Going the distance
2/1/2004
You don't have to go to great length to capture far-flung relatives memories: Just call on these five ways to conduct oral history interviews across the miles.
Our ancestors had two options when they wanted to interview relatives about the family history. They either did it in person, or they relied on the Pony Express driver to get their letters full of questions safely to their destinations. Fortunately, you live in the 21st century, so you have better options when you need to conduct interviews long-distance. With the convenience of modern communications, you have no excuse for waiting to squeeze each and every genealogical detail out of your relatives — whether they live around the corner or across the continent.

And let's face it: You probably don't have the time (or money) to hop planes from Uncle Albert in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to cousin Phoebe in Scranton, Pa., to Great-aunt Louise in Snowflake, Ariz., in your quest to capture family stories. But you still can cull their memories — without even leaving the city limits. We'll take a look at five ways to conduct interviews from afar, with hints for doing so successfully. But before we do, let's review some of the highlights from Oral History Interviewing 101, since they apply to all types of interviews.

Oral history basics