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:
The heart of the book is the “Oral History Guide”, a multi-chapter section that features a categorized list of interview questions. In this section you are provided with questions to ask and the sequence for asking them. Here’s how it is done:
“This will be one of the most significant life-changing and
life verifying events you will ever be a part of.
I know. I’ve done it many times.”
Dr. Ron Ross
But once an oral history is taken, more is to be done. This book tells you how to:
This book describes additional preservation techniques for photos, documents, and family heirlooms. More ideas are shared in 10 which give you “Eight Ways You Can Preserve Your Family History.”
Chapter 11, “The Easy Way to Write Your Family History,” is one of several unique chapters not found in many books on oral history taking. This is a real bonus for those who want to leave a legacy via the written word but are not professional writers. The author’s father created this unique way to write the story of his life, and his simple system is shared on the pages of this book.
Inside that special person you are thinking about right now beats a heart that desires to tell their story and to express their passions, feelings, and innermost thoughts. They want to do it for the benefit of the living and those yet to be born. They want to leave a mark on their descendants. They want their life to matter. This book will help them do just that.
The author, Dr. Ross, knows. First he wrote the manuscript then tested it on his parents and other willing participants. The experiences of interviewers and principals were considered, then it was finalized and published in 1987 under the title, “Your Family Heritage: A Guide to Preserving Family History”. Thousands of copies were sold and the author received broad acclaim for his work. For several years he lectured on a regular basis at the Colorado Historical Society where his book was introduced as “the seminal source for oral history taking.”
In this edition, Dr. Ross has re-written, updated and expanded the book so you too can preserve your family history.
Hi, 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 wanted to preserve the stories of my mom and dad’s lives using a video camera as they were becoming quite popular and user-friendly back then. I did many hours of research then 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 three days and over 1400 miles of travel through Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa, and resulted in 3.5 hours of stories on VHS video tape. Since then I have done a variety of oral histories.
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). So I updated the book with a narrower focus, a more modern (digital) technology, and a new title, “How to Record Your Family History.” 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.
That’s probably what you wanted to know when you turned to this page, but for those who like this kind of stuff, here’s a brief resume:
Ronald D. Ross, B.A., M.Div., D.Th.
Ronald D. Ross is a former missionary to Africa and Presbyterian pastor who has spent much of his life traveling, writing, teaching, and as the publisher of various periodicals.
He is the Author of Citizen Journalism 101, he writes a weekly newspaper column, is a featured blogger on the U.K. citizen journalist website www.The-Latest.com, and blogs regularly on www.RonRossToday.com. He is a Platinum Expert Author onwww.EzineArticles.com, an is widely read as a contributor to www.SelfGrowth.com and other websites. He has authored several e-books on motivational and inspirational topics.
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.
Chapter 1 Why Preserve Your Family History?
The Unraveling of Family Ties
The Demands of Pluralism: Fitting In
Hiding the Skeletons
What’s In It for Me?
Family History is Edifying
Family History Connects You to the Past
Family History Can Prepare You for the Future
Family History Brings Families Together
Family History Provides Important New Insights
A Matter of Urgency
What is an Oral History?
Who Should Make an Oral History; and Who Should I Interview?
What Would You Like to Say to Your Great-Grandchildren?
You Are Your Family’s Historian
Chapter 2 Creating an Oral History
Prepping the Interviewer
The Physical Arrangements
Helping Your Interviewee Prepare
Chapter 3 Tips for Conducting a Meaningful Interview
Listen With an Open Heart and Mind
Practical Tips for a Smooth Interview Process
The Golden Rule of Listening
Chapter 4 Record Your Own Oral History!
Chapter 5 An Oral History with Video
Digital Video Equipment
Getting the Best from Your Equipment
Plan Your Production
Creative Tips from the Experts
What to Wear?
The Four Critical “DOs”
Chapter 6 Oral History Guide
Introducing Your Family Record
Part I. General Family Memories
Part II. Memories of Stories Told
Part III. Childhood Memories (Ages 5-12)
Part IV. Teenage Memories (Ages 13-19)
Part V. Courtship and Marriage
Part VI. Married Life
Part VII. Married Life and Children
Part VIII. Married Life- The Middle Years
Part IX. The Retirement Years
Part X. Pride and Wisdom
Concluding Your Interview
Chapter 7 Editing, Transcribing, and Publishing an Oral History
All About Editing
Audio Editing Resources
Video Editing Resources
Ideas for Audio Editing
Ideas for video editing
Duplicate all recordings multiple times
Transcribing Your Oral History
Transcribe the Interview Verbatim—and Accurately
Convey the Conversational Quality
Pausing, Crutch Words, Stammering, and False Starts
Stammering and stuttering, on the other hand, need not be transcribed.
Other Sounds and Actions
The Interviewer’s Words
A Final Word about Editing
Preparing the Oral History Manuscript for Publication
Publication: Copy, Bind, Distribute!
Chapter 8 Preserving Other Important Family History Items
What Should I Preserve?
Some Final Rules for Preservation
Chapter 9 Handling, Organizing, Documenting and Preserving Photographs
How to Handle Precious Family Photos
More tips for handling your photos
How to Organize Your Family Photo Collection
Chapter 10 Eight Ways You Can Preserve Your Family History
Chapter 11 The Easy Way to Write Your Family History
You can do the same thing
Lists that inform your descendents about your life:
Interesting stories about your life:
Where to begin
Editing your stories
Don’t worry about absolute accuracy
Chapter 12 Give the Gift of Preserving Your Family History
So what can be done? It takes a little planning, but here’s what I suggest: