Become Your Family Historian – Part 1

The word History, means ‘the story of the past’. Historians are like Detectives, they look at clues, interview people, and record what happened in years gone by so that we can all learn the story of the past.

Every grandparent has a special story to tell about what life was like when they were young. This is your chance to become your family historian, and using your extra special detective skills to record stories about the lives of your grandparents (or even great-grandparents) to share with all of your family. Don’t be surprised to discover that a lot of your grandparents’ likes and dislikes are similar to yours.

Remember this activity is especially designed to do together with your grandparents while you are apart, using digital technology. Tell your grandparents that you want to use the time in isolation to do something meaningful and important, and that you want to know more about their lives.

Become Your Family Historian


  • Ask your grandparents if they would like to do this activity with you, and be sure to ask if it’s OK for you to record their voices.


  • We recommend you use the WhatsApp Voice Note feature as it’s easy to use. If you have a Family Group Chat on WhatsApp, maybe you would like to use this so that other family members can listen in on their phones too. This could be great fun for everyone!


You can send your grandparents these simple instructions first:


  • Open an individual or group chat on WhatsApp.
  • Tap and hold the microphone, and start speaking. Once finished, remove your finger from the microphone. The voice message will automatically send.



  • You can tap and hold the microphone, then slide up to the ‘Lock’ icon and make a hands-free recording.
  • Once finished, tap ‘Send’ to send the message.
  • While recording a voice message, you can slide left to cancel it.
  • There are other ways you can record too such as using two phones or downloading another app like Automatic Call Recorder, just ask your parents to help.


  • Remember: You don’t have to do this in one go. You can arrange a time every week to speak to your grandparents.


  • USEFUL TIP: Detectives always keep track of their investigations by starting every conversation with the same sentence . As the family historian, here is an example of what you could say:


‘Hello, my name is ________________.  Today is the _______ 2020 and I am going to record my grandfather’s memories over the phone.  Granddad, will you say your full name for the record?’


Asking the right questions is important so choose from the list which you can find in the downloadable PDF below.


 This project is inspired by Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara

Download Activity


If you like, ask a parent or guardian to take a picture of a story you collected and share it with us #themodelinsideout

We will post your artwork on our website and Instagram account @modelsligo / #themodelinsideout

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