Oral History – Everyone Has a Story

The Chesapeake Genealogy Enthusiasts met on November 9, 2015. Some attendees shared photographs along with memories. Kevin Clement presented the lesson, “Oral History.”

Oral history is a field of study where professionals collect systematically the testimony of living people about their personal experiences. Even though it has been argued that only trained professionals can conduct legitimate oral history, it is important for families to collect and maintain the oral memories of its members.

Families should consider preserving their own memories. My grandfather used to tell marvelous stories of his time as a missionary in Africa. I have shared a couple of these stories throughout my life, but I am positive that I do not give the tales the same flair that my grandfather had given them. How grand would it be if I had an audio or video recording of him telling these stories so I could replay the recording over and over again and hear his voice? It is too late since my grandfather passed away in 1978, but it may not be too late for others. Look to your relatives still living and begin recording their memories. More importantly, do not fail to record your own memories for future generations.

Graduation photo of my grandfather, Frank Manning, missionary and storyteller.

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