When starting to do your family history research, one of the first places you should start to look is to get information from the oldest living relative you know. This could be a grandparent or even a great grandparent.
One of the best ways to obtain information from your relatives and get to know them is to interview them and talk to them about their lives and memories; people are usually happy to talk about their lives and memories. Any interview you conduct, you must be sensitive to asking questions and not asking any questions that cause them to feel uncomfortable. We have listed out for you 100 plus interview questions and ideas of topics you can use to interview your relatives and others about your family history.
100 Plus Interview Question
Sometimes when you are getting ready to interview one of your relatives about their lives, it can be hard to come up with questions right on the spot. We have compiled a list of some questions that you can ask them. Feel free to pick and choose these questions according to the circumstances of the person you are interviewing.
When you are interviewing any of your family members a few things to remember are:
- Be Sensitive – Be sensitive to your relative’s needs, time, and other circumstances.
- Closely Watch Their Reactions – Watch their expression and reaction to see how they react to certain questions. If a question makes them seem very uncomfortable, you may not want to press on it. If they seem happy to answer and give you extra information, that is usually a sign they are happy to talk more.
- Make Them Feel Comfortable – Remember, when interviewing anyone and especially your relatives, you want them to feel comfortable answering your questions. If they become uncomfortable or act like they don’t want to answer them, you may not get all the answers that you want or need.
- Ask Permission – If you want to record your relatives, ask their permission before you record them. Please do not put them on the spot or try to force them to do something they do not want to do.
- Give Questions Ahead of Time – In some circumstances, it may be best to give them some questions ahead of time. This allows them to think about the answers, and you may get better information than just expecting them to answer off the top of their head.
- Use Old Photos – Photos are a great way to open people up and ask questions. Consider having some old photos to help stir up some good memories and ask them about.
100 Plus Family History Interview Question Ideas
- When were you born?
- Where were you born?
- How did you celebrate your birthday when you were young?
- Do you know where your family is from? Did they come from Europe or Asia or someplace else?
- What is one of your first childhood memories?
- Do you have any childhood friends that you remember?
- What did you like to do as a child?
- Can you tell me about your parents?
- When were your parents born?
- Where were your parents born?
- What do you remember about your parents?
- What do you remember about some of your siblings?
- What are all your sibling’s names?
- What order are you in the family?
- Do you remember any of the years and places your siblings were born?
- Where was the house that you grew up in?
- Do you remember the address of the house you grew up in? Do you know if that house is still standing?
- Do you remember any other houses that you lived in when you were a child?
- What did your father/mother do for work when you were young?
- Did you have a nickname growing up? If so, what were they and why was that your nickname?
- Are you named after someone in your family?
- Can you tell me some memories of your brothers and sisters?
- Describe the personalities of all your family members?
- What did you do for fun when you were younger?
- Was there anything you really didn’t enjoy doing when you were younger?
- Did your family have chores for you to do?
- Growing up, did you get any allowance? If so how much?
- Did you have any childhood heroes or heroines?
- What world events had the most impact on you as a child? How did it personally affect your family?
- How did your parents discipline you?
- What games did you enjoy playing when you were younger?
- Do you have any toys you remember playing with
- What school did you go to?
- What was your favorite subject at school?
- Do you have any favorite teachers that you remember?
- What is your favorite memory of school?
- When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- Did you serve in the military?
- If you served in the military, where did you serve
- Is there any experience with your military service that you would like to share with me?
- Did you go to college?
- Where did you go to college?
- What degree did you get from college?
- What was your first job?
- What was your profession?
- How did you decide on that profession?
- What is your favorite job you have done over the years?
- How old were you when you started to date?
- How did you meet your spouse (current partner)?
- How did you know you wanted to get married?
- How did you propose to your spouse?
- When and where did you get married?
- Can you tell me a little bit about your marriage ceremony?
- Did you go on a honeymoon? Where did you go?
- When did your spouse (partner) die?
- What advice would you give me about marriage?
- What do you believe is key to a successful marriage?
- Do you have any children? How many?
- What are the names and ages of your children?
- When and where were your children born?
- Tell me about what you remember about each of your children’s birth?
- What is the funniest thing you remember about your children when they were growing up?
- Did you go on any family vacations?
- What is your favorite memory of your family vacations?
- What advice would you give your children or your grandchildren about being a parent?
- When did your parents die?
- What do you remember about your parents?
- How did your parents meet?
- Where are your parents buried? What cemetery are they buried at?
- Where did your in-laws live? Do you have any memories of them?
- Did you go to church when you were young?
- What religion were you when you were young? Are you still practicing that religion?
- How different was the world when you were young versus the world today?
- Have you ever played a musical instrument?
- Do you have any hobbies you like to do now? Did you have any hobbies when you were younger?
- Have you traveled at all? What is your favorite place that you’ve ever traveled to and why?
- Did you have any pets growing up? What kind of pets were they, and what were their names?
- Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but you haven’t done it yet?
- Did you grow up around any other family members?
- What is the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
- Do you have any memories of any of your aunts and uncles and other relatives?
- If you have some memories of your aunts and uncles and other relatives, do you remember their names and where they were born?
- Do you remember any of your cousins?
- What were the names of your cousins? Where did they live? When and where were your cousins born?
- What was fashion like during your time of growing up?
- Were you ever mentioned in the newspaper or any other kinds of publications?
- What was a typical family dinner like when you were growing up? Did you all eat together as a family?
- Do you have a favorite book?
- How did you celebrate the holidays, birthdays Christmas? Did your family have any special kind traditions?
- What is the biggest change you see in the world today from when you were little?
- Do you know anything about your family surname?
- Are there any naming traditions in your family? For example, was the firstborn son always named after the paternal grandfather?
- Are there any family stories that you remember?
- Do you have any famous or infamous relatives in your family?
- Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
- Are there any family recipes that have been passed down?
- Are there any special heirlooms, photos, Bibles, or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
- What are some things you learned from your parents?
- What are some of your life’s accomplishments that you are proudest of?
- What is the one thing that you want people to remember most about you?
- Tell me about some of the places are times when you were the happiest?
- What is the best gift you ever receive or you gave?
- Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you would like to discuss?
Asking the right questions is a great way to learn more about your family. When you ask these questions, you will discover things about your family’s history that you did not know.
How Do I Prepare My Own Family History Tour?
Before you decide to travel to your Ancestor’ hometown, there are some things you should do to make sure your family history tour is successful. First, you must research as much genealogy as possible before you actually travel. You should then do some local research on the areas you are traveling to; map out what places you should visit. Also, take some time to study the maps of where you are traveling.
To learn more you can read our blog on 4 Tips To Preparing Your Own Family History Trip and Travel by clicking here.
How Can I Travel To Discover My Family Tree and Roots?
We can learn a lot about ourselves and our family roots when we travel and meet family members in faraway lands and places. We can learn from them about the lives of our ancestors who have gone before us. Knowing our family roots can give us a sense of belonging. When we get to know the stories of our ancestors, it can inspire our lives.
You can discover more by reading our blog Traveling to Discover Your Family Tree and Your Roots by clicking here.