Friday, November 9, 2012


     You know the old saying, "It is better to give than to receive." Well, by giving the gift of listening, you give (a portion of your time as an audience) AND  you receive (a precious personal story shared by a loved one, plus an addition to your family lore).
     Did you know that, thanks to StoryCorps, November 23rd is the National Day of Listening? As an alternative to the Black Friday shopping madness, StoryCorps asks us to take the time to honor a loved one by listening to, and recording, his or her story.
     Have you heard of StoryCorps? According to its self-description, StoryCorps "is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, more than 40,000 everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps, making it one of the largest oral history projects of its kind."
     If you are interested in oral history, and in learning how to collect and preserve oral stories, you must visit StoryCorps' site. Besides sharing a wealth of information about recording and collecting oral stories, you can record and upload recordings yourself via the website. StoryCorps also travels throughout the country recording stories, which are then stored at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Instructions for having StoryCorps visit your town or organization to record stories is also on the site.
     A very useful tool for family historians is their "question generator."  Also, check out their list of questions that help prod memories:
     The gift of listening is indeed precious!