Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Value of an Oral History

One are of family history that is often overlooked is the need to preserve the memories and experiences of the older members of our families. If you feel that doing your "genealogy" is overwhelming, then think about your oldest relatives and record their oral histories. You can do this by telephone or in person.

The first step is to realize that you probably already have a perfectly adequate recording device. If you have a smartphone, you can use its recording capabilities to record a good quality sound file of your relative's stories and memories. If you want a little better quality, there are a whole spectrum of small, pocket-sized, digital recorders that do an excellent job of recording both speech and music. These digital recorders come from a variety of manufacturers and cost from around $30 to many hundreds of dollars. There is no need to buy an expensive device, the less expensive ones work perfectly well.

If you are wondering what to ask, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of websites with list of interview questions. For a start, see the webpage entitled Steps to an Oral History Interview on

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