The Living Memory Association

Edinburgh's Reminiscence Project • Established 1986

Recording your own memories

DIY Checklist for Recording Your Stories

To record your memories you can use a phone, a digital recorder, or a cassette tape. Whichever device you're comfortable with.

Try to get as quiet a room as possible; away from phones, kettles and noise.

Get comfortable in the chair. Make sure the microphone is facing you.

Always test the recording device before you start. Say, 'testing, one, two, three, testing.' Then press stop and playback to make sure it's recording.

Remember you can always pause the recording and take a break.

Have a wee think of some of the stories that you might want to mention and jot down a couple of words to remind you of them. For example; learning to swim in the sea, or going on a summer camp with the BBs.

Some prompts to help you get going:

Start with you name and when and where you were born.

Say a bit about your home life. Was it a tenement? What was it like growing up there? Were you happy?

A bit about the immediate family. Mum, dad, siblings. What did dad work as? Did mum work?

Then move onto childhood. What games do you remember playing? What friends did you have?

Any teachers at school you remember? Did you get the belt? School dinners? Uniform? School Sports Day. School dances.

What was your birthday like? Did you get many presents? A clootie dumpling? A party?

How about Christmas? How special was it? Did you have a tree? Did you visit Santa?

As a teenager did you have any part-time jobs? What were they like?

Did you go to the Boys Brigade, Guides? Youth Club? Did you enjoy it? What did you get up to?

When you were young did you going to the pictures? Matinee shows. The usherette with the ice cream. A films and B films. The serials.

Holidays? Where did you and the family go? Beach? Sandcastles and shells. Stick of rock. Caravan? Did you go to the Shows?

When you left school what did you do? Your first job? Can you remember your first wage packet?

Going to the dancing. Which dance halls? What were they like? Did you get dressed up to go?

Working life. What jobs did you have? Skills you learned. Trade Union. Works outings? Social events? Any stories about the work or work colleagues?

Where did you meet you partner? Where did you go when you were courting? Where did you get married? Did you go on honeymoon? Where did you live to begin with?

Do you remember buying your first car? What kind was it? Do you remember how much it was?

Anything you'd like to include that you haven't already covered?

Once you are done

Switch off the recorder. Press play to check that it's recorded okay.

Then transfer your sound file to the computer. The easiest way to send files to us is by wetransfer.

Type wetransfer into Google. Click on the link and it will take you to the website. On the website you'll find a box on the left that says Add Your Files.

You enter comhist@googlemail.com into the space that says, 'Email to.' You enter your email address into the space that says, 'Your Email.'

Go to the top of the box by the blue plus sign to 'Add Your Files.' Click on it and select the file that you want to send. Then click Upload.

It will send you an email with a code which you need to enter into the box to confirm that it's your email.

The upload process may take a few minutes depending on the size of the file.

Using your mobile phone. For shorter memories and wee stories the ‘voice memo’ app on the iPhone or the android equivalent would do the trick. Although it does require some technical know-how to email it after recording.

Using Zoom on the laptop gives you the option of doing aa audio or a visual recording. Zoom is a free download.

Download these guidelines

Recording your own memories (PDF, 110KB)