An Atlas of Us

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An Atlas of Us: A new way to tell an old story

Chart your family history across generations. Memories, maps, and mixtapes – all in one virtual treasure chest...

This doc was originally made for my grandpa, who helped raise me and my brothers, after retiring from a career in marine navigation and immigrating to Canada with my parents in the 80s. For years, he'd tell us about what it was like growing up in China, spending a decade of exile in Taiwan, and rebuilding his family in Hong Kong.
My grandpa & ship mates
In 2016, I had the privilege of stepping into his past for a brief moment, during a visit to his hometown in China. While I captured a snapshot of that experience in photographs, I couldn’t help but wonder about the larger underlying narrative of these images.
As my grandpa approaches his late 90’s, I’ve been interested in new ways to document our family history in collaboration with relatives. Collaboration would be essential, in order to bridge generational gaps in knowledge, as well as language gaps.
I was searching for “a treasure chest in the cloud”, but for a long time, I struggled to find one... So, I built one from scratch, here in Coda.
If you’re interested in doing something similar for your family, feel free to use this doc as a blueprint for building a “treasure chest” of your own.
This doc is intended to empower the historians, the writers, the storytellers, the cartographers of your family, to discover the topography of your family journey and remember how far you’ve all come...
“To know who we are, is to know they were.” — Spielberg

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Thank you to all those who helped create this template!
Cover photo credit: Joanna Kosinska via Unsplash; Sample data: Adapted from the families of ‘This is Us’ (NBC Television)

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