Oral history is one of our favorite ways of capturing family stories. Hearing a voice of someone we love is priceless. Here we share a variety of tips and links to our articles, great audio products and other things we discuss in our presentations. We hope these tips will help you in the work of recording family stories.
Our articles on Oral History Interviews:
- Detailed article about recording, editing and transcribing audio “Audio Inspiration – 12 Tips for Writers and Family Historians“
- Oral history – the easiest and most rewarding way to finish a life story
- Voice Recording Apps
- Olympus digital recorder, our all-time favorite
- Sony – another digital recorder we use
- Best affordable microphones we use
- Preparing for the Interview
- Finding the Angle
- Want to interview a Veteran? Here is an article overview about the Library of Congress Veteran History Project
- Questions to ask parents or grandparents
- How to digitize slides, photos, and other media
My Life Story: Thoughtful questions to tell your story
This full-color booklet is a wonderful guide for oral history interviews, to use as journal prompts, or to spark ideas as you write your memoir. In our professional work, we give a copy of this booklet to people in advance of their interview.
- If you’d like to order one, here is a link to purchase My Life Story: Thoughtful questions to tell your story or interview someone you love.
These articles share detailed information about transcription tools, methods, and resources.
- Record voice, edit and transcribe audio – this is a detailed article covering the resources we introduced in our audio class.
- O-Transcibe – A how-to article and review of a free, secure, online transcription tool.
Free Printables and Downloads
Each of these links will take you to a page where you can download free printables:
- Our all-time favorite questions everyone should ask (single page printable)
- Interviewing Mini Course: This free tutorial covers the ins-and-outs of interviewing, recording equipment, transcribing audio, and even shares some of our favorite questions. It is organized in a 7-day format. If you fill out the form, we will email you a printable PDF each day so you can take your time learning and reviewing the material.
Helpful articles on storytelling using video, audio or good, old-fashioned writing
- Writing About the Hard Stuff and Why It’s Important
- How Storytelling Leads to Happy Parenting
- How to Storyboard
- Video Inspiration – Resources
- Art of Storytelling – Resources
Take a class
We have put together an online mini course so you can conduct a GREAT interview. The video lessons are fun, easy, and will inspire you to finish an interview right away and with confidence. You can complete it in less than two hours. This course is one you don’t want to miss!
We have put together a great video course on how to do oral history interviews. It only takes a couple of hours to complete, and you will feel confident to do your first interview.
Click here to see all of our online and in-person classes for writing and interviewing:
StoryCorps is a wonderful nonprofit encouraging people to record stories. They upload them to the Library of Congress! They have recording booths in San Francisco and Chicago, as well as a mobile booth on tour.
Be sure to check out the free tools and resources at FamilySearch, an amazing resource for storytelling. You can upload your oral history or written stories to your profile on their website so they can be preserved for future generations. You can even share them with family and friends through the site. For more information, click here.
Would you like help?
We love meeting with clients one-on-one. In these sessions, we can help you get organized. We can storyboard your memoir or map out a custom plan to tell a life story. There’s no need to go it alone. Let us help you!
- Click here to contact us for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment
- Click here for an overview of the life story services we offer, and our rates
Life story interviews
We are honored to conduct professional life story interviews. These are often given as gifts to parents or grandparents. Each interview takes several hours of our time. To start, we give you an initial consultation and a printed booklet of life story questions. At the end, you will have approximately 75 minutes of audio recording, audio files on a flash drive, and the interviewer’s notes. Click here for more details about our life story interviewing services.
Available in any amount, life story interview gift certificates are a meaningful alternative to buying “stuff.” We have many families give their parents, grandparents, or partner a life story interview for special occasions.