Citing Unrecorded Interviews

Over the years, my parents and other relatives have told me things about my family that they were eyewitnesses to or involved in. I know typically, you'd cite another person's knowledge as an interview, but these conversations were informal and no notes were ever taken. I just "know" the information because I've heard the stories several times.

Obviously, I know it would be best to get this information recorded through a formal interview so that future generations can have access to it. But if it's not possible to do this, would you still cite it as an interview? Or would it just be tradition?

Submitted bySomebodyWithAQ…on Thu, 10/21/2021 - 20:12
Yes, I have. But it sort of assumes that there is some kind of record of the interview, which in this case, there isn’t. So would you just use the same citation format and just note that it wasn’t recorded in any way? Or would there be a different approach?

Submitted byEEon Fri, 10/22/2021 - 08:48

Somebody, when we cite a source, we have to have something to cite. If the recollections of what was told to you are not written down, then you're just citing what's in your head.

We've all been in the situation of trying to document what we were told as a child—or something we heard, but did not write down, many years before. The issue now is not how to cite that information, but the need for something that can be cited. Take a while and create a memo of your own, expressing your recollection of what you were told, by whom and when, as well as the circumstances—as best you can recall. Then that memo, a physical and object others can read and evaluate, will be your source.