Who do you see … What do you hear?

“Oral history is an essential complement to written history. It is immediate, compelling and the listener is addressed personally. We carry in our heads the echoes of history…

Oral history interviewing is different from, say, a newspaper interview. The interviewer can’t allow the subject to ramble on, but must also be ready to hone in on some apparent aside which could lead to a promising new development. It captures tone, emotion, emphasis – far more information than cold print. I love the thought that in 100 years’ time our descendants will be able to listen to today’s writers and get insight into the real people behind the titles on the bookshelves “ (Penelope Lively – Daily Telegraph).

Special2Us has concentrated on two key aspects of building a family photo album: Voices & Context.

Voices: recording interviews or conversation or even just a quick couple of sentences about the photos or who is in them or what happened at the time (who knows who will listen & enjoy the narrative in years to come). Special2Us compiles voice recordings with images so that whether pictures are viewed within a Family Tree function or in specific albums, the recollections/stories can be switched on or muted depending on whether the viewer wants to hear recorded commentaries or just wants to look at the pictures & remember their own thoughts.

For families & friends who want to check on dates of times or facts within the recordings, a transcript can be accessed with a Search feature available to comb the spoken words.

Context: by using the “What Happened Then” feature,  the date of the photo can immediately bring up associated images of the period… for example, a picture of Uncle Desmond getting married on 22nd November 1963 may not be that interesting to a niece or a great grandchild, however it will be fascinating to & educational  for them to discover it was at the same time as the President of the United States was assassinated at the same time as the wedding service …

As an unforeseen valuable feature, the “What Happened Then” aspect can also be used to help stimulate the memories of an individual living with dementia – either to start a conversation or to remind them of a powerful event in their lives.


Further details of the Voice & Context features can be found on the Special2Us YouTube channel

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