My Family History is a summer learning project created by Layers of London for young people and families
So far this year many families have experienced the challenges of homeschooling, along with isolation from friends, extended family and support networks due to Covid-19. We have had to learn new ways of communicating - whether online, or perhaps by writing to one another.
My Family History is a multi-generational project aiming to harness these recently learnt and discovered means of communication, to inspire young people to have conversations with older relatives in order to explore and record memories of local London history.
Through doing so, we hope to retain some of the positive aspects of lockdown, along with contributing to London’s heritage by adding content to Layers of London.
How can you get involved?
We would like contributions to be shaped by you, therefore we are happy if you choose to simply record a conversation between you and your relative or conduct more of a structured oral history interview.
You can then upload your recorded memory/story onto the Layers of London website, and it will appear on our digital map linked to its specific location.
Here are some general tips:
· Explore the map
Using the Layers of London website, explore the online map to find the place where your family lived. Use this as a starting point to have a conversation with your relative about family histories and memories linked to the area. If you can’t do this in person, try it online using zoom by sharing your screen to explore the map together.
Tip! By adding an historical map layer, found in the side bar under Layers, you can visualise streets and buildings that may no longer exist, and which may spark memories.
· Information & Questions
If you are going to carry out an interview with your relative, first think about information you might like to include, such as:
- The person’s name/ how they are related to you
- the name of the area their memory is linked to
- time period they are recollecting.
You can prepare some questions to ask, for example:
- Do you remember what the area used to be like?
- How has the area changed?
- Do you have a personal story or memory attached to that place that you are happy to share?
Tip! Be flexible with your questions – they may mention something interesting that you would like to hear more about. Ask them!
Also, here are some ideas for conversation starter topics:
- Music/theatre/sport/activity clubs
- Local landmarks
· Making your recording
Choose how you would like to record your conversation - you could make a recording using a phone, create a video, or simply using pen and paper. It’s up to you!
Try to record one memory or story at a time so that they can be pinned to a specific location; aim for around 500 words or recordings lasting around 3mins.
· Make a record on Layers of London
Refer to our User Guide for details about how to create an account on Layers of London and then add your record. You can add just one record, or if you have more you can create a collection.
When you make your record, how about adding some tags to make your contribution easier to find. Here are some suggested tags you could use:
- Visual/audio evidence: if you make a recording; or you may be adding an old photograph
- Written evidence: your contribution may be a piece of writing
- Education: for topics such as schools
- Leisure, sport and culture: if your memory/story is about music, theatre, sport or activity clubs
- Housing, infrastructure and environment: can be used to tag records about landmarks and monuments.
If you have any further questions, please contact the Layers of London team [email protected].
Download as PDF: Guide to using Layers of London (PDF)