As the holidays tend to draw family members together, why not take the time to record family history interviews?
In fact, don't wait to get together. Use the "speakerphone" option on your telephone to pull in the voice of a distant relative!
- Use your computer's microphone or a hand-held digital voice recorder.
- Use the free Audacity (for Windows) free software to record and edit sound.
- Use your cell phone's video recording option for a short "clip".
- Bring your digital video camera to the family get-together and editing using the free movie editing software than came with your Mac or PC.
- Obviously the "oldest" ancestor.
- Recall the "olden days" with your siblings.
- Your children.
- Your grandchildren.
IDEAS FOR DISCUSSION
- About.com's Genealogy Guide, Kimberly Powell suggests Fifty Questions for Family History Interviews.
- DearMYRTLE: Questions for Personal & Family History Interviews (with suggestions from three of her readers.
- Elizabeth M. Bentley writes The WHY of Oral History Interviews.
- Family Tree Magazine weighs in with suggestions for Oral History Interviews.
- JewishGen has a generic-looking page with great ideas titled Oral History Interview, Questions & Topics.
- RootsWeb provides a Script for Video or Audio Interviews with Family Members.
- ScrapbookScrapbook.com also has 50 Family History Interview Questions
BEFORE YOU GO
Ol' Myrt here recommends bringing a few old family pictures to get the conversation going. Focusing on the pictures during a video interview can take the pressure off of those you are interviewing.
Plan to keep your questions "open-ended" to encourage more than a yes or no response. Rather than ask an elderly woman her birth date, why not ask about her earliest childhood recollections.
Have fun, and cherish the differences of opinion and the generation gap. You'll treasure the moments you manage to catch on tape.
Happy family tree climbing!
Your friend in genealogy.
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© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.
This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.