Sunday, March 15, 2009

Using a Digital Voice Recorder in Your Genealogy Research

In December, I bought myself a digital voice recorder for Christmas.  I got the Olympus WS-210S Voice Recorder, which had great reviews. 

I love it!  It's come in really handy for genealogical research.  Below is a list of ways you could use a digital voice recorder in your own research.

If you are considering purchasing a digital voice recorder, I recommend the one I purchased.  It has great features at a reasonable price, and I'm able to do all the things listed below.  Regardless, you need to decide what you want to use it for and do some research to find one that suits your needs.  Also, pay attention to customer reviews; there may be shortcomings, but they could be ones you could deal with if the price is right.

Interviews & Oral Histories

This is a great way to capture oral information from family (or those who knew your family members).  Many of the digital recorders allow you to upload files to your computer and save them as digital media files; this is a great way to preserve these memories.

Research Notes & Ideas

If you're in a hurry, recording information orally is much faster than transcribing by writing or typing.  You can then enter information in a notebook or your computer later.  It's also a great tool when you're away from your computer or don't have your notebook, to capture various ideas, whether a research lead or a blog post.

Cemetery Research

The one thing I've been using it frequently for is cemetery research.  I rely mainly on photographs of the stones, however, for those hard-to-read ones, I was previously writing the information down.  Now, I pull out the recorder and transcribe them orally.  I state the photo number and say the information on the stone.

Do you have a digital voice recorder?  What do you use it for?  Post some comments and let me know...I'm always looking for other great ideas!!



Cheryl Rothwell said...

Can you send it directly to the computer as a .wav or .mp3?

Brian said...

I bought one, forget the exact model. I plan on using to interview my grandparents and other possible relatives. Using it for cemetery research is a great idea. I need to bring it next time I go.

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

Cheryl, Mine works with Windows and created wmf. I believe you can convert them, but not 100% sure on that. I haven't uploaded any yet or experimented. Many of the ones I researched were Windows compatible, and not working with a Mac was the biggest complain...I have a PC so I had a wide range of devices to choose from. I remember seeing one that was Mac-compatible (or was a coming-soon...can't remember).

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