Free download: Story-starters for the family historian

We’re closing at 4:00 PM sharp today and won’t be back until Thursday so that we Mike’s folk can spend some time with our families, and we hope you’ll have a chance to do so, too! One great way to make family gatherings memorable is to draw out stories from the group Whether they’re retellings of old favorites or exciting, new information—like when you find out your grandpa was born with a different name, for example—it’s these local mythologies that really define who we are as people.

Most of us don’t realize the value our own stories have for our loved ones, so you’ll probably have to prompt the person from whom you’d like to hear in order to get them to regale the crew. Here’s a list of questions guaranteed to bring out some fantastic conversational fodder! Print it out or save it to your device before the next function and let the legends flow.

Recommended equpiment

You’ll want to take at least a few notes while you’re quizzing folks, as you’re likely to uncover all kinds of new information you’ll want to save for posterity. At the very least, a note pad is key, but if you want to get more serious about the interview, here are some recording options:

  • Dedicated video camera—there are some quality and handling advantages to using a “proper” video camera, or if you go the action cam route the recording may feel a little less intrusive (plus, you can get one for as little as $69.99 right now).
  • External microphone—most cameras suited for stills will take perfectly good video nowadays as well, but the tiny microphones you’ll find built-in are not exceptional. For creating archival retellings of important life moments, you’ll definitely want something a little more capable.
  • Dedicated audio recorder—you could even skip the video part altogether and record voices only. These recorders can do double-duty as plug-in microphones on some cameras, as well. A must have for the next Dead & Company show.

Once you’ve made your recordings, make sure to share them, or they’re no better off than being trapped in a memory bank. A professionally-labeled CD of great-grandma describing her childhood (for example) is the kind of thing that people cherish for a lifetime.

Happy story hunting!

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