How to Encourage Family Members to Tell Their Life Stories
We all have a story or two to tell. But when we are met with resistance from relatives who are too bashful to tell us the stories of their lives, it can create holes in our family history research that can often result in empty family tree branches.
Conducting oral history interviews with your older family members is that important when it comes to your family history research. The memories your relatives have of their own lives hold a good amount of historical importance — even if family members don’t think their lives were particularly interesting! In fact, oral history interviews can sometimes lead to the discovery of ancestors you never knew about in the first place. But if you don’t record these stories now, they could be lost forever.
So how do you get your older relatives talking about their lives? The following oral history prompts and tips may just jog the memories of your older relatives so you can capture and collect their important stories.
Tips and Questions for Capturing Your Mother’s Life Story
Photo credit: Dan Dalton/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Mother’s Day is just around the corner! And if you’re still looking for the perfect gift to make mom feel special, you don’t have to look any further than your own family tree. It’s true! But how will this make mom feel special, you ask?
Because this Mother’s Day, you can make your family history research all about mom by taking the time to begin preserving her life story with an oral history interview designed just for her. Capturing the story of your mother is an important part of documenting your family history — and one you certainly don’t want to miss before it’s too late.
This article will offer you the best oral history questions to ask mom (or grandma!), plus tips on how to prepare for the interview and preserve her stories.
Guest Article by Lisa Lisson, Genealogist & Family Historian
“No one is interested in my story.”
“Me? I was just a housewife.”
“Our family did not do anything special.”
“Our family never had much.”
These are some of the responses I received when I began asking my grandmother (at the time in her late 80’s) about her life and family history.
So, I got a little sneaky. I pulled out the family photographs and asked her help in identifying the individuals.
When it comes to researching your family history, there are no better sources for information than those who actually lived it. And not only have your older relatives actually lived through many of the events you’re researching, but they’ll have stories and insights that you could never find anywhere else.
So it would definitely be in your best interest to reach out to your older relatives now and begin to learn everything about their lives. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to revisit the past, and you’ll learn new things about your family while becoming closer to it in the process.
When talking to your relatives and building an oral history of your family, here are a few tips to keep in mind: Continue reading