How to Pass Down a Magical Oral History

History is a chorus of voices and everyone deserves a chance for their voice to be heard by future generations. The human voice is an amazing thing with a full range of subtleties that give us our unique identity. 

When listening to an audio recording of a loved one something magical happens. Their unique accent, dialect and personality captures our attention immediately. Their unique tone of voice resonates deep within our subconscious and compels us to lean in to hear what they have to say.

It doesn't matter if the loved one is a good speaker or storyteller. What matters is the genuine way they express themselves and the message they want to convey in their own words.

If you are fortunate enough to have an old audio recording of an ancestor in your possession you should have it digitized immediately before it deteriorates beyond repair. These precious heirlooms should be preserved as legacy assets that grow in value with each generation. Moreover, there usually comes a time in our busy lives when we finally pause to learn about our past. When the time comes to learn about our ancestors, only those who have left a fascinating piece of their history will be there to inspire and enrich.

We are already ancestors. It's just a matter of time. The question is, will you be remembered as a birth and death date on the family tree or will your voice be heard by future generations when they want to learn how life was lived in your day? 

All you need to start recording your oral history is the audio recorder built into your smart phone and a special person to engage in a legacy conversation. This could be a spouse or partner, your children, grandchildren, a close friend or a trusted advisor. 

Knowing the right questions to ask and when to ask them will make it easy to get the conversation flowing. Here are a few examples and tips:

  • Start by talking about departed loved ones and ancestors, which acts as an icebreaker and helps to overcome humility by talking about someone else. For example,
  • What do you know about your great grandmother?
  • What did your grandfather do for a living?
  • What faith, if any, did your grandparents practice?
  • Transition to talking about your childhood.
  • What was your neighborhood like growing up?
  • What kind of student were you?
  • Who was your favorite teacher and why?

As stories begin to emerge they'll remind you of others that can perpetuate a compelling conversation that reveals the scope of legacy stories yet to be told. This is the moment when you realize the enormity of the treasure you possess and how valuable it can be. When this happens you'll be on your way to joining history's chorus of voices. making a difference for generations to come.

Upload your recordings to the Oral History section in the website. Or, download the free mobile app to record your oral history in pictures. 


2017 President's message and welcome
Barbara Wilson


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