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?


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