Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Video Biographies - Recording Family Stories

Okay... so... here's the list of the people I met with last weekend for the first time ever -

1). Great-Aunt
2). Great-Aunt's husband
3). Great-Aunt's daughter
4). Great-Aunt's daughter's daughters
5). 15 other friends of Great-Aunt

It was fun! Mind you, there was potential for things to go awry - there always is when you meet someone for the first time, but this was family and I am glad to report, it felt like it!

I have heard of and known of Great-Aunt T my whole life. And all of it was good. But none of it really gave me any insight into what her life must have been 50 years ago when she first moved to this country as a new bride... and how she's seen things evolve since then. Her family and herself included.

So I was determined to get her talking when we met. As a professional Video Biographer, I would have been ashamed of myself if I hadn't made the effort... practiced what I preach and so on! And it was so simple.

She was delighted that I cared enough to find out more about her. Her husband was bursting with stories about how tough it was to initially get passage to this new country... she was full of tales of how bewildering it was to find the right pulses in the grocery store... and from such humble stories, they progressed to more complex ones... piecing together the incredible story of a family, who moved across continents in the hope of a better life. For themselves and their unborn children. And how they succeeded, one milestone at a time.

I really enjoyed the conversation... and through learning more about them, I found out so much more about the world at that time. History. Society. Economy. Community.

In case you didn't already know, October is 'Family History Month'... and it really as simple as my experience with the Great-Aunt sounds. Just clear your throat and ask a question... any question... you'll wonder at the stories that follow. And you'll wonder why you never thought to ask before.


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