How to Record Your Family History
by Ron Ross
Now you can preserve the precious, meaningful stories of your living relatives using audio, video and written formats. This book provides you with a simple way to capture the true life stories of important members of your family and preserve them for generations to come. It’s called “taking an oral history” and with this book anyone can do it.
You will learn how to:
- Know who, when and where to take an oral history.
- Acquire and use the right equipment.
- Interview like a pro.
- Convince that special person to share their oral history.
- Prime them for a comfortable and meaningful interview.
- Properly start and end an interview.
- Ask the right questions and in the right order.
- Listen with an open heart and mind.
- Deal with sensitive issues like divorce, family troubles, etc.
- Keep yourself on track and your subject talking.
- Move the story forward and not wander or leave out important events.
- And most important, prepare YOURSELF for taking an oral history
Meet the Author: Ron RossHello, I’m Ron Ross. Most people want to know why they should trust what I say about oral history taking and preserving family history. Sounds like a fair question to me.
First of all, I’ve done it. In the late 1980s I set out to preserve the stories of my mom and dad’s lives using a video camera (they were becoming quite popular and user-friendly back then). After many hours of research I created an oral history guide to use on Mom & Dad. Then one day we set out to record their family history starting at Dad’s birthplace – Deer Trail, Colo. It took us several days and over 1400 miles of travel through Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa. The result was a family treasure: 3.5 hours on VHS video tape of their stories told in person and on location. I have done a variety of oral histories over the years.
Second, I research and write about it. Using the research I did and the experience I had with my parent’s oral histories, I wrote and published a book on the subject titled, “You’re Family Heritage, A Guide to Preserving Family History,” now out of print. Thousands of people read the book and took action to preserve their family history, but much of the book is now out of date (It mentions arcane items such as cassette recorders and VHS tapes). This book is the updated version with a narrower focus, a more modern (digital) technology, and a new title. I continue to research, write and keep track of trends and technologies via my blog which can be found at www.RecordYourFamilyHistory.com.
Third, I lecture about it. After the publication of my first book, I was invited to lecture on the subject by the Colorado Historical Society for several years. When I spoke, they introduced me and my book to the crowd as “the seminal source for oral history taking.” I’ve continued to speak on the subject over the years even when I didn’t have an updated book to sell.
Besides writing and speaking extensively on preserving family history and other inspirational and motivational topics, Ross is the publisher of a weekly entertainment paper called Tidbits, (www.TrustTidbits.com) and he is the “Dean” of Tidbits University, the training program for all new Tidbits publishers (www.TidbitsWeekly.com). He is the host of the weekly radio show broadcast from Colorado’s oldest radio station, 1310KFKA – AM in Greeley, Colorado.
He is a husband, father, and grandfather residing in Loveland, Colorado with his wife of over 50 years. Dr. Ross is available as a speaker on the subject of oral history or as a keynote speaker.
Family History Blog: www.RecordYourFamilyHistory.com (click on BLOG)
Personal blog: www.RonRossToday.com
Family website: www.RonaldDRoss.com