Packing for an Interview

By Family Tree Editors Premium

Before making a trip to visit and interview family members, stock a tote bag with these oral history essentials:

• Cassette tape recorder or digital recorder (plus a microphone if not built in)

• Power cord

• Extension cord

• Cassette tapes and labels

• Extra batteries

• Note pad and pens

• List of questions or a book on oral history interviewing that has sample questions

• An address book to note names and addresses of relatives the person you are interviewing may give you

• Your research notebook with pedigree charts and family group sheets (you can download these from this site)

• A watch to make sure you’re not overstaying your welcome

• Copies of any documents you’ve gathered to show the relative

• Photographs you want to learn more about, or that you think will spark conversation

• Magnifying glass in case the relative needs it to view the photocopies

• Camera or laptop computer and portable scanner to duplicate any documents or photographs your relative won’t let you take out of the house to copy

Label each tape or CD and its storage case with this identifying information (or attach this information to your digital file):

• The person being interviewed

• The date

• The place