question-marksSo you’ve made it to your family gathering … and you’re doing the usual catch-up of who’s done what over the past year … and sometime during the afternoon the opportunity arises to ask some of the more interesting questions, the one’s more genealogically relevant! Or at least historically anyway.

So it pays to be prepared.

Now if you’ve read Part 1 of this post you’ll know the things that you need to take with you, and in this one we’re going to give you a short list of questions to ask your reli’s.

We know all about the questions like … what was your childhood like, as well as school, the holidays, and just generally what life was like in the olden days? And while they are important questions, I’m not going to repeat them here. So here’s some of the more obscure, but interesting questions:

  1. When you were young, were you given specific chores to do?
  2. What was your favourite subject as school?
  3. Did you ever learn to play an instrument? If so, what one?
  4. Have you been through any major disasters (floods, fires, earthquake, cyclone)?
  5. Who taught you to drive a car?
  6. Where do you consider your ‘home town’ to be?
  7. What was the worst injury you’ve ever had?
  8. If you were around when a war was on, what is your memory of life at that time?
  9. Did any relatives speak another language? If so, what?
  10. Who is someone you looked up to?
  11. Do you (or have you) kept a diary? Or like to photograph everything?
  12. Name a past generation relative who you loved to visit.
  13. Name one of the most significant changes you’ve seen in your lifetime.
  14. Tell me something that you’re proud of.
  15. Would you like to share some wise words for the next generation?

For more question ideas as well as guidance on how to conduct an oral history interview, there are numerous books available which you can view here, and Cyndi’s List has a whole category dedicated to links about oral history which you will find here.

So go and enjoy your family, and enjoy your family gathering. And all the best for getting any more family history and memoirs recorded.