Convert Audio Recordings to MP3

Posted November 11, 2010 by Geni | No Comment

Many genealogists use interviews as a means of research, and until recent years it was both difficult and costly to create audio recordings of an interview in digital format.  Now that cassette tapes and older formats are becoming more and more rare, it is as important as ever to begin transferring the audio from previous generations to formats that can continue to live in a world of iPods and mobile devices.  This is especially important for genealogists, as audio records contain invaluable information and stories that need to be preserved for future branches of the family tree.

Converting the Audio

There are many guides on the web that can help you transfer audio from various formats to your PC, including ones for audio cassettes, vinyl records, and basically any other format that has a headphone jack, or a jack that can be plugged into a stereo with a headphone jack.  And the best thing is, it’s free.

If you prefer visual instruction, try searching YouTube for something like [convert cassette to mp3] and find short, easy videos like this that demonstrate exactly what steps you should take.

Archiving Your Audio

Once you have created your .mp3, don’t stop there!  Just as cassettes can be ruined and compact discs can be scratched, a digital file can become corrupt or (gasp) accidentally deleted.  Once you have a priceless recording converted to a digital format, make sure you back up the file in locations that will be easily accessible.  Services like Google Docs will allow you to upload and store files of any format for free (there are limitations on file size with most services, and you can pay for more storage). There are many free mp3/streaming services that are useful for both archiving and sharing your interviews.

Share The Audio!

Once you have digital versions of your interviews, it’s easy to carry them with you on an mp3 player, smart phone, or laptop. Take your interviews with you and share them with family at reunions and over the holidays. And if you use any of the streaming services listed above, you can share the links to interviews on your relative’s/ancestor’s Geni profiles.