Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where to start with an oral history

We are getting most of our extended family together this weekend for a family event. So I have been thinking about oral histories. Here is an article we posted to our newsletter earlier:

When you gather your family, don't forget the tape/video recorder.
Here are some questions to ask around the table.

What was the biggest turning point in your life? Looking back, how would you have dealt with it if you had known what you know now?

How did you get your name/nickname?

Is there anything you have always wanted to do and haven't?

What was the greatest time of joy in your life?

How would you describe your sense of humor? What is your all-time favorite joke? What was your all-time favorite practical joke?

What was your favorite family tradition as a child? Favorite vacation?

What personality traits do you admire and how have you tried to develop those traits?

What do you think is the most important guideline that youth should follow today?

How did you meet Grandma/Grandpa? What do you remember most about your courtship? How did your parents meet?

What was your most embarassing moment?

What message would you like to leave your descendants?

For more personal history questions and information on collecting oral histories, go to:
Or try the easy to use software Personal Historian.

Have fun thinking up your own questions as well. And just make sure you capture the conversation for posterity.

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