Interviews with family members can be an incredible way to preserve and learn about your family’s history and memories. In this blog post, we will provide you with steps and examples to help you conduct a successful family history interview. Whether you’re a seasoned genealogist or just starting out, these tips will help you gather valuable information and memories from your relatives.

Step 1: Preparation

Before you conduct the interview, you will want to prepare by gathering as much information as possible about your family member. Start by reviewing any family records, photos, and documents you have on hand. You can also reach out to other family members to see if they have any information or stories to share.

Once you have a general understanding of your family member’s life, you can start to formulate a list of questions to ask during the interview. Consider questions about their childhood, education, work history, family life, and personal experiences.

Step 2: Setting Up the Interview

Choose a location for the interview that is comfortable and conducive to conversation. You may want to consider meeting at the family member’s home or at a nearby park or restaurant.

When scheduling the interview, make sure to choose a time that works well for both of you. Try to allow enough time for a relaxed and unhurried conversation.

Step 3: Conducting the Interview

Before you begin the interview, take a moment to explain why you’re conducting the interview and what you hope to achieve. This will help put your family member at ease and give them a sense of purpose.

Start the interview by asking open-ended questions that encourage your family member to share their stories and experiences. For example, you can ask:

  • What was your childhood like?
  • Can you tell me about your family?
  • What was it like growing up in your community?
  • What are some of your favorite memories from your life?

As your family member shares their stories, listen attentively and encourage them to continue. If they become stuck or have trouble remembering a specific event, try prompting them with additional questions or gentle reminders.

Step 4: Recording the Interview

It’s a good idea to record the interview so that you can refer back to it later. You can use a digital audio recorder, a video camera, or simply write down the answers as they are given. Just make sure to get your family member’s permission before recording the conversation.

Step 5: Following Up

After the interview, take the time to transcribe or summarize the conversation and organize the information you have gathered. If there are any questions or stories that your family member didn’t have time to answer during the interview, you can reach out to them later for follow-up information.

You may also want to consider sharing the information and stories you’ve gathered with other family members. This can help to create a sense of connection and shared history among your family members.

Example Interview Questions

Here are some example questions you can use as a starting point for your interview:

  • Can you tell me about your parents and their families?
  • Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?
  • Can you tell me about your education and career?
  • Can you tell me about your wedding and your family life?
  • What are some of your favorite memories from your life?
  • Can you tell me about any significant events or experiences that shaped your life?
  • Can you tell me about any family traditions or customs that have been passed down to you?

Conclusion

By following these steps and using these example questions, you can conduct a successful family history interview. Remember to approach the interview with an open mind