13 April 2017
Okay folks - no more excuses! We don't mind if you're having a bad hair day or feel a little shy. Make that start on recording your family stories and memories today. Helen Tovey knows it'll be something you'll be so pleased you did, and has a few little hints to help you begin...
It's so easy isn't it - to mean to ask your family those questions, to think what a good idea it'd be to record those family anecdotes, but somehow the opportunities come and go, and we don't get round to it.
So, without further ado, let's make sure we take the time to make a record of our family's unique and precious lives - the oldies in our family, the kids, and our own memories too.
First up, is deciding whether to record using video, audio or on paper.
Being all about preserving the family stories for the future at Family Tree, we say don't choose - use every option that's available to you.
Today, video is so accessible with the movie recording tools on smartphones. Audio, likewise using your mobile, is great for the really camera-shy. And good old paper never goes out of fashion.
Go to the link here to print off interview sheets.
Aggh - interview sheets!! - that sounds a bit scary doesn't it? But actually they come in really handy whichever way you plan to save those memories - think of them as prompts, questions to spark memories, and remind you of times gone by. You don't need to answer them all, dip in and out, write down or record things as they come to mind.
Now your memories are beginning to flow, the next thing is to decide where to film. You don't need to stage anything spectacular - it's your family, your lives - so why not 'keep it real' - that comfy chair, the kitchen sink, at the park, in the garden - any of these are fine. The main thing is that the 'sitter' feels relaxed, at ease and ready to tell their stories.
Tips to help your interviewee
- Reassure them that it's fine to take their time, to record several takes.
- Remind them how much they might have wished that they'd got recordings of their parents and grandparents - something to treasure. No Steven Spielberg productions are required! It's your family's lives you wish to record.
- Use props: if you have old photo albums, get them out, get talking about them. There is nothing like old photos for reminding us of people, places and times gone by.
Lastly, have fun!
Even if you spend just 10 minutes this coming long weekend, making a start on recording your family's story. Even if you just record your own earliest memory, with your mobile, selfie-style - you'll have made that start.
And the thing about family history - the stories, the memories, the photos, the films - they are only going to get more precious with time. You're never going to find them in an archive (and none of us is ever again going to be quite as young and as cute as we are right now!).
It's up to you to record them, save them, and enjoy them.
PS if all this talk of family memories, stories and family history has made you think of researching your ancestors' lives, don't miss the free records available on Ancestry, 14-17 April 2017 - and why not explore our free how-to guides and free printable family tree charts just here or download our new How to start your family tree digital guide?