artifcts offers you the opportunity to take a breath amidst your holiday merriment and chaos. We'll provide the themes, you provide the Artifcts.

No matter your faith or tradition, all are welcome!

New to Artifcts or only have a free account? That's okay! Once you sign up free, you can create your first 5 Artifcts free and see what you think before buying a membership.

And you'll have no excuse for not being ready as we're giving you a head start by sharing with you today the daily themes. Let's have some fun. And remember, if you make any of your 12 Days of Artifcts public, tag them #12DaysofArtifcts for others to easily discover and enjoy. We look forward to Friday, December 1, for the first of the 12 Days of Artifcts!

Psst ... They'll be ANOTHER surprise on December 1, too. Make sure you pop over to to learn more.

Christmas tree made up of numbers, each with a topic to Artifct


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Fall Series of Evenings with Artifcts was a Smash Hit

The fall series of Evenings with Artifcts brought in people who were brand new to Artifcts and earned outstanding reviews from new and existing Arti Community members. In fact, 97% of survey respondents rated the series "very" or "extremely" valuable and informative. We’re feeling the love.

What does this mean for you? Well, to start with, we’re definitely bringing back Evenings with Artifcts this spring! And, we can start planning it with confidence and hopefully with your help, too. We’re on a mission to spur and support conversations about the ‘stuff’ in our lives and we’d love your input!

What Should We Talk About Next?

Here are but a few of the ideas that we received, verbatim, from survey respondents.  

      • Artificial Intelligence 
      • Export & integration tips with digital vaults (Just you wait. You’ll like what’s coming.) 
      • Bring Gena [Philbert-Ortega] back 
      • Repeat all your topics with new presenters 
      • Real Arti Community members and how they are using Artifcts (Sounds great! Write us at to volunteer.)
      • What to do with old photos (Start here, and we'll continue to expand!) 
      • The psychology of letting go of our own material possessions and helping others to do the same (We have an ARTIcles story on this topic scheduled for January! You may also want to read our ARTIcles related to health and aging.) 
      • What other family genealogy folks find working for them (Will do! We've had so many great conversations with genealogists and genealogy-related ARTIcles with our learnings so far.)

Sharing this wish list with you is both about transparency and about sharing the fun with all of you in the Arti Community! 

What do you think of these ideas? What would YOU like to learn and experience in the spring series? Write to us at and we’ll be sure to review all your suggestions!

Until then, if you're looking for the Evenings with Artifcts playbacks or related resources from any of our series, they’re all here for you. 

XOXO Artifcts


© 2023 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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