History as a Tool for Collecting Family History
for the Iowa City Genealogical Society
January 28, 2006
by Leigh Ann (Jero) Randak
Johnson County Historical Society--351-5738
name updated 05 Sep 2010
Family Members About….
Family History/Family Stories
Help jump start/direct research
Take advantage while resource/opportunity is available
Add background to facts
Personal Stories about family members not written up in
Record family and individual sayings
Their own stories and don’t forget your own stories
For future generations of your family
Part of the history of their/your community
Can get information not found in any other place
Can be therapeutic for you and them
Taped interview—Audio or Video
Interview them/have someone interview you
Create tape on own
Help get your family members involved in oral history
Jot down notes over time on what to ask or talk about
Use photographs and objects to jog memory.
Interview different family members about the same thing.
Read published oral histories for ideas
Don’t be afraid to do several interviews.
· Consider with permission donating interviews you do to local historical societies
· Bring tape recorder or notebook to family reunions or get togethers.
What if they aren’t around anymore?
· Tape or write down what you remember about them or your interactions with them
· Do an interview with a child
· Record sayings and jokes
Interviewing Dos and Don’ts
When asking questions….
When listening to responses….
When looking back on your interview….
· Don’t expect a great interview every time.
· Do realize that each situation and each interview is unique.
· Do realize that all the instruction in the world is no substitute for practical experience.
DO HAVE FUN!