Recording Oral Histories

Recording Oral Histories

13th December 2021 0 By admin

In the last 2 years several senior members of the family passed away and this got me thinking how do you record your history? Is all very well to go to Churches, check genealogical records, do DNA Tests, or build family tree etc… So, what’s missing?

A big part of what makes a family and family history are Oral histories which are an important genealogical tool. You can learn so much from them. Even more importantly, they give you an entirely unique perspective on history and life in general from that particular person.

You can’t find this information in written records or archives. You should do as many oral histories as possible, and how to best preserve them for future generations.

While compiling oral histories from the oldest relatives in your family, you may want to think about doing them for the younger ones, as well. This is something that is not traditional and not much has been done in the past, as oral histories were seen as something that people would give once they were elderly and had long tales of historical value to tell.

But, if you think about it, an oral history is a glimpse at the world according to one particular person.

Since people change throughout their lives, their perspectives, and beliefs, and even ways of speaking and describing things change with them.

Imagine how interesting it would be to future generations to enjoy the perspective of modern times from the point of view of a young person, a child, a teen, a middle-aged person, or someone else who was younger than elderly.

Such perspectives would be excellent and valuable additions to your family tree, You could take oral histories from as many people in your family as you can, of all ages, and put together an excellent genealogy book full of fascinating and unique perspectives of all the present-day generations for future generations to enjoy.

Future family generations will have a rich history available to them, once you have decided your oral questions, given the interview, and transcribed it, you must decide how you will preserve it. That is key, is always best to keep an audio and a written copy. People have their own way in reading or listening to recordings.

The possibilities are wide open with oral histories. This is the time to become innovative with them. It is only a shame that no one did any of these interviews with more people from the past.

When preserving the audio recording means that you are preserving your elderly (or young) relative’s voice, including the sound of it, their accent, their manner of speaking or phrasing things, any vocal idiosyncrasies of theirs, and the emphasis they put on certain words or entire recollections. The vocal recording gives a more authentic version of the way your relative felt about the things he or she was discussing. This is a valuable historical item.

Take note of what questions were asked, as well as what wasn’t asked that you would have liked to have known. This will allow you to put together the best possible list of questions for doing your own oral histories with your relatives, both the elderly and the young.

So, What are you waiting for?