Welcome to this week’s episode in this fantastic series on How to Scrapbook Your Life Story from Kylie Moore of KylieM Designs. Enjoy this segment and if you missed the previous episodes, the links are just below. Once again, Kylie has a free QuickPage to help you get started. See below for the link.
Welcome to week five of Scrapping Your Life Story.
Welcome to the next part of our series on ‘Scrapping Your Life Story’. Over the first three weeks I gave you a number of pointers or starters, for scrapping pages with information that you may not have thought to include. Dating stories, reminiscing about that first job, and thinking about the relationships in your family.
Well this week we are going to start looking at Oral Histories, and their importance in opening up the past.
I remember as a child, sitting down and listening to my Great-Grandmother tell us of her memories. It amazes me the changes in our world that our Great Grandparents and Grandparents have lived through, and learning about their perspectives is a valuable addition to your lifestory. We want to make sure that we don’t lose these stories, they are so important and much more important in many ways than the official history books.
So here are a few tips to get you started on tracking down those fantastic stories as part of your family history.
- Find out as much as you can about the relationship of the older people in your ‘family’ that you wish to interview. They may not be direct family members, but second cousins, even neighbours and family friends that have been part of your lives. If you can find out the lineage, where they fit in your family, beforehand it can help you know what questions to ask.
- Establish a rapport, if the person you are interviewing is not someone you know well it may take one or two visits or phone calls before they are happy to start sharing intimate details of their lives. It is important to give plenty of advanced warning about what you want to do and why.
- If possible, have some old photos as starters. I know I have plenty of old photos that have my Dad, or other family members in, but I really do not know any details. Recently a visit with an older Aunt gave me so many more details of what was happening in the photos, silly things that may have slipped my Dad’s memory.
The photo above was taken in London, obviously. But before it was taken my Auntie had taken my Dad to the London Zoo and lined up for hours to catch a glimpse Chi Chi the panda. They had finally reached their turn, and my dad said “seen it, now what”. I love this, all this from a photo that had nothing to do with Panda’s, but added such richness to the story.
- Have some pre-prepared interview questions, have them written and organized in subject area, and chronological order. It will help you keep on track, and also see where maybe you missed things. Multiple visits are very likely to be needed.
- Make sure your questions are open-ended, ask about relationships, or what they remember about events.
- Don’t feel you need to fill quiet moments with chatter, your interviewee could just be thinking back. Chatting, or trying to fill those moments could break that train of thought and you may miss something.
- Find out about family treasures, ask to see them, ask to photograph them. Make sure you record all the details, all the who, what, how, where when details.
- And lastly enjoy it, savour the details you are gathering. I find there is nothing more enjoyable than taking in all those wonderful stories that have helped to shape our family.
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You can read more of Kylie’s work and check out her designs at KylieM Designs. Stay tuned for Part Four next week. Note: Kylie no longer maintains My Digital Life so I’m afraid all the links to her site are now disabled. But you can still follow her series by clicking on the episode links above