Family History Interview is about family, be respectful at all times do not push. You can express your excitement and passion for the genealogy research that you have gathered on your ancestors.
Be prepared! Make a list of questions to ask your interviewee. Know who you will be interviewing and their relationship to you and your parents.
First: ask each party for his/her full name; John Edward Smith and Elizabeth Ann Aldrich Smith.
Second: if you are interviewing your grandmother, verify that you have her full name correct.
Do Both Sides of Family:
Should you be researching just your father's side the Smiths,
still ask your grandmother for information on the Aldrich family.
This could be just a sheet on her parents and her siblings. If she knows her grandparents do a family group sheet on them. The surprise is the other side of the family just might be well know, well like and in business or in the professions.
Wouldn't you love to hear stories about great-grandfather Aldrich. The only doctor around for 50 miles, who went out in horse and buggy at 2am to deliver babies.Try Ancestry.com and get 14 Days FREE!
After asking and writing down the names of your interviewee(s) ask for the name of each
parent. This ancestry search information should be immediately written down on the family group sheet.
Naming of Children:
Many families name their children after themselves or in the case of prior generations after their parents. Usually the first son is named after his father's father and the first daughter is named after her mother's mother. Other children are usually named
after brothers and sisters.
At the family history interview remember to ask for full birth dates, place of birth; city, county and state. Ask the same information for marriage and death. If full information is not available, assure him/her that any part of the birth, marriage or death information will be helpful.
Ask the following questions:
Occupations are helpful and interesting. The occupation can tell you why your ancestor lived in a particular area. Farmers lived where the land was fruitful not where rocks and stones abound.
Before cars and trains there were boats. Boatmen and lumbermen lived near or on rivers and by canals. In one of my lines the men were lumbermen not lumberjacks.
The lumbermen did not cut down the trees. Lumbermen moved the lumber from place to place down the river and possibly thru a canal.
One woman might have been a seamstress and opened a millinery shop. Another woman might
have made baked goods and sold from her house. This is another part of your ancestry
Education can be enlightening. Did your great-greatgrandfather have only a grade school education but was very smart because he loved to read and learn as much as posssible. Was your grandmother the first in her family to go to college?
Ask your interviewee if he/she knows about any hobbies. Has an ancestor done any woodworking and had entries in the county fairs? What about a great aunt who entered her special apple
pie in the county fairs and won blue ribbons. There could be a newspaper article to include in your family history.
Was your great-grandfather the first member of his family to immigrate to the United States.
See if your grandparent knows the place of birth and the last city lived in, as well as the city your great-grandfather emigrated from.
There are many more genalogy questions to ask: do you have any school year books, any newspaper articles; obituarty notices, or funeral cards. Keep those little gray cells working.
The family history interview could take up a lot of time, so beware of the age and health of your interviewee. If you think the person is tiring ask if he/she would like you to stop and come back at another time to continue.
Enjoy your family history interview.