Googling Grandparents

Do you love hearing stories from your grandparents? Would you love to share those stories with others?

Googling Grandparents is an opportunity to share your grandparents’, other older friends or relatives oral histories through sound, video and written recordings. Children, grandchildren, carers, friends and community members are invited to interview an elder, record their story and share it online.

Many older people have a rich source of stories from their lived experience. Some elders in our community have lived through difficult events such as war, economic depression and pandemics, similar to COVID-19.

Reading or hearing stories may offer insight into how others have managed past experiences, offering hope and ways to manage life during COVID-19. Revisiting the past can create a framework for our present.

This project aims to capture and share those stories.

How to get involved:

  • Explain the project to your grandparent or elder and check they are happy to share their story.
  • Choose a method of recording for 2-5 minutes, such as sound, video or writing:
    Sound record your elder speaking on your phone or a sound recording device to produce an audio file, you can edit out the parts you don’t want so it is a simple story.
    Video your elder telling their story on your phone, or over a video platform.
    Write your elder’s story by taking notes as they speak, then turn these into a story. Read the story back to them and adjust it until they are happy with what you have written.
  • Encourage your elder to tell their story, speaking slowly and clearly. If they make a mistake, ask them to take a breath and keep going. Ask questions to prompt your elder to talk about their memories and life experiences such as:
    • Was there a time when your life was restricted?
    • What did you live through?
    • What happened? How did your life change?
    • How did you feel? What were you thinking at the time?"
    • Did you learn anything from that experience?
    • What are your thoughts, looking back now?
    • Have you any advice for me?
  • Seek permission from your elder for the story to be shared publicly online.
    Record them saying ‘I (name) give my permission for this recording to be public’ before or after their story. (We’ll edit this out before posting online but will keep it on file for our records).
  • Share your final 2-5 minute sound, video or written recording to our online Elders Stories Dropbox or send your file to by 31 October 2020.

Tips for recording sound only:

  • Minimse background noise – turn off the radio, music or TV.
  • If you are outside, wind can create unwanted sound, so make sure it is a still day.
  • Test before you record to make sure your sound levels are right. If they sound too loud, move the recording device away from your elder, if too soft, move it closer.

Tips for recording video:

  • Check what is in the background of your video. A plain background works best but you can choose a place that relates to the story.
  • Use a tripod if you have one or hold your phone or camera with two hands and try locking your elbows against your body to keep it steady while you film.
  • Consider lighting and make sure your subject is well lit. Natural light is best. Find a position where the sun is evenly lighting the scene you want to record. Diffused lighting is better than full sun or direct light.
  • Shoot straight, slow and close. Try matching the height of the subject, so you and your camera or phone are at eye level with the subject, rather than angling the phone up or down.
  • Find out more about recording video on these platforms:
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Facetime (Mac computer only)

Remember to share your final 2-5 minute sound, video or written recording to our online Elders Stories Dropbox or send your file to by 31 October 2020.