Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Saving Memories Forever - REVIEW

Many of us treasure the stories of our family and friends.  The memories of childhood, the reminders of things long forgotten. Time slips by, stories are forgotten, voices fade, memories dim.  Saving Memories Forever was created out of the desire to keep those stories alive, in their original voices.  Written stories hold the details, but they lack the emotion, the energy, the highs and the lows that seep through inflections and changes in the spoken words.

This handy little app and website combo can help ANYONE with access to a recording device and a computer become a record keeper of some of those beloved stories and tales.  The app itself is intended for use on either the iPhone or an Android based phone (certain specifications apply, of course. Some of us still have dinosaurs for smart phones and technology is moving along faster than we are!).  To use the program, you simply download the app to your hand held device, register your account online, and start recording and uploading the stories as they happen. 

The creators of this program shared with us that they learned at a genealogy conference that 40% of the people alive today will leave no record of themselves....did you read that?!?! 40%!  To me, that is huge.  The memories I have of my grandparents and others who have passed on already in my life are very special, I can't imagine if I had nothing available to me to remind me of them and share their stories with others.

Harvey and Jane Baker took this to heart and set to work, after realizing what they were lacking in their own desire to record family history.  Their website was released in June 2012, the iPhone app was released in August 2012, and the Android app in November 2012.  They took great care in organizing some clear tutorials on their website, a user's guide, and even a video.  Your audio files can be categorized, tagged, shared with others.  They set up the program so that you may record and upload an "audio biography", and then share the link so that others can appreciate that same recording. 

There are some pretty cool features available with this program: 

  • There is a free version as well as a monthly subscription for $3.99 or yearly subscription for $40. The free version is more limited, but gives you a good taste of the possibilities!
  • They took great care to create a question list or "story starters" that you can print off and keep handy or use right from the app.  These also help categorize the stories so you can remember Uncle Joe's story about school and go look for it under the "school" themed category of childhood.
  • They have some AMAZING customer service!  I have been emailing back and forth with Harvey trying to get my "semi-smart, smart phone" to work as the program is intended, and he has given me great insight, ideas, and tools to make the app and program work even if my phone won't. 
  • A facebook page full of genealogy tidbits and news.You can also find their blog, twitter, and a regular newsletter for more info and updates!
  • You can "manage" your files and delete those you do not like from the website.  
  • You can add photos and biographical info about your various storytellers (and the opposite is true of them as well, you can simply leave some parts blank if you have concern for privacy on the internet!  I had this concern myself with some of the info when I am just "trying" something new, and it worked even with blank data fields).
  • Should "forever" not really happen, and the unthinkable happen, the website allows you do download all of your files for saving with the paid apps.  You can find more info on the Free vs. Fee page about what each subscription offers.

This low cost, affordable program is a great tool for genealogists everywhere, dabbler, novice, mom who wants to keep memories, or professional.  My only regret with this program so far is that not one member of my household has willingly been recorded, aside from my own silly test recordings of myself.  I have tried recording a couple of little people to share with family, but they all get shy as soon as the "record" button is pushed. 

I will say that even with my nuisance phone, the app is easy to use, relatively easy to work around, and easy to understand.  I look forward to using it more in the future and am thankful to have had this opportunity.  I am excited about the gift possibilities within my family, and the ideas that were shared with us on how to use this program are pretty much endless...from recording those silly little mispronunciations of your preschooler to "pass the phone" at a family reunion, this app is going to be a hit amongst the family history enthusiasts that I know!


  1. I thought the customer service was OUTSTANDING as well...

    1. I was thrilled with the lengths that they went to in order to try to help me! Being such a new company, they are sure getting off on the right foot with that part of their business!