This is a masterful example of an oral interview. If the story is the heart of genealogy, then the oral interview is the heart of the story. Think of what is lost without the sound and music of this wonderful lady. Then consider how many people you know who have their own stories. Then think what would happen if that story was lost. Get yourself an inexpensive digital recorder and sit down and preserve the stories.
It might be a good idea to be prepared. Take time to talk to the person who has the story. Help them feel comfortable with the process and let them handle your recorder. Make sure you get their permission to conduct the interview and have it preserved. In my current round of oral interviews, I have arranged with the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library at Brigham Young University to archive, transcribe and catalog the interviews. This can be one interview or a whole series on a specific topic.
There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of websites dedicated to oral interviews. I suggest looking at the sites that are academically involved in collecting history and folkways. My favorite is the Library of Congress, The American Folklife Center. I have been listening to parts of the Alan Lomax Collection since I was a teenager. Another one of my favorites is Studs Terkel. On the radio for over 45 years, to quote his website, Studs Terkel discussed every aspect of 20th-century life with movers, shakers, artists, celebrities, and working folks. From civil rights to labor to jazz, his work spanned an impressive array of topics and figures. The current archive of his "interviews" is on Popup Archive.org.
Don't get bogged down in dates, names and places. Tell your prospective interviewee that you are interested in stories. Don't stop them once they get started and stop asking questions as long as they talk. Do not ask for names and dates, ask for memories. I only wish I had done more interviewing and less talking.
For more information see the following documents:
- The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide
- ORAL HISTORY TECHNIQUES: How to Organize and Conduct Oral History Interviews
Don't get wrapped up in technique. Just let them talk.