Monday, December 17, 2012


      Having trouble getting your aunts to agree to a video interview? Does your uncle just grumble a short "not much to tell" when you ask him for family stories?
     Use human nature to your advantage and insert a bit of sibling rivalry into your search for family stories. I've found that as soon as one sibling "cracks" and agrees to an interview, his or her siblings want their turns to tell the family stories their way (especially if one aunt regards her sister's memory as faulty or one uncle wants his version of the Great Family Squabble of  Christmas 1953 represented) .
     My aunts resisted my video camera for years. After the eldest sister gave an interview (and boasted a bit about it), the others clamored for a turn and were dressed up and waiting for my arrival. No arm twisting necessary!
     I have also found another quirk of human nature at work when collecting family stories. There is often one holdout--the relative who refuses to participate until your video or book is finished. Then and only then will that relative come forward to say that the other siblings got the story about Great Aunt Laura all wrong!