Almost always include:
Names, dates and places of events and experiences important in the life of the writer
May also include:
Details of day-to-day life
The writer’s personal opinions and perspectives, concerns and priorities, thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams
Facts and dates about relatives and neighbors
Interesting views of historical happenings that were current events to them (e.g., wars, elections, epidemics, etc.)
Background information about living conditions, prices, etc.
Family records of all types are generally found using the same tactics. These listed here apply to journals, photos, Bibles, as well as other family records: In your own home – attics, closets, basements, bookshelves, etc.
In the homes of your known relatives
In the possession of distant cousins located through research
In libraries, archives, genealogical and historical societies, and other specialized collections
In antique shops, used book stores and flea markets, especially near the residence of the subject
Through websites designed to reunite diaries, photos, Bibles and other memorabilia with the families from which they were separated
"See the list of recommended
family records links for specialized websites for particular record types"
To find dates of life events to further research
To find names of family members, neighbors and others who interacted with your family
To gain insight into the personality of your ancestor
To put your ancestor’s life into context time- and history-wise
To cull interesting details or excerpts for a family or personal history you are writing
To find clues of medical conditions that may continue to affect your family today