Grandview 1st Ward
Family History Letter
Gathering and Recording Information From Family
First of all I would like to thank Janet Gundry for her wonderful presentation on how to conduct a interview. Some of the high points were:
- Recording (both audio and video). Some of these recording may be the last thing you will hear from your relative. It will be very valuable to you as time goes on. Take notes, record their personal stories.
- She related stories were she was feeling impressed she needed to go and interview this person. Don't neglect these feelings, because you may find that the opportunity may be gone because that person has passed away. As you prepare to follow this impression, pray for guidance on how you should approach this person or persons.
- You may find that as you are impressed to go and research something about, for example your father, you may not find anything you can use, but may find something on the father's brother.
- Stories are so valuable. Record the stories for your posterity. Janet gave a great story about Donkey Ball. I presume it is a lot like base ball except when you are able to hit the ball, you then have to go ride the donkey standing on the side of the field around the bases-which is not the easiest thing. The interviewed relative said it was a lot of fun.
- Priceless Pictures. Once you can obtain them, copy them and get them bound together with stories. One heart felt story was when her brother was killed at 15 when he was involve in a motorcycle accident, the man that hit him stood by his coffin and was weeping. The older brother told a story of seeing his mother go over to the man, put her arm around his waist, and comforting him, saying that”It was not your fault, it was an accident.” Then Janet stated that she felt that the mother realized just as much as this tragedy would haunt the family for a long time, it would also haunt the man that hit her son. You can use businesses like Mixbook (where you can have multiple people on at the same time working on the book in different locations) to publish you pictures and thoughts. Other companies include Costco, WalMart, and Shutterfly.
- Finally, she stated she prepared some questions to go out with, and then let them just talk.
Julie Du Mond presented the lesson via Power Point. Some of the lesson's highlights were:
Interviewing Family Members. Julie showed two great videos about how to interview a family member. Some of us found that we had performed interviews unprepared when going through the interviews. Some helpful guidelines include:
- Prayerfully ask for guidance in who and what you should ask the family member about. You can use the sample questions in the back of your book, see Appendix B.
- Contact the family member and introduce yourself, explaining that you are related to them and are wondering if you could set up a time to come and speak about your common ancestors.
- Prepare for the interview. Write down questions you want to ask. Avoid using yes or no questions. (See Appendix B for some examples.)
- As you gather the information, complete the family family group worksheets and pedigree charts. Let them know that you will be happy to share this information with them, having them help you to make sure it is correct.
- Come prepared with pencils, papers, questions for the interview, tape recorders, video recorders, cameras and documents you want to review. Julie made a good point to try and place the audio recorder out of sight, or if video recording, place the camera out of sight. Then sit with the family member so you are their focus, not the recorder. Some people are shy about being recorded.
- If you are interviewing an oral historian or village elder, learn about the proper ways to work with him or her.
- Don't be in a hurry. Give people ample time to respond.
- Ask about family records, (such as a family Bible), certificates, or photographs. Ask permission to make copies, Take photographs or video footage of the items if you can.
- If the person's closest relative if any of your deceased ancestors who were born in the last 95 years, ask the person's permission for the ancestors to receive temple ordinances
Finally, use the information to update your records. Make out transcripts or reports of your interview, being sure to record the date and place of the interview. Ask the person you interviewed to read the report and make corrections. Ask for permission to copy the report and distribute it to the family members. Give a copy to the person you interviewed.
Tip of the Week:
Remember when doing research, keep notes on the research you have done on that person. Professional genealogist state that if you don't, you most certainly will end up doing the same research again and again, wasting you efforts.
Quote of the day: Remember, today is history tomorrow!
Next week will be a workshop, so bring your tablets or laptops if you have them.
If you are having any problems, or questions, please call or email us. We are happy to set up a time and meet with you in your homes to help you with any problems.
Family History Consultants
Joel H. Du Mond III