Oral History

I was reminded recently about the importance of Oral Histories; that is, recording the historical account of someone’s past by interviewing him or her.  Not only do we get the memories of our loved ones on tape, but we also get the memories of their emotions in the retelling.  These emotions can tell us so much; if they laugh when recounting a story…we know it is one that brought them joy at the time.  If they become quiet, or resist giving too much detail…perhaps we can assume that there is something about that particular memory or time that causes concern.  What is fantastic about oral histories is that we will always have them for future retelling, and so we can do this with accuracy.  How many times have you yourself tried to remember what your grandmother, or your father, told you about a certain time in their lives?  How many stories can you recount from family traditions that you know are probably a little inaccurate, and so you yearn to know what really happened.  Although the technology today means we will have more than enough oral histories in the future of genealogy, will those oral histories be telling us what we want to know?  We have to ask the right questions to get to the heart of our loved ones memories, and in turn, our ancestors’ lives.  Oh how I would love to have the voices of my grandparents on some kind of medium today; how I would love to hear them talking, reminding me of my childhood visits to them; how I would love to hear them talking of their own childhoods, their hopes and dreams and if those ever transpired into realities.  I remind myself continually that I need to record my own parents’ oral histories; I need their oral legacy, a keepsake of words and voices that will never cease to evoke the love we shared as a family.
Aug 5, 2015 | Posted by in Thoughts & more... | 0 comments