October 26, 2011

Proust – Get To Know Your Clan

Family is the most important thing in life to many people, which is why it’s surprising how little some children know about their parents, grandparents, and distant relatives. The stories that define families need to be preserved if they’re going to last for generations, and Proust is a web-app that aims to help in that regard.

Proust is a storytelling tool that you can use to keep track of stories from your parents, grandparents, and elderly relatives. Start by telling your own story and describing a memory that makes you smile. In addition to a written answer, you can include photos, videos, and special files to help make your memory come to life. The stories you share online will be private and viewable only to those people you select. Once you’ve uploaded a bit of your own personal history, you can start inviting family members to join in. Select the specific questions or chapter of questions you’d like to your dad or grandmother to answer. Proust will send a message to the intended recipient asking him or her to answer the query, and you can respond by adding your own thoughtful message below their responses. As you invite more family members to participate and ask more questions of your loved ones, your story will grow and you’ll begin to see a revealing timeline of your family’s history. Eventually, you will have created a virtual storybook that can be flipped through just like a paperback novel.

Individual users can decide how public or private they want their family histories to be by using the web-app’s extensive privacy settings. Adding important files like scanned documents and personal essays, tagging family members who also use the service, and including relevant dates and location information for select events can also help enhance family stories. For family historians who want a better way to record and preserve their most precious memories, Proust is a really neat solution.

Practical Uses:

  • Preserve your family’s history for future generations
  • Never forget the stories your dad used to tell about his youth
  • Save all of your grandmother’s recipes in one place
  • Learn more about your grandfather’s time in the military

Insider Tips:

  • Individual family pages can be made public or private
  • Family stories can be turned into a timeline, a storybook, or placed on a map based on where each event took place
  • Users can select pre-made questions to ask their relatives or write their own
  • Photos and videos can be uploaded and added to any story

What we liked:

  • Proust offers a great way to archive important family information
  • The online format is great for relatives who live far away
  • Proust’s pre-made questions are excellent conversation starters
  • Users can comment on their relatives’ stories

What we didn’t like:

  • Some older relatives may not be comfortable typing their stories into Proust, especially if they aren’t familiar with social networking or email


Company Info:

  • Launched: July 2011
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Founded by: Tom Cortese and Jason Fotinatos
  • Web site:


  • Free

Submit a Comment