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EDITIONS
Friday, 31 January, 2003, 19:08 GMT
Firm offers to tell family's stories
Singer
Telling life stories has become a business idea

Proving that you do not have to be a celebrity to have a book written about you, a firm from Neath is offering people the chance to start in their own work of literature.

The Lifestory Company has imported a popular American idea of compiling personal biographies.

It's an oral history really - it's a legacy for a family with very personal stories

Rachel Howells, Lifestory company

It is a commercial venture based on family memories and is finding its first customers in Wales.

For a fee of anything up to 3,000, the firm writes write personal biographies for its customers.

The three-person team conduct an interview and collate photographs in order to produce a book.

There is a range of products to suit most pockets because the company wants everyone to be able to leave such a legacy.

Sian Jones, Lifestory Company client
Sian Jones: 'Good idea'

Sian Jones, one of the company's first customers, wants to document her mother's life and the influence it had on her and others:

"It should really have been my mum writing this book - all our reminiscences will be the bits of the jigsaw," she said.

"And stories that she used to tell me have sort of now been consolidated in bits of paper so it's quite nice."

I imagine it would be something which people in the US would go a lot more for than we would in this country

Rosemary Davies, archivist

Rachel Howells, the creative manager of the fledgling company, does the interviewing.

She said it was not the sort of history that follows every branch of the family tree.

"It's all living history, you know, it's all the things you remember rather than going out and doing research in the books," she said.

"It's an oral history really - it's a legacy for a family with very personal stories," she added.

Family history book
Family history is turned into a book

The company, which featured on BBC2W's programme The Biz, has chosen to start up in Wales because it firmly believes that the Welsh are a nation of storytellers.

Rosemary Davies, principal archivist at the West Glamorgan Archive Service, thinks the idea of creating personal biographies can be a useful tool in researching family histories.

"I think the idea in itself is a sound one, but I don't think it's the full story when we're talking about family history," she said.

"It's an add-on to it and it's something that would be lovely to have as a basis to start researching family history properly"

The idea is big business in America, which is hardly surprising given the immigrant history of the country, but Ms Davies thinks it might take longer to take off here in Wales.

"I imagine it would be something which people in the US would go a lot more for than we would in this country," she said.


More from south west Wales
See also:

05 Nov 02 | Wales
23 Jun 02 | Entertainment
25 Oct 00 | Wales
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