A journal is a great resource for genealogy. It is also a great resource for putting together your family history. As you read journals you learn about daily life, big events as well as small ones. It is a chance to really see inside someone’s mind. As you read other people’s journals you may learn things that you want to add to your own journal writing or it may inspire you to begin writing your journal.
As you write in your own journal you should be aware that it may be read by others at some point. This does not mean that you should leave out the bad things that happen to you or your negative reactions to things, but you should be sure to include a balance of both positive and negative. I tend to vent my feelings in my journal and I know that my children and grandchildren may wonder at my negative outlook on life. For this reason I make sure that I also include entries that focus on the positive and fun aspects of my life.
It is also important to provide enough information for your posterity to be able to figure out who you were. Include slice of entries to show what your daily life was like. You can and should talk about your emotions and reactions to major life changing events. I have a journal entry that records my reaction to 9-11. I also have entries reflecting back on becoming a parent and other important milestones.
In addition to recording your current life, you may want to spend some time outlining major events that have taken place up to this point. You can describe your family growing up, where you went to college, and how you met your spouse in addition to whatever life is throwing at you right now. This can fill in any wholes in your personal history and help to take the pressure off of you to write one.
Write in whatever format is most comfortable to you. A traditional journal on paper is good, but you may choose to blog or do an audio or video journal as well. Technology has given us many resources to record our personal histories.