How to Preserve an Oral Heirloom

Telling the Tale

Particularly when it comes to recording oral heirlooms that feature family members, there are a few traditions you'll want to include. Your family's folklore should include information about your family name, such as stories about its origins or any changes in spelling it has undergone through the years.

But don't get too caught up in the technicalities; sometimes the most memorable tales are equally light-hearted. Uncover the reasons, silly though they may be, behind any nicknames that run in your family. Encourage your grandparents to share the story of how they first met. The real story.

Ask them what songs were popular at the time. As you move through life's milestones, ask them to sing the lullaby they once whispered to your parent or to divulge a recipe that's a long-held kitchen secret. Of course, whether you're allowed to share that part of the interview is another story altogether.