Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

A life recording - would you like to leave one?

(27 Posts)
Imperfect27 Mon 09-Oct-17 07:01:02

There was an article on the BBC News this morning about hospice care and the dying being given the opportunity to make an audio recording of their life story. This seemed to be achieved as a 'prompted conversation' with the speaker simply sharing memories.

I think this is lovely idea - a wonderful legacy for family and a wonderful way to feel you have left something of yourself, your likes, your loves, your work and industry for others to know about.

Years and years ago, my DS1 made a tape recording of my mum and dad talking about their memories of WW11 and funnily enough, we were just talking abut the tape this weekend and saying how nice it would be to locate it - sure it must be in a safe place somewhere between our 2 houses - and how lovely it would be just to hear their voices.

I would be happy to make a recording - not that I have anything stunning to say, but I think the family might like it. What about you?

Serkeen Mon 09-Oct-17 08:09:28

I think that is such a good idea. I wish we had done that with our loved ones.

Anya Mon 09-Oct-17 08:17:32

Yes, a lovely idea.

I’m writing a short history of my life to leave for my grandchildren etc.. It’s not that I think I’m anything special, just that I wish my parents or grandparents had done something like that as we really know so little about them.

cornergran Mon 09-Oct-17 08:21:24

I also wish my parents and grandparents had done this. So much family and social history has been lost. Having said that I'm reluctant to begin my own process, can't pinpoint why, maybe it's about acknowledging mortality but I don't think so. I'll get there one day.

MawBroon Mon 09-Oct-17 08:25:57

I have a cassette of FIL answering some questions DD asked him for a school project about 30 years ago and. CDrom of my father who recorded several anecdotes for a Millennium project.
Lovely to hear their voices.
It must be wonderful to have a “famous” parent or grandparent simply because of the film/TV/radio footage.

Serkeen Mon 09-Oct-17 08:26:21

cornergran try not to look at it like that because it does not have to be about when you leave this world, once you complete your recordings your family members could listen to them while you are still alive, which could be great if they wanted to ask further questions x

vampirequeen Mon 09-Oct-17 08:32:38

No good for me. I'd either have to make it up or leave behind a video nasty.

Christinefrance Mon 09-Oct-17 08:54:25

I agree cornergran my mother in law had a wealth of stories about her time in service and the life of ordinary people at that time. I wish we had recorded them or written them down, so interesting.

MissAdventure Mon 09-Oct-17 08:56:08

I'm not sure I would like to leave a recording, though I can't put my finger on why, exactly. It makes me feel uncomfortable, for some reason. A voice beyond the grave, maybe?

Anya Mon 09-Oct-17 09:00:57

Then out it in writing.

Iam64 Mon 09-Oct-17 09:01:57

When one of my children was born, I asked my dad to write his memories of his family. He never mentioned it and I thought he hadn't wanted or had the energy to do it. After he did, 25 years later, we found a hand written history, in an exercise book. He was a modest man and quite private emotionally, so I hadn't pushed him when he didn't mention it again. It's a great thing to have. I'm hoping to continue our family history for my children. Like many of us, there are some experiences I'd rather not include but will that leave more questions than answers.

Anya Mon 09-Oct-17 09:02:51

Put it in writing! Outing it means rather more 😬🤓🙄😳

NanaandGrampy Mon 09-Oct-17 09:07:25

I think its a wonderful idea.

My Gran and Grandad had 10+ siblings each and I wish I had asked more about them because now they are gone there's no one to ask. I would certainly do it.

Anya Mon 09-Oct-17 09:10:48

Since my weird experience with DNA results, I’ve become a bit of a genealogist and I’m putting together booklets for my ‘children’ and their spouses along the lines of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ for Christmas.

It’s fascinating. So far found an Irish ancestor deported to Australia for stealing food to feed his sisters during the potato famine; another was a stretcher-bearer in WW2 at the Battle for Hill 60 and won the Military Medal for bravery and linked up with previously unknown relatives in Australia and Canada.

Can definitely recommend it as a hobby during the dark winter months.

harrigran Mon 09-Oct-17 09:11:50

I have recordings from my parents, my sister made them while they were staying with her one year. When my parents died I put them away and it took me another twenty years before I could listen to them again.

