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Legacy Tip - Using the Interview Questions report and Recording an Oral Interview

Now that I live in the great state of potatoes Idaho (I love it here!) I’m only a three hours’ drive from my 89-year-old grandfather and the birthplace of four generations of my ancestors. During a recent visit with Grandpa, however, I think broke all of Marian Pierre-Louis’ rules for conducting a good oral interview.

After catching up with each other on the events of the past couple of years, the conversation turned towards the past – Grandpa shared stories of growing up, including colorful accounts of my dad’s earlier years that were all new to me. About halfway through my visit, I started to wish that I had a way to record our conversation. Luckily my smart phone was in my pocket which had the “Voice Recorder” app installed. I quietly retrieved it and pressed the button to begin recording. I haven’t yet listened to the recording, but unfortunately, all of the really good stories were told before I pushed the record button. Next time I hope to be more prepared (and maybe I’ll ask Grandpa for permission first…), but in the meantime, I at least have a recording of his voice and some interesting conversation.

Retrieving the recording from my smart phone is quite simple. Within the Voice Recorder app, just click on the recording's name, click Send, and then select from a variety of methods to send such as email or even Dropbox.

From what I've read, most cell phones save audio files as a .3gp file which is not compatible with Windows Media Player or even with Legacy. So I next had to convert the audio file to an .mp3 on my computer which I did using a free program called 3GP to MP3 converter (just be sure to do the custom installation so you don't get all of the extras).

After saving the audio file to my hard drive, I can link it to Grandpa’s Multimedia Gallery in Legacy Family Tree following these steps:

  1. Open the person's Picture Gallery and click on the Sound button.
  2. Browse to the audio file and click Open.
  3. Add the caption and date.

Choosing the Right Questions to Ask

Now that Grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration is only a couple of months away, I will be better prepared, partly due to the Interview Question Reports in Legacy Family Tree. Legacy has 13 types of interviews to select from with over 1,200 open-answered questions. One of the interviews is “Grandpa Remembers” which includes 26 different categories including:

  • All about you
  • As time goes by
  • Being a Grandpa
  • Dating and Marrying Grandma
  • Favorite things
  • Growing up
  • Hopes and dreams
  • Stormy seas
  • Traditions
  • And many more

The questions are all open-ended, meaning, you are not likely to ever get just a Yes or No answer. Examples of a few questions include:

  • How did you first meet Grandma?
  • How do you spend your spare time?
  • If you made a wish when you were young, what would you wish for?
  • Tell me about one of your heros
  • What was the naughtiest thing you ever did?
  • How did you keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer?
  • What did you always want to be when you grew up
  • Did people ever tease you? What about?
  • And lots more

The Interview Questions are available in Legacy Family Tree by going to Reports button > Books/Other tab > Interview Questions button. Here you can print the questions, turn on/off certain questions, or even add your own. The report can be printed or emailed as a text file or PDF.

Marian’s webinars

If you want to know how to do it right, register (free) for Marian Pierre-Louis' two webinars which are scheduled for later this year:


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What "voice recorder app" did you use please?

It's just called "Voice Recorder"

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