Trying to get family history information from your family can be difficult. Sometimes family members don’t know the answers and sometimes people don’t like talking about it. On the other hand your parents or grandparents might enjoy sharing stories and memories from their past. Family history is important and it can also be super fun to learn and discover more about your past, however sometimes it can be hard to know just where to start!
Today I am going to give you a list of family history interview questions that you can use in your family interviews. These questions are designed to help you ask family members about their family past so that next time you have a family gathering, you can everyone talking about family history and sharing those family stories and experiences you might otherwise miss put on.
10 Starter Family History Questions
So here are ten questions you can ask your parents or grandparents that might help get family history conversations flowing on your family gatherings:
1. What do you know about our family’s past?
2. Is there a family story or family legend that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family? Can you tell this family story to me?
3.When did members of our family come to ________ [US, Canada,UK,New Zealand] ?
4. Were any family members involved in the ________ [US civil war, WWII] ?
5. What’s your earliest memory of family events?
6. Have you ever visited family graves or other family history sites?
7. Do family members have any family heirlooms that we would be interested in seeing?
8. What family stories do family members remember hearing?
9. What family traditions has our family kept up over the years?
10. What family stories do family members remember being told about our family history?
10 Family History Research Questions
You may want to ask questions to help you with your family history research. Here are some family tree questions that may just help.
1. What family records, documents or photographs does the family have that tell us about family history?
2. What family stories are written down?
3. What was the occupation of our ancestor who first came to [your country] ?
4. Where did they settle in [your country] ?
5. Did any members of our family have professions or titles before they changed careers or retired?
6. Who were our ancestors’ closest neighbours and friends?
7. What were the reasons our ancestors came to [your country] ?
8. Were members of our family wealthy or poor? How did they pass the time in their free time, with holidays or traditions?
9. Did any family members live through _________ [a war, natural disaster] ?
10. How did our family members make a living? Were they self-employed or did they work for someone else?
The Importance Of Family History Interviews
Of course, the most important reason to ask your parents about family history is to learn more about your own family.
The same questions you use to ask grandparents and extended family members can help make your research even stronger so that’s another reason it’s important. However, the most important reason to be asking these questions and learning more about family history has nothing to do with you or any other individual person. The reason it’s important to be learning about family history is for your future generations.
Your grandparents or parents may not live forever, and when they pass away you will lose the opportunity to learn from them and hear their stories firsthand. However, by conducting family interviews now you can ensure that even if your parents are no longer here that your children can know more about their family history.
10 Questions to Ask Your Dad About His Childhood
Here are ten questions to ask your dad about his childhood. If you’d like, you can use these same questions for your grandparents or any other family members.
1. What was your parents’ relationship with each other like when you were growing up?
2. Who did most of the housework in your household while you were growing up?
3. What were your family’s favourite activities to do together when you were growing up?
4. Did you have any responsibilities while you were growing up that other kids in your neighbourhood didn’t have to help out with?
5. What was it like living in a small town vs living somewhere more crowded, like a city.
6. What kinds of things did your parents allow you to do when you were a kid?
7. How often did your family go on holiday together when you were growing up?
8. Were there any family traditions that your family has kept up over the years?
9. What was it like celebrating Christmas or other holidays as a child?
10. Were there any family secrets that you grew up with?
10 Questions to Ask Your Mum About Her Childhood
If you get the chance to talk to your mom about her childhood then here are some great questions to ask.
1. What is your earliest childhood memory? This one can be tough for someone who’s elderly but it will give you a really good glimpse into what they’re like in their younger years. You might even uncover family secrets about an experience.
2. What was your favorite game to play as a child?
3. How many siblings do you have? If
4. What’s a family tradition that you did as a child growing up?
5. When was your first kiss?
6. If you could go back in time would you change anything at all about your childhood? Why or why not?
7. What is your most memorable childhood experience?
8. If you could relive any moment of your life what would it be and why?
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
10. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
More Family Tree Questions to Ask Your Parents
You have plenty of ideas questions and topics to talk to your parents and or grandparents about but just incase you need a few more, here are ten fun questions to ask your grandparents.
- What’s your earliest memory of a family trip or holiday?
- What was your favorite childhood game to play?
- Who, if anyone, did you idolize when you were a child? Why?
- Did you have any pets as a child and if so what kind and what were their names?
- Do you have a favorite family tradition to pass down from generation to generation.
- What sorts of memories do you have growing up during certain holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas (etc.)?
- Do you have any family stories from the past that your family likes to re-tell?
- What has been the hardest part of raising children/grandchildren/great grandchildren (etc.) for you?
- Who has been the biggest influence in your life? how?
- What are your biggest hopes and dreams for the future?
Learn More About Your Family History Today
There is no better way to build family history than passing down stories, memories and past experiences. While it might seem like just a bunch of old photos and boring stories, there’s a lot more hidden behind those pictures and words. Spending time talking with parents and grandparents can uncover family secrets and amazing life events that could have otherwise been lost to time.
So what are you waiting for? Why not spend some quality time with your parents and or grandparents today and learn more about their lives? You might be surprised by what you discover.