Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Most ancestors from the distant past are, at best, names in the family Bible leaving behind a few grainy photos, a death certificate or a record from Ellis Island. But J. Peder Zane writes that retirees today have the ability to leave a cradle-to-grave record of their lives so that 50, 100, even 500 years hence people will be able to see how their forebears looked and moved, hear them speak, and learn about their aspirations and achievements. A growing number of gerontologists also recommend that persons in that ultimate stage should engage in the healthy and productive exercise of composing a Life Review. In response, a growing number of businesses and organizations have arisen to help people preserve and shape their legacy — a shift is helping to redefine the concept of history, as people suddenly have the tools and the desire to record the lives of almost everybody. The ancient problem that bedeviled historians — a lack of information about people's everyday lives — has been overcome. Stefani Twyford, who creates video biographies through her company, Legacy Multimedia says many of her clients are baby boomers who wanted to record their own parents’ lives. “There is a real sense that we can finally get these stories down and they want to act before it’s too late." One of John Butterfield’s daughters hired Twyford to make a DVD about his life for his 80th birthday. “They videotaped me and they talked to relatives and friends,” recalled Mr. Butterfield, who is now 87. “Now, everyone they taped except my brother is dead. It told me to hurry up.” New devices and technologies are certain to further this immortality revolution as futurists are already imagining the day when people can have a virtual conversation with holograms of their ancestors that draw on digital legacies to reflect how the dead would have responded. “People have always wanted to connect with other people and see that they have touched others, and made a difference,” Twyford says. “What’s changed is that we now have the tools to record and share their legacy, forever.”"
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