Oral history interviews add a unique, invaluable dimension to family histories. Only through recorded interviews can you literally hear grandma’s voice as she is talking about her life and the lives of other family members. It is through her memories that you learn about her relationships, her community, her social interactions, her work, and what she valued in her life.
Only through oral history interviews do you acquire the unique perspectives, memories and descriptions of people, places, and events as witnessed by the family members you are interviewing. Once these people are gone so are their unrecorded memories.
The personal perspectives of your family members are just as important to your family history as are the facts you find through your genealogical research into public records. The book-based facts are vital to your family history, but it is the human voice and perspective that brings those facts to life.
Personal interviews of your family members turn what may otherwise become obscure names and dates into real people for future generations. They reveal the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind those names and dates, completing your family story in a way that no other genealogy-based research can do.
Start with the oldest members of your family. If that’s not possible you can record your memories and life experiences. First and foremost, do it now.
This is how we keep our family’s voices alive.