2022 Oral histories as sources for family historians

Wonderful to have the opportunity to present about some of the work I’ve been doing mixing oral history with family history at the next OHA Biennial Conference 2022 in lovely Launceston, Thursday 14 October to Sun 16 October 2022. I’m looking forward to catching up with colleagues, new and old, in the process. Below is my paper abstract:

Oral histories as sources for family historians: A challenge for oral historians and the GLAM sector: Oral histories offer a potentially rich source of information for those researching their family histories. For example, since the 1980s hundreds of oral histories have been recorded with Chinese Australians in response to the growth in oral history as a methodology to help better understand the lives of those outside the dominant narratives of white men. But how do we make such interviews accessible to family historians? Chinese Australian oral history interviews are held in libraries, archives and museums across Australia. Not all have permissions documentation, have been transcribed, have summaries, have been digitised, or are discoverable online. Accessing them can be difficult, depending on the resources of the repository. These oral histories were also created for different purposes, by different people, at different times, and with different cohorts of Chinese Australians. Once family historians have access to oral histories, how do we help them to appreciate the complexity of understanding what they are accessing? Using the case study of Chinese Australian oral histories held in GLAM institutions, this paper aims to start a broader discussion about how we might overcome these challenges and facilitate use by family histories.

Terry Young and Sophie Couchman at recording rooms at State Library of Victoria, May 2022

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