How You Can Use Your Phone to Record Your Family Memories

When my mom was a girl in the 1940’s and 50’s, she spent Sunday afternoons at her grandmother’s, along with a plethora of aunts, uncles and cousins. In college, she lived just a few minutes from her grandmother and three aunts.  Like most other people at that time, she grew up surrounded by family. She was around the extended family so much that she knew all the family stories – tales of an aunt who traveled around the world as a nurse, and always brought back exotic souvenirs; stories of a great-great-uncle who had married a Cherokee Indian woman and who was the source of some disapproval; an uncle who came back from World War II without physical injury, but with major PTSD. When did she hear these stories? Playing in the backyard with her cousins, having Sunday dinner with the whole family, helping out when her grandmother got old- just being around the family week in and week out. But in our fast-paced, modern culture, it’s normal for families to be scattered- across the country or around the globe. If your family is like mine, you wonder how you can make sure those family stories will stay alive. But over the winter holidays, families are more likely to be together. It’s a perfect opportunity to record some of those stories and moments while you have the chance. How To Record      With the technology we have at our literal fingertips, there’s no reason not to record family stories. The most obvious tool to use is your phone. Just make sure that you have plenty of memory available, and that your phone can record more than a clip at a time. (If it can’t, there are apps for both video and audio recording in long format.) And remember to back up your recordings as soon as possible. Of course, for higher-quality video, a separate digital camera with video is ideal – the file sizes will probably be bigger, and better for viewing on a larger screen.  Sometimes older people are self-conscious or uncomfortable being videoed, so a small digital audio recorder might come in handy. But in the end, the technology you use doesn’t really matter; you won’t be submitting anything for an Oscar, after all. The most important thing is to preserve all of the precious stories, anecdotes, and voices you’ll hear at your next family gathering. How To Get the Ball Rolling      I don’t know what happens at your family’s gatherings, but at mine, it seems the topic always comes back around to a story that involved someone who’s no longer with us.  The conversation naturally flows to people or things we all have in...

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