Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Recording and remembering migration and mobility

Electronic data

  • Colin G. Pooley(0804) - published

    Final published version, 151 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Recording and remembering migration and mobility: how and why do recollections gained from oral history differ from entries in personal diaries

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/08/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Mobility Humanities
Issue number2
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)60-75
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper uses diaries and oral history to assess the ways in which memory may alter accounts of migration and mobility. The diarist was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and in 1938, at the age of 18, she migrated to London (England) to work as a typist for the Inland Revenue. Her detailed diaries provide a vivid account of her migration and her subsequent life and mobility in London. Some 60 years after she came to London the diarist was interviewed in her own home, and was asked about her recollections of migration and of her new life in London. The paper focuses on three themes: the initial migration from Londonderry to London, building a life and travel in London, and her continued links to Ireland. For the most part the diary entries and the oral history account are very similar. The main differences relate to the ways in which some aspects, especially those linked to fear and uncertainty, have changed over time, with some worries fading but others becoming more pronounced, and through the impact of later acquired knowledge changing the diarist’s interpretation of events. It is concluded that both diaries and oral history can provide reasonably reliable and consistent accounts of past migration and mobility.