When is the best time to document your family’s history?
Bill Leighty of the Leighty Foundation says it’s never too soon.
His father, Ike Leighty, began the foundation in 1985 after a successful sales and manufacturing career. While the initial goal was to “do good,” the foundation’s mission evolved to address earth protection, education, and volunteer engagement. Ike invited Bill and his sister Jane (along with their spouses) to find deserving causes in need of funds. The Leighty Foundation would be a family affair—Ike saw it “as an opportunity to draw our widespread family closer together.”
Bringing the family closer together included preserving history for future generations. Bill began this process by interviewing his father about his life and legacy in a series of videos prior to Ike’s passing in 2015.
NCFP recently spoke with Bill about how he’s helped keep the Leighty Foundation’s memories alive by recording its history. While many foundations use external production companies, Bill created his family’s legacy videos himself—using his own technological know-how, video equipment, and dedication. Join Bill as he describes why his family chose to document his father’s legacy, the audio and video equipment needed to produce high-quality clips, and learn about the benefits of self-produced videos for those who want to do it yourself.
You may find the following resources helpful for documenting family histories:
- Oral History Archives at Columbia Research Guide: How do I conduct an oral history interview? via Columbia University
- Principles for Oral History and Best Practices for Oral History via Oral History Association
- Playlist: Equipment via Oral History in the Digital Age
- Video Equipment via Oral History in the Digital Age
- Record and Share Your Family History in 5 Steps via New York Times
- How to Create an Oral Family History via AARP
- Conducting Oral Histories with Family Members via UCLA Library
- NCFP Webinar: Family Stories and Interviewing Elders
- The Value of Making A Family Legacy Film blog post
- Telling Your Family’s Story blog post
- This NCFP publication will help you consider questions to ask family members as you craft your own legacy videos: Generations Together, Module 1: Getting to know our family
- Microphone equipment sources: www.sweetwater.com and www.zzounds.com
- Read more about The Leighty Foundation’s history, and watch founder Ike Leighty discuss family history
We wish you the best of luck in your family history journey!