As regular readers of this blog will know, I grew up visiting my elderly maternal relatives.
Long before I began researching my family history I loved to listen to my Great Aunts talk about the “old days” they were not moaning about any comparisons made to the current times, although as I type this I realise these modern times were 40 years ago! Time surely does fly.
What they were doing was focusing and sharing memories. They talked about the farms the family worked at, the villages, the people and anything else that sprung to mind. As I got a bit older, I began asking questions, trying to understand how these people of yesterday fitted in to my family and the history of my family.
I remember, being about age 2 or 3 and visiting my Great Grandmother, Annie Prudence Butcher nee Harris. By then she was an elderly and had been a widow since 1943, she was living with her eldest daughter, Rose Marshall nee Butcher. Although she did in fact go and stay wither other daughters from time to time.
I remember being carried upstairs, because stairs to a 2 or 3 year old child are like mountains. Once in the room I was placed in the bed for a cuddle, where I would inhale the lavender that I could smell. That to me is a terrific memory and one that will die with me unless I share it with others. It was a regular thing to take to Granny, as she was affectionately known, a pineapple, which was her favourite.
What got me hooked on family history was seeing my Great Grandmother on the 1881 Census aged about 3. I found that it was quite inspiring that I had a memory from when I was 2 or 3 and here was Granny on an official document the same age.
As I became an adult, I would visit my Great Aunts on a regular basis, armed with a notebook and pen. I would take notes about our conversation, being sure to clarify any questions that perhaps did not make sense with the answers.
All those notebooks I still have, all dated and treasured. Filled with information, some of which I can prove and other elements are on my to do list. Over the course of this series, we are going to chat about, in no particular order:
- The importance and Pitfalls of Oral history
- Oral History – Why bother?
- Pitch of Salt or a Grain of Truth
- Verifying Oral history
- Other hints and tips of Oral History
- Technical advances for Oral History
- Links and Resources for Oral History
Until next time….