Access Generations Blog

Personal History Interview Video

July 9th, 2009

This video is a brief Personal History Interview and a testimonial about the benefits of preserving your Life Stories, Life Lessons and Legacy.

Access Generations Personal History Interview with Leo from Marc Johnson on Vimeo.

River’s Edge Family Photo Sharing Project

February 27th, 2009

We are experimenting with using Google’s Picassa to create online family photo albums for members of the Legacy Story Circles program.  Click on this link, RiverSEdgeLegacyGroup, or the ones below to see the full size images.  I am hoping that by helping families use the internet, they can stay in touch and share so much.  Please contact me with any questions or suggestions.

From River’s Edge Legacy Group
From River’s Edge Legacy Group

In loving Memory of Mary Ann Merksamer

February 23rd, 2009

My mother was a wonderful woman who loved to entertain friends.  This is a birthday party in 2003.  At the start of the video she is showing off her book that we created together to tell some of the stories of her life.  I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane.  Marc Aaron

Ethical Wills Workshop Facilitator Training in Sacramento

February 20th, 2008

Ethical Wills expert, Barry K. Baines, MD is traveling from the east coast to teach local professionals techniques used in the creation of Ethical Wills. Learn more about Dr Baines and the training this weekend at I would like to thank Gail Catlin for organizing this event and for her ongoing support of personal history as well as the power of story to heal. I look forward to an enlightening weekend and the opportunity to bring what I learn to the people I work with as a personal historian. Check back soon to learn more.

Your personal historian, Marc Aaron

Your Access Generations Blog is here.

January 21st, 2008

First, I would like to dedicate this blog and website to my family and loved ones who have helped to make me who I am today. Without their guidance, support and love none of this would have been possible. Below is a picture of my grandfather Walter Merksamer and my mother Mary Ann Merksamer who were the two most important people resposible for giving me the opportunity and inspiration to become a Personal Historian.


I can remember a time when my Apple II e was a fixture in my room and my IBM compatible computer had a green screen. My computer didn’t connect to anything because there was nothing to connect to. War Games, a cheesy 80s movie, first showed me that you could connect your computer to a phone and that your computer would literally call another computer. This concept just blew me away.

I got my first email account through my university and used it for school a little bit and to stay in touch with my dad who was in Europe and my sister who was on the other side of the country. A cheap and quick way to stay in touch with people from all over the world.

My younger brother who is 6 years younger than me quickly took to the Internet and has been my Internet guru ever since. In fact, he has built the entire Access Generations website. I would like to thank him for all of his help and guidance as I have slowly learned to use the World Wide Web.

Signing off my first post as the premier Personal Historian blogger,

Marc Aaron Johnson

Update on KVIE’s The War Story Circles

September 28th, 2007

Atria at El Camino Gardens has become the first location to take part in KVIE’s The War Story Circles project. Staci Weisz, the engaged life director for atria, has done an amazing job of organizing and encouraging her community to create a fantastic legacy for generations to come. Through her own interest in the Veterans History project of the Library of Congress and the interest of the residents of Atria we are preserving, in their own words, what it was like to live through WWII. I am inspired and delighted by the respose from the residents of Atria to our call for volunteers to share their experiences of WWII with the world.

Thank you to Atria El Camino Gardens, Stacie Weisz and all of the participants in KVIE’s WWII The War Story Circles.

Assosiation of Personal Historians Conference

September 27th, 2007

In fall of 2007 the Association of Personal Historians held the annual conference in Nashville, TN.  This was my fifth conference and once again I was amazed by the scope of the work being done by my fellow Personal Historians.  I learned so much and was fortunate to have so many great people to discuss topical developments in the practice of creating personal historians.  If you are interested in finding out more, here is a video diary from the conference and you can also visit the Association of Personal Historians.

KVIE WWII writing circles begin Fall 2007

September 26th, 2007

     KVIE Sacramento public television station has sponsored the WWII writing circles as a community outreach program in conjunction with the release of the new Ken Burns documentary “The War”. KVIE has produced three local documentaries about WWII and the central valley area. To further reach into the community KVIE is sponsoring the collection and preservation of WWII stories of the men and women who lived during that time of conflict.
     Marc Aaron Johnson of Access Generations will lead writing circle groups at various senior facilities during the fall of 2007 and spring of 2008. At the end of the KVIE WWII writing circles we will collect excerpts from individual personal histories and place them in an anthology of WWII recollections.

Lifescapes writing groups beginning Fall of 2007

September 5th, 2007

     The Lifescapes writing programs will be starting in fall 2007 throughout the Reno-Tahoe area. This program is sponsored by the University of Nevada, Nevada Humanities, Washau County Library System, and friends of the library. Once again Marc Johnson of Access Generations will act as guest lecturer and guest facilitator. In the last seven years Lifescapes has grown from a humble one location and 25 participants to multiple locations and over 100 participants. Over 350 individuals have participated in preserving their personal histories and contributed to various anthologies ranging from “The bombing of Pearl Harbor” to “Magical Moments”. This years anthology is titled “Seasons of our Lives”.

May is Personal History month!!!

May 26th, 2007

     Access Generations encourages everyone to take some special time this month with some loved ones and reminisce about meaningful and memorable experiences in life. All it takes is a video camera, a tape recorder or just pen and paper to take notes. Put together a few ideas and all you have to do is let the recollection take place. Have a memorable Personal History Month!

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