Oral Sources of History
Oral sources of history are an important part of genealogy research. Do not miss out on vital genealogical clues by overlooking your family's stories. Oral history is one of the most overlooked parts of genealogy research. It's harder to come by and requires more time. Often researchers do not even know where to seek out sources of oral history. Yet, oral sources of history from the older generations and collateral family members often contain the richest genealogy information. Information not found in formal records may only be found within a family's stories. Clues to a family's migration patterns or even a name change can be unearthed. Oral history can reveal previously unknown (to you) family members. Oral history can reveal the location of old family cemeteries - the ones where the children used to play hide and seek! Besides family history clues, learning about your family's stories helps to deepen the connection with past ancestors and ground younger generations in the family. Oral history is certainly not always accurate, and as long as we understand that fact, that's okay. It does often contain a nugget of truth. As genealogy researchers, it is our job to determine the truth of the stories from the fiction AND discern where those clues lead next in the search for your ancestors. Explore more about your family's stories and what they mean to your genealogy research in posts such as How To Preserve Your Family’s Oral History & Why You Should! and Use Social History in Genealogy Research – Telling Your Ancestors’ Stories.
Oral history is a crucial part of your family history research. Learn vital clues to family relationships, family migrations and even the personalities of your ancestors.
Many of you my long time readers know how absolutely fortunate I was to receive a plethora of family photographs once I started my family research. Photographs arrived by way of large Rubbermaid boxes, snail mail, email and a lot of road trips. Identifying each of the individuals in the photographs has been a challenge. Frequently, I knew one or two of the individuals, but not the more distant relatives. For many of the photographs, the first step was to determine if the photo was of ancestors or their friends. This photograph of my great great grandmother Clara Haley was posted early in my blog’s history (back when Are You My…
This post contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here. A cup of coffee is the most powerful tool in your genealogy toolbox. No, that coffee is NOT to help you stay awake while you read 1820 tax records line by line. Nor is it for those late night research sessions when you were really “just doing a quick look-up”. [It can help, though. 🙂 ] Let me explain. The Most Powerful Tool in Your Genealogy Toolbox When I began researching my family’s genealogy, much of what I learned at first came from great conversations with older members of my family over a cup of coffee. Now, a number…