Keep in touch with your past with a History Calendar

This is a technique I have described elsewhere but not on these forums, I don’t think. It’s not really a workflow as such, but seems to fit here, and I was prompted to write it having read another thread along similar lines.

I’m over 50 now and recently lost my father and this has all combined to make me VERY interested in my and my parents’ past. I’ve started writing a personal history and I’ve been getting more curious about my early years and my parents lives before I was around.

But there’s one thing I have been doing for a long time already that dovetails into this newfound thirst, and that is the subject of this post — my History Calendar.

I use Google Calendar but it works equally well with any service that lets you create multiple distinct calendars. I created a calendar simply called “History” and on this I record events from my past as “all day” calendar events that repeat yearly and typically have “9am on the day” reminders. I record the events on their original date and set the repeat, but I also put the original year in brackets in the title of the entry so it’s more visible on reminders or when looking at the calendar in apps.

It actually started when I stumbled across the receipt for my first iPhone (from 2008) and I recorded this in my calendar before throwing it out. I’ve since recorded a lot of other major Apple purchases, but also overseas trips for business and leisure, car purchases, when I quit Facebook (7 years in January!), when my first blog post went live, when my first podcast was released, purchase and sale of my (DSLR) cameras, family wedding anniversaries, major family medical events, when my cats came to us and when they passed away, and yes, when my father passed away and also the date of his funeral.

The goal of this calendar is twofold. First, I want to ensure that particularly the important dates are not forgotten — I can at least look them up easily — but also that all of these events stay in my consciousness because every year I get reminded of them.

I need to put a lot more in it based on what I’m finding out talking to Mum and capturing in my personal history. My oldest entry is currently some travel from 1997, but I have plenty more I can put in going back much, much further.


Very interesting use of the calendar. I have been keeping a text file of important dates in family history and update it with important milestones each month. So I have ancestor birthdays, marriages and a lot of genealogical stuff in there as well as mundane things like days we moved to a new house.

I had at one time started an aeon timeline document of these things but wanted the space to write more notes.

One that I’m exploring now as I try to document the stories that go with the things we have accumulated is I’m exploring using Obsidian for both the date notes and the info about the items.

We don’t have any children and I have some family heirlooms that need documentation and info when they pass on to the people scheduled to get them so they understand the history of them. In some cases it’s an institution that will get the items and they need the provenance of them so they can be cared for properly.

I hanve’t put nearly as many smaller details in like you have but I can see it’s a good idea.

thanks for sharing!

Would something like Day One be useful in this case?

This is a great technique! It’s also a a useful thing to do for parents. I made ‘milestone’ calendars for both of my children and now I get those reminders for things like first day of school, first steps, etc.

I also keep a daily journal in Day One which provides a bit of deeper insight and is also a good repository for things which aren’t quite milestones (like holidays).

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I use Evernote just for this, with a notebook called “memorabilia”

Calendar, Day One, Evernote, whatever! I just hope to inspire people to record the past (and the present which will become the past!) because I think it is so important.

I’ve so often in the past fallen into the trap of “Oh, I’ll remember that” and then completely forgetting. It happens in daily life (solved by To Do lists and calendar reminders) but also in my macro life with significant events.