What is a legacy journal? How do I create one? How do you give a legacy journal? Is a legacy journal a good idea?
These are great questions. Keep reading for some answers!
Merriam-Webster defines a legacy as “a gift by will especially of money or other personal property,” or “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” 
A Leatherpress journal meets both these definitions, as something personal and lasting that can be passed along and as something in which legacy is transmitted. A sense of that heritage and lasting beauty inspired the creation of our leather journals and notebooks. These journals are made to be filled with your own family’s legacy and the story and memories of your family life.
But what is a legacy journal? In short, it’s a written record of memories, advice and instruction, a life story and collected wisdom. How can I create a legacy journal? You can start this on your own, or give a journal and a list of questions to your parents or grandparents to tell their stories.
A Grandparent Journal
We come to know our grandparents when they are already “old,” so it’s difficult to imagine them at younger ages. But as we age ourselves, an appreciation of those years lived before by our parents and grandparents emerges. As do questions about their own experiences.
This is a great place to start making a list of questions you’d like your grandparents to write about in their legacy journal.
Of course, these questions can spur great in-person conversations, as well, but seeing the answers in your grandparent’s trademark handwriting preserves the memory on an additional level.
Categories For Legacy Writing
It may help to have some categories to begin a legacy writing project. Here are some brief suggestions to get your creative juices flowing, and some legacy journal questions in each of those categories. We’ve also compiled these questions into a template that you can download for easy reference.
Younger Years, Oldest Memories
- Where did you live growing up? If you moved around, which place made the most impact and why?
- What are the most vivid memories from childhood?
- How did you celebrate your birthdays?
- Who were your best friends, and what was your favorite activity?
- What successes and failures made an impact on you when you were young? What did you learn from these experiences?
- Was there a family member you were closest to?
- Describe your school years.
- What classes were your favorites and why?
- Which subjects do you think everyone in our family should study?
- How did you meet your husband/wife?
- What was the most difficult situation you faced as a couple?
- What kind of work did you do and how did you end up there?
- Did you have any mentors? Talk about their impact.
- Describe the experience of having your children. What fears did you have?
- What are your favorite family-all-together memories?
- Were there any global events that shaped your life experience, and what were they?
- Describe the places you love to go and why.
- What daily rituals and habits have sustained you over the years?
- What about your life gives you the most joy now?
- What values did you learn from your parents? Describe 3 values that have guided your life?
- Give a word of advice for each of your grandchildren.
- Write down 3 life lessons that might be instructive for your children and their children.
- What would you say to your 20-year-old self, 40-year-old-self, 60-year-old self.
Send Your Love
- Describe an experience that brought unexpected joy and happiness.
- Write about the traditions and shared experiences with friends and family that you cherish.
- Be grateful: say something about each family member that brings you joy.
How Do I Give A Legacy Journal?
Either way, these questions can become the door to a flood of memories and stories. Who knew your Grandpa William had been the state golf champion in high school? Or that your 5- year-old mother had released the emergency brake on her father’s milk delivery truck while it was parked on a hill?
Leave a Legacy
But the beauty lies both in the writing and the reading. The written legacy book becomes a gift given back to future generations. Family ties assume connection, but often elder generations seem too distant to be relatable.
Legacy writing exposes deeper connections over generations. Did you know Grandma Kate had always wanted to get her Master’s degree, but was too busy with children? That’s why she has so many questions for her grandchildren about their college courses. She also tends to hover a bit over her grown daughter, just like you do with your youngest. Is that because they were both born 6 weeks prematurely?
Most treasured will be the life wisdom written into these legacy journals. What gems will we find to encourage our own living?