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Writing a Personal History or Family History

A guide to conduction a personal history interview

Your family is the largest single force shaping your life. Record your family’s history so it can be preserved. Knowing where you came from and what your family’s story is an invaluable treasure. If you make a point of recording and writing down you family story it is something that can be cherished for generations. These questions also make excellent guide to conduct a interview with a parent, grandparent or anyone else.

25 question about your family to conduct personal history interview

Your Father

What was your fathers name?
When and where was he born?
What was your father like?
What was his strongest feature?
Did he have a phrase he liked to use?
What did he do to relax?
What games did he play with you?
What was his valued possession?
Did you father have a nick name for you?
What did your fatehr call your mother?
Did your Father build anything?

Your Mother

What was your mothers name?
When and where was she born?
What was your mother like?
What did she look like?
Did she work outside the home?
What did she do to relax?
What games did she play with you?
What was your favorite thing she cooked?
Did she do any crafts or make things?

Brothers and Sisters

Do you have any siblings?
What are they like?
What are the personalities of your siblings?
What games did you play together?
What did you fight about with your siblings?
What was something nice that you did for a sibling?
What was the biggest trouble one of your siblings got into?
Where are your sibling now?
What do you admire about you siblings?
Did any of your brothers and sisters have nick-names for each other?
Did you ever baby sit your siblings or have them baby sit you?
When did your sibling help you out of a tight spot?
What did your siblings call you?
Is there any fight from you childhood that still bothers you?
What was siblings wedding like?
Describe you nieces/nephews?

Extended Family

What do you remember about your Grandma?
What do you remember about your Grandpa?
When did you spend time with your aunts and uncles?
Was there a strong personality among your relatives?
Did you have close relationships with your cousins?
What games did you play with your cousins?
Did you ever live with a relative other than you parents?
Did you have a relative live with you?

General Family Information

What was the happiest time for your family?
What was the saddest time for your family?
Was English the first language for everyone in your family?
Did anyone in the family speak with accents?
How many languages were spoken in your home?
Did anyone in the family play musical instruments?
Describe your family home in detail.
Did you have to share a room or did you have your own room?
Did you move around as a family?
When did you and you siblings get in trouble?
Did you have any pets?
What did you do for holidays?
What kinds of chores did you have?
Did any one in your family ever appear in the newspaper?

These questions are not designed to be a check list they are designed as a starting point for a conversation. Please ask and answer what ever follow up questions come to mind. Remember that some questions may be awkward to ask or answer but if you do not get that information it may be lost forever.

You may also want to look at these other Personal/Family History pages:

General Information
Growing Up
Dating and Marriage
Work and Occupation

Asking the right questions is more important than knowing the answer.                    home

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