What is the first step in doing genealogical research? Look anywhere and you will find this advice, “Start with what you and your living relatives know.” Sitting down together with friends and family for Thanksgiving dinner gives many of us a rare opportunity to reminisce about our lives. When dinner is over, sit in a quiet corner with an older person and record a conversation using the StoryCorps app on your smartphone.

Yes, I know, many of you who are reading this are the ‘older person’ and you might not even own a smartphone, but read on. The Great Thanksgiving Listen was designed as a learning tool for students 13 and older to record and preserve the stories and voices of older relatives. It’s all about listening. If you have a teenager in your family, they might have already heard about this project from their history teacher but anyone can participate. If the person being interviewed agrees, the recording will be saved to the StoryCorps archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Go to to read about the project, download the app, and

“Help StoryCorps archive the wisdom of generations.”