Recently, there has been considerable discussion amongst people in the personal history realm about the subject of legacy letters (sometimes called ethical wills). What are these? Basically, they are documents in which individuals share the important values, lessons, and stories they wish to pass on to those who are important in their lives. Such documents may well become the most cherished and meaningful gifts a person can give to family, friends or community.
What is the point of legacy writing? Rachael Freed, who wrote a book titled “Your Legacy Matters – Harvesting the Love and Lessons of your life” (MinervaPress, 2013) sums it up nicely when she says:
“Reflecting on, clarifying, and documenting a legacy is an important component of a life well lived. Its major purpose is to gather, preserve, and communicate values, wisdom, and love for future generations. Components may include family history and story, values and life-lessons, blessings and gratitude, appreciation and love.”
Many of my personal history colleagues offer workshops to assist individuals to begin the process of reflecting on, clarifying and documenting their legacies. In this same vein, I will be offering a short, three session workshop entitled Documenting Your Legacy of Wisdom, through UVic Continuing Studies. This workshop will start on November 14th. Details are available in the UVic Continuing Studies calendar (p. 15) or at
This will be the first time I have offered this workshop and I am truly looking forward to it.