How to Capture Your Family Story
To start gathering your family memories, arrange for a time to “interview” your subject. Your subject can be anyone from yourself (you get to be the interviewer and the interviewee), your spouse, a parent, grandparent or favorite relative?You can preserve the interview by recording it. Your family story is a treasure and worth preserving.
Click HERE to download a printable version of these questionst!
Start with the basics:
Have them give their name, their place and date of birth and their age at the time of the interview? These are only suggestions – ask about anything you might find interesting, or that you know is an interesting part of your subject’s life.
- What are three words that best describe your overall life?
- What was the happiest time of your life?
- What was the hardest part of your life?
- Who influenced you the most in your life?
- How many brothers and sisters do you have and where do you fall in the order?
- What were the names of your brothers and sisters?
- Who were you closest to?
- When you were born, what did your parents do for a living?
- Would you say you were poor, comfortable, or well off as a family at that time?
- What was your neighborhood like?
- Who were your neighborhood friends?
- Would you describe your childhood as a happy time? Why or why not?
- What did you do for fun on the weekends?
- Did you and your family take vacations and what did you do?
- Where did you go to elementary school?
- Did you like school?
- How were your grades?
- Did your parents read to you?
- What was your favorite childhood book?
- What was your best subject in elementary school?
- Did your teachers make you feel good about yourself?
- Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
- Did your family move around a lot when you were a child?
- Back to your parents – what was your mom like?
- Was she affectionate with you?
- Did she have any nicknames for you?
- What do you know about her background?
- What about your Dad?
- Were you close to him growing up?
- What about his background?
- What words do you most remember from your mom and dad?
- When you were a child, what did you think your adult life would be like?
- Did you dream of a career or traveling or having a home, or anything like that?
- What were your high school years like?
- Did you like high school?
- Were you involved in any activities?
- Who were your best friends?
- How would you describe yourself in your high school days?
- After high school, did you go straight to work or continue with more schooling?
- What were those years like?
- If you did go to college, did you apply yourself?
- How did you decide what to study?
- What was your college campus like in those days?
- What was your favorite course?
- How did you choose your career?
- If you had it to do over again would you choose the same one?
- Tell me about your first job? What was your work philosophy over the years?
- Did you enjoy going to work?
- What was the highlight of your career?
- Now, let’s talk about relationships.
- Tell me how you met ____________________ (spouse).
- How old were each of you when you met?
- Did you date right away or were you friends first?
- What attracted you to him/her?
- When did you know this was someone you could marry?
- Describe how you two got engaged?
- Who did you tell first? How long was your engagement?
- Did your parents approve of the marriage?
- Where were you married?
- Describe your ceremony and reception.?
- Where did you go for your honeymoon and for how long?
- Where did you two live when you were first married?
- Did each of you work?
- How much money did you both make annually?
- What was the hardest adjustment you had to make to marriage?
- Did you feel like you went into marriage prepared?
- What advice would you give to someone considering marriage?
- How would you advise them to choose a mate?
- Did you plan on having children?
- How long had you been married when you expected your first child?
- How did you choose his/her name?
- Where was he/she born?
- Were you there at the birth?
- Tell me about the births of all of your children?
- How did children change your marriage?
- What’s the best parenting advice you ever received?
- What advice would you give?
- What was your discipline philosophy regarding your children?
- What was the happiest time of raising your children?
- What about the saddest or hardest?
- Would you have done anything differently?
- Now let’s talk about your faith.
- What are your beliefs about God?
- What role has faith played in your life?
- What role does it play now?
- Do you read the Bible?
- If so, do you have a favorite verse?
- What do you believe happens after we die?
- As you look back over your life, what significant world events do you remember most? (Kennedy assassination, moonwalk, Viet Nam War, September 11)?
- What other events shaped your life – the defining moments?
- Did you ever go through serious illnesses or injuries?
- How did you pull through?
- Do you have any hobbies or interests?
- What about in the past?
- Are you / were you artistic or musical?
- Did you enjoy movies?
- What are your three favorites?
- Do you like to read?
- What are your three favorite books?
- What about politics – did you vote regularly?
- How were you registered – democrat, republican or other?
- Do you enjoy travel?
- Would you have liked to travel more?
- What was your best travel experience?
- If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?
- What would you like future generations to know about you?