well, i’ve started, anyway.
about 25 years ago, my dad recorded his parents reminiscing by hiding a tape recorder under the kitchen table (a blue formica number that is now mine!). now that both of them are dead, the tape is important to everyone in the family.
about 2 years ago, i went to my maternal grandmother’s house and recorded an interview with her about her early life. no one else knows i did this. she doesn’t want them to (until “later”). i haven’t transcribed it yet but plan to soon.
even if you can only get someone to sit down for an hour or two, and even if you have to do it without the person knowing, this is definitely a worthwhile activity. there are lots of websites online with helpful questions you can ask.
it can sometimes be good to let the person see some of the questions before you talk, especially if they’re nervous.