Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 188 has published. It’s packed with news, tips and inspiration that can help your family history research now. Check it out!
The newest episode of the free Genealogy Gems Podcast is now available. Host Lisa Louise Cooke shares her signature variety of news, inspiration, innovative strategies and tips you can use now. Highlights from the Genealogy Gems podcast episode 188 include:
- RootsTech news and resources for everyone;
- New records online for Ireland and the United States;
- Two inspiring emails from listeners who unravel family mysteries with determination, skill and Google sleuthing;
- A Genealogy Gems Book Club update with more thoughts on the featured title Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Growby Tara Austen Weaver and book recommendations from RootsTech attendees;
- A critique of a recent NPR article on genetic genealogy by Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard; and
- A great conversation with Cindy Cochran and Sabrina Riley of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society Library at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Lisa Louise Cooke with Cindy Cochran and Sabrina Riley
My favorite part of this episode for me was Lisa’s conversation with Cindy and Sabrina. It was fun to meet two interesting women who help keep their corner of the genealogy research world running smoothly. I don’t even have Nebraska roots but I appreciated the inside “look” at their genealogy collection. It reminds me what gems–human and archival–may be tucked away on college campuses that love and welcome researchers.
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Recently a friend sent me a link to a TED talk by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay. As a radio broadcast journalist, Dave has spent his life capturing other people’s stories. The profound impact this had on him led him to found StoryCorps, which collects and archives interviews with everyday people.
“Every life matters equally and infinitely,” Dave learned, something we discover as family historians, too. He talks about how inviting someone to talk about his or her life “may just turn out to be one of the most important moments in that person’s life, and in yours.” This is something I try to explain to people about family history interviews: asking respectful questions and listening just as respectfully is a gift we can give our relatives when we interview them.
StoryCorps started with a little recording booth in Grand Central Terminal, one of the busiest places in the world to hold these intimate conversations. Two people share a conversation, one interviewing and the other being interviewed, and a facilitator helps them record the conversation and leave with a copy of it. Another copy goes to the Library of Congress.
In our own ways, we do this when we record loved ones’ life stories. We honor their feelings, experiences and opinions by asking about them and preserving them. Sometimes we share personal moments of understanding, forgiveness or revelation. In my experience, it’s similar to what unfolds in the StoryCorps booths: “Amazing conversations happen.”
In Dave’s TED talk, he shares snippets of some of those amazing conversations, like A 12-year old boy with Asperger’s syndrome interviewing his mother, and a husband sharing his love for his wife: “Being married is like having a color television set. You never want to go back to black and white.”
StoryCorps now has an app that helps people capture conversations like these. A digital facilitator walks you through the interview process, the app records the conversation, and then you can save and share the resulting audio file. Why not record an interview in honor of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day this spring with the StoryCorp app? Or have a meaningful conversation with an aunt or uncle, sibling, cousin or your child or grandchild.
Genealogy Gems Premium members can learn more about preserving the stories of your own life in the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 116, in which I interview Laura Hedgecock, author of Memories of Me.
Originally published 2009
Republished January 14, 2014
Download the Show Notes for this Episode
Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-09. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.
Episode 14: How to Contact Long Lost Relatives
Connecting with someone who knows about our ancestors can really boost our research results—and even create new relationships among living kin. But it’s not always easy to send that first email or make that first call.
In today’s episode we talk about the skill of “genealogical cold calling.” We’ll chat with my cousin, Carolyn Ender, who has conducted hundreds of telephone interviews. She has a knack for quickly connecting with folks she doesn’t know over the telephone in ways that put them at ease and bring to light the information that she’s looking for.
But first, we do some follow up with an email from a listener about family trees. Then, I share a little story that puts into practice what we’ve learned so far in this podcast series.