Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Talk To Them Now - Tuesday's Tip

Talk to Them Now - Tuesday's Tip

  One of the firs things I tell someone who is just starting out in their family history quest, is to talk to those they know in the family. And those who know more about your family are those you want to start with first. And that's the elderly.

  Starting out with the elderly is like a two-edged sword. You will gain wonderful insight and knowledge from these individuals who have seen history in the making! They have seen and met the people you will never know! They can relate things in history that you can never know of! But on the other side of that sword, is a second edge. Time is running out!

  I know, it's not something any of us like to think about. But it's the truth. Time is running out. Each day our elderly come closer to a time when either memory will be lost, or they will be gone. So, once you've decided to make this journey, that's why I urge you to start with them first.

  To make things easier, and simpler, I like to use a recorder. You can purchase a digital recorder for just a few dollars these days. They are unobtrusive, and you can interview without interruption of changing tapes, etc. (Yeah, that's how we did it in the old days, children! And I can even go back to when it meant reel-to-reel rather than tapes!And yes, I know, I'm ancient! But, listen to me! I know a few things!)

  Get them talking by asking some simple questions. When were you born? Where were you born? How many siblings? Where did you fit into the children - first, middle, last? Did you grow up in the country? City? Did you have chores to do as a child? What kind of parent was your mother? Father? What were your grandparents like? Did you have family reunions? Y

  Don't plan on setting a time limit. Let them talk as long as they will! But, please do watch for fatigue! If you notice that they are getting tired, please stop, and tell them you will pick up where you left off in a day or two.

  FamilySearch.org  has some wonderful information on their website. Here are two appendices that I really think would help you in in garnering this information.

Appendix B—Open-Ended Questions

This is only a preliminary list of questions you can ask in an interview. The kinds of questions will vary depending on your circumstances and the person you interview. Modify the questions or add to them according to your needs.  A very comprehensive listing of questions (hundreds) can be found in the article Creating a Personal History.
• What is your earliest memory?
• What were some of your family’s traditions?
• What was the happiest day of your life?
• Tell a story your mother or father told you when you were young.
• What places have you visited?
• What family heirlooms do you have?
• What childhood games did you play?
• Tell about a childhood hiding place.
• What were Sundays like when you were growing up?
• Describe your feelings or testimony of Jesus Christ. How did you gain that knowledge?
• What prayers have you had answered?
• Describe the most serious illness or accident that you have had.
• Do you remember any of your grandparents? Any great-grandparents? What were their names? What were they like?
• What were your siblings like?
• What trips or vacations do you remember?
• What special events took place in your neighborhood while you were growing up?
• What was your hometown like?
• What were politics like there?
• How many people were in your family? Describe each family member.
• What kinds of household chores did you do as a child? Which did you enjoy? Not enjoy?
• What aunts, uncles, or cousins do you remember? What were they like?
• Tell about family traditions for holidays and birthdays.
• Did you belong to any clubs or social groups? What were they like?
• What were your favorite childhood activities?
• Did you serve in the military? If so, where and when? What was it like?
• What special school memories do you have? Who were your favorite teachers?
• What challenges did you face as a child?
• What challenges have you faced as an adult?
• How did you first meet your spouse?
• How did your father spend his time?
• How did your mother spend her time?
• Tell about ancestors you know about—names and dates and any stories about them.
• What are the names of your children? What are their birth dates, where were they born, and what were the circumstances of their births, and their lives?
• Tell about some of the most notable people in your hometown.
• Tell about some of your neighbors as a child, as a youth, and as an adult.
• What changes have you seen in your lifetime in technology, society, politics, and so on?
• Tell about the house in which you live. Where else have you lived?
• Tell about the house you lived in during your childhood. Do you remember addresses or phone numbers?

Appendix C

When recording an interview, regardless of the format being used, it is important to respect the person’s personal rights of privacy. Most people will not mind you sharing the content of their interview with you. However, it is always good to make sure that you have the interviewee’s permission to share their comments with others.
Below is a sample of a contractual agreement you could use when interviewing a family member. The purpose of this contractual agreement is to inform the person being interviewed that the content of their interview may be shared with others. This could be in written from, such as a written history that has been published or photocopied. Or it could be posted in electronic format on a family website on the internet.

I_________________________________(name of the person being interviewed), hereby give my
permission to____________________________ (name of the person conducting the interview)
to use the transcript of the interview I took part in on _____________ (date the interview took place) for any purpose, including sharing the text, audio, or video recording to interested family members, historical societies, universities, or published Web pages.
____________________________________________________________ Signature of person being interviewed
____________________________________________________________ Signature of person conducting the interview

****DISCLAIMER: The two appendices above are taken from "https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Creating_Oral_Histories", 
  I do hope that you find this information helpful. You can read more about obtaining those much needed interviews on the FamilySearch.org website.

  If you have found this information helpful, please let us know in the comments below. And don't forget to share this article on your favorite social media site! Share buttons are located to the left of this article.

No comments: