Here are ideas of questions to ask when interviewing a family member about their history.
Well-crafted, open-ended questions can yield fruitful results when you interview family for purposes of family history. The following is an outline of questions you may want to consider. Take time to tailor the questions to the person you are interviewing.
When you are ready to conduct an interview, have the questions in front of you to make sure you are getting the information you desire. Conversations about family can go many directions. When possible, record the interview on audio or video.
What is your full name and why were you named that? (Include maiden name for women.)
Were you named after someone else?
Did you have a nickname when you were growing up? If so, what was it and why were called that? Have you had any other nicknames as an adult?
What do your family members call you now?
When and where were you born?
When were you baptized, and what was your religion?
What was the religion of your parents and your grandparents?
What church, if any, do you attend now? What church do your parents and your grandparents attend?
Where was your first home? In what other homes/places have you lived?
What were your earliest memories of your home?
Could you tell me a story or any memory of your brothers and sisters?
What are the full names of your brothers and sisters?
What did your family do for fun when you were a child?
Was there a chore you really hated doing as a child?
What kinds of books did you like to read?
Do you remember having a favorite nursery rhyme or bedtime story? What was it?
Do you remember not having enough food to eat because times were hard for your family?
What were your favorite toys and what were they like?
What were your favorite childhood games?
Were there any fads during your youth that you remember vividly?
Where did you attend grade school?
Where did you attend high school?
What were your schools like?
How did you like school?
What was your favorite subject in school and why?
What subject in school was the easiest for you?
What was your least favorite subject in school and why?
Who was your favorite teacher and why was he/she special?
How do your fellow classmates from school remember you best?
Did you get good grades?
What did you wear to school? Describe it.
What school activities and sports did you participate in?
Did you and your friends have a special hangout where you liked to spend time?
Where was it and what did you do there?
Were you ever given any special awards for your studies or school activities?
How many years of education have you completed?
Describe yourself as a young adult. Did you attend any school or training after high school? If so, what was your field of study?
Do you have a college degree(s)?