Family History: Do background research for the oral history

Family History: Do background research for the oral historyBy Barry J. Ewell

It is natural to want to rush out and start the interview process, but no project should begin without some basic investigation of available resources. I found that by gathering and organizing material, I was able to gain a very good insight into which direction I should go and what questions I needed to ask. As you prepare, you may need to review other Continue reading

Family History: Types of oral history interviews

Family History: Types of oral history interviewsBy Barry J. Ewell

There are four basic types of oral history interviews, which are outlined below.

Life histories. These are interviews with individuals about their backgrounds from childhood to adulthood. Most follow a chronology. Life histories provide an opportunity to discuss a variety of subjects based on the interviewer’s interests and the interviewee’s remembered experiences and perspectives. They are ideal for family research, as well as for certain aspects of community and social histories. Continue reading

Family History: Personal history documentation

Family History: Personal history documentationBy Barry J. Ewell

As the individual writing the personal history, it becomes your responsibility to collect documentation that is complete, accurate and reliable, especially if you intend to incorporate the information into a book or article for distribution.

If pieces of written and oral information contradict each other, then you must go deeper to determine which is more accurate, unless contradiction is the key to the issue.
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Family History: What are oral interviews?

Family History: What are oral interviews?By Barry J. Ewell

The real record of history is found in the lives of ordinary people who lived it. Before you start conducting an interview, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of an oral interview. Oral history is the collection and recording of personal memoirs as historical documentation. It emphasizes the significance of human experience. Continue reading

Family History: Some Tips for Creating and Editing Transcripts

Family History: Some Tips for Creating and Editing TranscriptsBy Barry J. Ewell

The following are some tips for creating and editing transcripts based on my personal experiences:

  • Listen to about ten minutes of the interview before starting to transcribe.
  • Transcribe what you hear. Do not put words or phrases into the interviewee’s mouth, even if what they say is awkward or ungrammatical. Do not change word order.
  • It will help if you have special transcribing equipment, such as good headphones and a transcribing machine that can be operated by foot pedals so you can stop and Continue reading

Family History: Look at your writing through a reader’s eyes

10-16-2014 5-23-50 PMBy Barry J. Ewell

When I first started writing, I found myself becoming very defensive when someone made an edit or comment about the writing. I took it very personally. That “filter” was keeping me from seeing how my writing was being received by others. Often the editing and suggestions others made were minor, but they really made a difference in how the writing would be received. Even if I didn’t agree with the recommendation, it gave me a chance to Continue reading

Family History: Writing the personal history, Draft one

Family History: Writing the personal history, Draft oneBy Barry J. Ewell

By now, you should be ready to start writing. Whether you are writing about yourself or someone else, be honest. I have read many histories over the years, and those that have the most meaning include true stories about real life. The stories range from the sad and tragic to the exciting, funny, and simple day-to-day. Continue reading