One of the first things you need to do when starting your family research is to speak to your relatives, especially the older generation, to find out what they can tell you. This is also true for those doing research into local history who might need to interview members of the community. Knowing how to get the best from these interviews can make a difference to the quality of information that you obtain. Before starting your research there are a number of publications that you might benefit from reading first. These include:
- ‘Doing oral history: a practical guide’ by Donald A. Ritchie, Oxford, 2003
- ‘Oral evidence and the family historian: a short guide’ by Lawrence Taylor, Plymouth, 1984
- ‘Sounding boards: oral testimony and the local historian’ by David Marcombe, Nottingham, 1995
- ‘Oral history and the local historian’ by Stephen Caunce, London, 1994
- ‘The handbook of oral history: recording life stories’ by Stephen Humphries, London, 1984
- ‘Oral history: a handbook’ by Ken Howarth, Stroud, 1998
These books discuss different types of oral history project as well as giving advice on how to organise the research, what questions to ask and how to record the information provided by the interviewee.
Further information on the subject can also be found on the website of the Oral History Society, while details of UK and worldwide based oral history projects can be found on the East Midlands Oral History Archive website.