The Oral History Project

I‘ve decided to start an oral history project and I would encourage you to do the same.  Our older relatives have priceless memories and it is not too soon to start collecting them.

My maternal grandfather was a gifted, natural storyteller.  He could spin a tale with such vivid details that his listeners were riveted.  I always wanted to capture his stories on paper or tape, but I thought I had plenty of time.  He passed away almost three years ago, but he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 10 years ago.  By the time I realized it was too late, well, it was way too late.  I will always regret that I waited.

My maternal grandmother has recently been diagnosed with this same, horrible disease.  However, she is currently losing only the day-to-day details;  I think there is still time to capture her memories of childhood, growing up, her parents and grandparents, young adulthood, etc.  I usually visit her on Sundays, so I plan to start documenting these memories.

With today’s technology, I can record our conversations, download them to my computer, and I will have audio files as well as transcriptions and source notes for narrative stories.  I have found some great resources for interview questions to prompt her memory.

In addition to interviewing my granny, I plan to interview both my paternal grandparents, my parents, and possibly other family members.  This is a rich source of data that will add color and depth to my genealogy research.  After all, it’s not just about dates and names, it’s about people and their lives.

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