Have you considered conducting oral history interviews as part of your genealogy research, but weren’t sure how to get started? This article makes it easy by providing you with a guide that offers step-by-step instructions for preparing for the interview, an outline of topics for discussion, a multi-generation pedigree chart, and family history worksheets. (Free, downloadable resources available at the end of this article.)
Oral history interviews are your opportunity to verify information you have, fill in missing details, and gather and preserve a wealth of stories, thoughts and feelings of your family members.
Where you hold the conversation can be anyplace: at someone’s home or your house, a family reunion, through email exchanges, Zoom video conference or FaceTime, while on a family trip to visit relatives, over the phone, or even through remote journaling. Whatever works best for both parties.
Whom to interview first is situational for each family, perhaps start with someone who lives close-by, your oldest relative or someone whose health or memory is starting to fail. Occasionally, you can capture the oral histories of two people at once, like sitting down with your grandparents or a pair of aunts.
Words of wisdom from generations of family researchers
- Do it now! Before the memories fade or are lost forever.
- Don’t procrastinate, get your first interview scheduled today.
- Don’t have regrets by thinking you have plenty of time. The day will come when the opportunity you wish you had taken will pass you by.
Hopefully, you’ll have enjoyable experiences conducting your interviews and leave with many fond memories to share.
These FREE, downloadable resources from AncestryBirdDog.com will help you get started today!
- Four Generation Pedigree Chart
- Family Group Worksheet
- Oral History Interview Guide & Conversation Outline