The Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Newsletter
A Selected Article from the November 2001 Issue

The Save Our Stories Program

Notes by Donald R. Snow

©Copyright 2001 by Don Snow

[Editor's note: Don and Diane Snow have begun another Family History mission. This one is part-time, but it is at the Family History Center in St. George, so they will be living down there for six months. Don expects to come up frequently for PAF Users Group meetings. This article is from E-Mails he shared with us about the Save Our Stories program that has been so successful in his ward in Edgemont.]

      Eileen, attached is the sheet we use for our Save Our Stories (SOS) program in our ward. We have people volunteer to be interviewed and to be interviewers and have encouraged finding interviewees in our ward since it has a lot of older people who may not be around too much longer. We give the interviewers a copy of this question sheet, a C-60 cassette tape, a cassette recorder from the Meetinghouse Library or elsewhere, and some instructions for the interview, and things to be aware of so the interview is more complete and gets the person talking. We have them make appointments with each other and suggest that it might be a good idea to give the interviewee a copy of the question sheet beforehand so they can look it over and get some ideas of stories to tell. We point out that one hour is not very much time, but if they follow the outline somewhat it will give a good summary of the person's life even if they have already written their life story.

      After the interview we get the interviewer or someone else to transcribe it into WordPerfect or Word, etc., and that's the hardest part because we find it takes 4 or 5 hours to transcribe a one-hour interview. Then we print a copy and give the interviewee the tape, a floppy and a printout of the transcription in an inexpensive report cover, and we keep an electronic copy of the interview for the ward history or to put in the BYU Library or elsewhere.

      Some of the Young Men and Young Women in the ward volunteered to interview older people and that turned out to be a real bonding experience of the youth and adults. They did it as an activity night and went 2 or 3 YM or YW's together to do the interviews. After we had about 20 or 30 interviews done and transcribed we had a fireside for everyone and Diane picked out a few stories and many "one-liners" from the interviews and it was a fascinating evening. We all learned lots about our neighbors and their backgrounds and feel much more akin to them. There were some classic statements in the interviews that I still chuckle about. All in all, it was a really good experience and we found it encouraged many people to want to continue on and record more of their own stories and several have told us they have done so.

      Eileen, feel free to edit this anyway you want if you decide to use it in PAFology. There is lots more that could be said about the project, but this is probably more than enough for now.

Don Snow

[We have reproduced the Interview sheet as closely as we could on Page 2, so that it could be photocopied. If you would prefer to modify it, the questions in electronic text can, of course, be found in the E-Mail version of PAFology.] +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Questions for a one-hour interview
Edgemont 9th Ward, Provo
Don and Diane Snow

(Check to see if the tape recorder is recording, volume level is OK, etc.)

Introduction (5 mins)

Parents (10 mins)

Childhood (10 mins)

Youth (10 mins)

Career (5 mins)

Family (10 mins)

Church (10 mins)

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