Anya Mon 09-Oct-17 09:12:26

That should be WW1

Maggiemaybe Mon 09-Oct-17 09:26:52

I've bought three of the Ryland, Peters and Small Grandparents' Journals, one for each of my DC to pass on (I hope!), and am completing them very slowly. In fact, this has spurred me on to spend an hour on them today. I'm typing up the answers to each question, then printing out a copy for each book and fixing them in. As my DC get older they are starting to get a little more interested in the family history that could easily be lost. The journal asks specific questions, which do prompt me to dredge up memories even I thought were gone. Some of them are very American and some parts are a bit twee, but I'm working round this. One problem is going to be getting Grandad to fill in his parts of the journal - his memories are sketchy, to say the least. I just wish I'd talked more to DMIL about the family - it's too late now.

The recording seems like a nice idea, but of course it would have to be kept up to date with whatever device is current.

silverlining48 Mon 09-Oct-17 10:00:07

We have recorded both sets of parents talking, plus my mum hand wrote a book about her lifeand i have done the same on my life for my grandchildren. They cant imagine a life with outdoor toilets, no computers, fridges, cars, phones etc. Its a different world.
I have also kept a book with an ongoing letter to the grandchildren about them and all that we do together.
We have recently taken some old cine film of our children and had it put on cd. Brought us all to tears.
Oh yes, go for it. How many times do you hear people saying how they wish they had asked family members this or that question, do it now before its too late; a quick chat on video will bring lasting joy.

hildajenniJ Mon 09-Oct-17 10:30:37

I have a set of four or five CD's that my BinL had made from some a reel to reel tapes. When we were children, my Dad bought a tape recorder and we sang played music and recited into the microphone. Dad also taped a family Christmas party. At the party my Grandad recited part of The Epistle to J. Lapraik, an Old Scottish Bard, by Robbie Burns. He'd learned it at school. I also have my Mother's life story, written the year before she died. It's in her own handwriting. I still haven't been able to get it out and read it. One day I will. I think it's a lovely thing to do, and will attempt it myself, but not for a while yet.

jusnoneed Mon 09-Oct-17 11:27:07

Years back there was a Rural Life museum opened up in Glastonbury, they had displays on the old farming methods etc. By chance one of the people running it was talking to my aunt and said she wished she knew someone who had worked the land in the early part of the 1900's, and my aunt suggested my Gramph. So she spoke to him and recorded their conversation, all about the early steam machines being used and working for the local Squire. About a year later she talked to my Nan about her life and also recorded that. She gave us copies of the recordings. It is lovely to listen to their voices talking about the hard lives they and their families led.
And we learnt a few things we never knew before. My Gramph was the first worker to go onto the site that became the Yeovilton Air base, he had the job of clearing hedges/trees etc for the runways to be started. And because he knew how to manage steam machines the Commander of the base offered him a job running the boiler rooms when the base was up and operational, he then stayed there until he retired.

Maggiemaybe Mon 09-Oct-17 11:33:43

We visited the Museum of Occupation in Riga last year. It was fascinating (and chilling), but the most interesting area by far had screens showing people talking straight to camera about their experiences under Nazi and Soviet occupation. Thank goodness someone had the foresight to interview them about what happened.

JackyB Mon 09-Oct-17 11:41:44

My parents have both written their lives down and they were copied and bound and we all have a copy. Unfortunately they are just lists of dates and facts, with none of the fascinating stories they had mentioned in passing over the years.

If and when I do it, I would try and include more such stories, although I didn't have the "excitement" of the wartime tales they told.

To them, doing it in writing was the obvious way - my father dictated his to my mother who took it down in her Greggs shorthand and typed it up on a typewriter, just as she had done for him all his working life.

Anniebach Mon 09-Oct-17 13:00:24

Being part of a Welsh family I was told about my parents childhood, my grandparents and g grandparents lives .

Now we no longer have coal mines I want my grandchildren to know about life in mining valleys and I am writing about their Anglesey ancestors too, the poverty , the dismissal of their mother tongue as experienced by my grandfather and the refusal by his five sisters who never left the island to speak English right up to their deaths in the sixties.

Hipsy Mon 09-Oct-17 15:01:00

I can read all about my ancestors history in online 1800,s local newspapers.
There wasn't a week pass when they weren't up against the Judge for one or another misdemeanor. shock

Imperfect27 Mon 09-Oct-17 19:45:07

I remember going to a Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in 2003. There were several visual / audio testimonies from surviving Jews and I was struck then by the power of the captured word and how important it would be for future generations.

I would love to hear my mum and dad's voices again. I have some very precious, though short DVD footage of DD2, captured a couple of months before she died. She was part of a group of school children asked to take part in a TV programme called 'Tricky TV. When the producer was notified that she had died, before the programme aired, I was sent the footage. I haven't watched it often, but am glad it is there.