If you have interviews with your relatives on cassette tape, be aware that the tape will start to deteriorate over the years and may not be playable later on. Tapes will also break or stretch so the sound will be distorted. (Will a cassette player be available to use in ten to fifteen years?) Transfer those tapes to a CD as soon as you can. The shelf life of a CD is much longer than that of an audio tape. The same is true of VHS/Beta tapes. They should be transferred ASAP to a DVD.
If you do not have the equipment or ability to do so, perhaps a relative or friend could help. As a last resort, there are businesses that will do this service for a price. There are ads on TV all the time for transferring your video and audio tapes to a better storage medium.
My husband is currently in the process of transferring our VHS tapes of family reunions and holidays to DVD and it’s sad to see how those tapes have deteriorated in just a few short years. One reunion tape we had from 1984 was almost unwatchable.
So transfer those old family movies (8mm or Super-8), VHS, Beta, audio tapes, etc. as soon as possible to prevent loss. Keep the memories alive.
In a recent Quick Tip, Margaret VanAuker said “The cause of death was given in a medical term I did not understand.” I ran into this kind of problem myself with some early 1900s death certificates and went searching the Internet. I found the information I needed in “The Eclectic Practice of Medicine,â€ by Rolla L. Thomas, M.S., M.D., 1907. It can be found at http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/thomas/index.html.
For years I have been searching for something better than the cassette recorder that my uncle used to record his family interviews. If you are really paying attention to what they are saying, you (like my uncle) tend to forget to turn the tape over, or put in a fresh one. Even the micro-cassette recorders have the same problem.
In a chain office supply store I found several digital recorders that record several hours without the worry of the tape. The $50 price tag put me off until I could justify the purchase. Then, last week, in a local chain drugstore, I found one that was priced at $24.95! That will be my next addition to the genealogical armory.
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