13 January 2007

Interviewing relatives about family history

Are you considering interviewing relatives about your family's history?

If your relative is elderly, don't procrastinate in making contact - you will regret it forever if you are too late.

According to this story, there are some ways NOT to do it.

The author discusses undesirable interview styles it describes as 'ambush', 'que sera sera', 'I'll remember everything', 'marathon' and 'accusatory.'

Positive steps to take include preparing a list of questions that will elicit more than monosyllabic yes or no answers (remember, rambling can produce good information), phoning first to make an appointment, keeping sessions a reasonably compact length for seniors and making sure you have camera, tape and video recorders to capture the moment.

Another good suggestion is to have your questions ready even before you make that first call, since your relative may want to talk right then and there.

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