StoryPress app brings family history to life

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A simple request from Mike Davis’ 83-year-old grandmother inspired him to create StoryPress, a free iPad application that records personal memories.

Davis said after his grandmother acquired a new iPad, she asked him to find a recording app she could use. While there is no shortage of tape recording applications, Davis said he was dismayed to find most were just giant microphones with on and off switches.

“She said, ‘I have all of these stories about the Depression, World War II, the Holocaust—stories that I need to tell before I get too old and forget, so your children and grandchildren will have them,'” Davis said. “I realized none of these boring, generic tape recorders would do this project justice.”

Mike Davis said he was inspired to create the StoryPress app to capture the memories of his grandmother. (Courtesy Storypress)
Mike Davis said he was inspired to create the StoryPress app to capture the memories of his grandmother. (Courtesy Storypress)

StoryPress allows users to capture and organize voice recordings. Users can utilize “interview packets,” which provide prompts relating to various life events, or choose to freelance their interviews. Recordings are then organized behind covers and synced to an online cloud.

Following the initial success of the app, on Monday, April 1, Davis launched a Kickstarter campaign to publicize and fund StoryPress 2.0, which will allow users to integrate personal photos and music with their recordings.

While StoryPress is only available for iPads, Davis said by the end of the summer owners of android tablets and smartphones will be able to use the app too.

According to Davis, now is the prime time for college students to begin to record the stories of their parents and grandparents.

“They are at an age where they understand the importance of family history,” David said. “They’re at a point where their grandparents are probably still alive, probably still very cognizant and able to have conversations. The students themselves are old enough to understand that this heritage is important and it’s going to be lost one day if they don’t capture it.”

Jill Crandell, director of the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, said stories aid genealogical work by inspiring people to learn more about their family members, instilling them with the desire to pursue more information and ultimately provide ordinances for their ancestors.

“The stories are what make our family members come alive,” Crandell said. “When we realize that they’re real people who had real lives and challenges just like we do, it helps us to relate and to love them.”

BYU student Brandon Baird, a family history major, said there is no greater work than family history.

“As you learn about your family members, you really learn more about yourself,” Baird said. “For college students, just start small: set aside time to talk with your grandparents and hear their stories. You might be surprised what you find.”

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