Webinar: Tips for Interviewing Relatives (American Ancestors)

Title: “Tips for Interviewing Relatives”
Presenter: Stephanie Call, Associate Director of Archives and Education at Wyner Family Heritage Center at NEHGS
Date viewed: December 17, 2020 (1h)
Permalink: https://www.americanancestors.org/education/learning-resources/watch (or Youtube)


The oral tradition of a family is perhaps just as important as the evidence you find in document-based research. Even if you learn that not all of the details are 100% accurate, these stories provide important clues to begin—or continue—your research, give life to names and dates on a page, and may provide information not found in records. But how do you start the conversation, stay on track, and record the information provided? This webinar will offer some valuable tips and techniques for interviewing relatives—and suggest strategies for encouraging family to talk!

This was an excellent introduction to not only the practical side of interviewing relatives for family history info, but the ethical practices and considerations. Most of this was actually familiar to me from reading a book on recording oral history as part of my librarian past, but it was good to get an overview of how to come at it from a family historian perspective. A major resource provided was the Oral History Association, which itself has a lot of resources for people interested in recording and conducting oral history interviews.

The ending discussion of preparing files for archives made me realize that I need to organize my digital files not only for my own sanity, but for future people who may not be me.


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