With family reunion season upon us, I challenge you to do one simple task to prepare–today, right now before you forget! Arrange a method to digitally record audio stories. You know that stories will inevitably be shared when families get together, starting with Memorial Day and throughout the summer. How I wish I had an audio recording of my dad and grandparents telling stories at the cemetery. I remember some family stories, but others have faded with time. I promise, if you arrange to record audio today, you will be grateful years from now. If you order a digital recorder pronto, it can be here by the weekend. You can also install an app to use whenever the need arises. Ideally do both. Here is a quick list of ways to prepare in advance.
How to record audio at a family reunion:
1. Buy a simple voice recorder
I use a digital recorder most days in my family history interviewing work but also use apps on occasion. We use both a Sony and Olympus, but I like the Olympus a little better. Here is a quick link to my favorite:
The Sony ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder is also a delight to use. It is simple, tiny, has many hours of storage, USB connection, and gives great quality audio. If you are recording outside, consider using a lapel microphone with fuzzy windscreen to cut down on popping sounds from wind.
2. Get a free voice recorder app
There are some great easy recording apps out there, and Rachel and I collaborated on an article great article reviewing them. (We make nothing from any of these apps, we just want to make it easy for you to record audio). Click here to read Rachel’s review of recorder apps.
3. Prepare for wind when recording outdoors
If you plan to turn on a recorder at a cemetery or park bowery, remember that wind is going to be an issue in the audio quality. Consider getting a lapel microphone and adding a windscreen microphone cover. They look like a lucky rabbit’s foot.
Related article: the best affordable microphones we use
4. Questions, questions, questions!
Great interviews start with great questions. Here are three ways to go to a reunion armed with conversation starters.
- Browse our free and extensive library of questions on this page.
- Get our pretty booklet of questions that we give to clients in advance of each professional interview.
- Get a free one-page printable with our all-time favorite questions. You can make print more than one and pass them around. Click here to get “Questions everyone should ask.”
Questions Everyone Should Ask
Don't have regrets. Preserve a life story now with our all-time best questions. Interview a loved one or prompt your own personal history. Do it now, and it will be enough.
5. Get our free family history interview tutorial
Want step-by-step instructions for where to begin? Get our free interview tutorial including questions to ask in a printable format. Click here to get the free tutorial.
6. Take my fun video course
7. Read Rachel’s tips for how to plan a great family reunion
Rachel has compiled her favorite ideas for planning a successful family reunion. Read here.
Rhonda Lauritzen is the founder and an author at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. Rhonda lives to hear and write about people’s lives, especially the uncanny moments. She and her husband Milan restored an 1890 Victorian in Ogden, Utah and work together in it, weaving family and business together. She especially enjoys unplugging in nature. Check out her latest book Remember When, the inspiring Norma and Jim Kier story.
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