Ever wanted to interview your relatives? This post will point you in the right direction as to why it is important to do interviews and also provide you with resources on how to interview and also the types of questions that you should be asking your relatives.
To me genealogy is more than just a hobby, it is more than just collecting names and dates. To me it is about uncovering those hidden ancestors and along the way uncovering their stories either be their successes or failures. Stories about struggles and adversity while others of happiness and joy.
Why Interview Anyone?
A great resource and technique to uncovering your Mexican Ancestry is interviewing. Be it either just asking a few questions or a full blown interview. Interviewing is essential since it will provide a written, audio, or video record of your ancestors life’s, hopes, and dreams.
For example if you interview your father and ask the sample questions provided later in this post you will not just record about him but also about his parents and grandparents how they were and his thoughts and impressions about them. You might also get some of those stories that has helped him define whom he is in life.
Who to interview?
I could list specifically the types of relatives one may have but i’ll save my time and your time, in short interview everyone you can.
Yes all your relatives and family friends that might have had known or know a person.
Genealogists always recommend that you interview the oldest relative that you may have and it is true. For example the best person to interview in my case will be my grandfathers cousin whom is 96 years old and still is of sound mind.
Imagine if I did not know whom my grandfathers grandparents where.
Do you think that his cousin whom has the same grandparents will know whom they were, you can bet he does. He might even know whom his great grandparents were.
How to prepare for an interview.
First, gather your notes about the person you are about to interview. Use all or some of the questions provided on the PDF in the next section.
Second, determine if it will be a written, audio, or video interview. For written interviews you just need pen and pencil. I prefer audio recordings since with a digital recorder you can just transfer the file to your computer. The benefits of audio or video is that you don’t have to worry about writing information but only focus on asking the right question.
- Digital Audio Recorders (from Amazon) FYI – you can also use your smart phone.
- Video Recorders (from Amazon)
Third, contact them in advance and introduce your self by providing exactly how you are related to them (that is if it is a distant relative whom does not know you personally).
Fourth, set up an interview date preferably in a quiet place.
Finally, don’t make it too long and always be respectful of their time.
For more great advise I recommend that you read FamilySearch’s Conducting Interviews PDF. View Here.
Sample Questionnaires for Genealogical Family Interviewing:
- Interview Questions – Compiled by Tracey Carrington Converse
- Sample Interview Questions – T. Harry Williams
Here is my Challenge:
Interview one relative and let me know in the comments section of what you gained from the interview. Sounds simple? I dare you to complete this challenge!