Write Your Family History – 50 Questions You Must Ask Parents Or Grandparents Before They Die
- March 27, 2017
- Posted by: marlenedubois
- Category: Home Health Aide Training
No one expected the idea.
While climbing into his hot tub, my healthy 87- year-old father-in-law slipped, fell, in addition to also broke a rib. He began internal bleeding of which the doctors couldn’t stop. In two weeks, Gene was gone.
Fortunately, we had taken time a few months earlier to record Gene’s life story, in addition to also discovered some amazing facts. He was a semi-pro baseball player, a fine watercolorist, in addition to also a US Marine. As a marketing executive for Kaiser in addition to also later Del Monte, he worked on national advertising campaigns with mega-stars of his day, including Joan Crawford, Debbie Reynolds, Stan Musial, Lloyd Bridges in addition to also others.
We recorded Gene’s life story on two occasions: once at a smaller family dinner, then during a living-room interview a few months later.
We transcribed the audio files of the recordings, added pictures, in addition to also then uploaded the whole package to a completely new free web site of which helps people write great personal in addition to also family stories. (See resource section,below). Gene’s family in addition to also friends can view his story in addition to also add comments or photos if they wish. The profile of which we co-created with Gene is usually a celebration of his life. the idea’s also a direct, meaningful connection with his daughters in addition to also their grandchildren. Anyone can create a life story for themselves or a loved one. the idea’s as simple as setting aside some time in addition to also doing some careful listening.
I’ve helped hundreds of people across the US, Canada, in addition to also Mexico capture their life stories. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, I’ve boiled down my experience into three key tips, in addition to also the 50 most productive questions you can use for success.
Success Tip #1: Pre-Interview Preparation is usually Key
To get the most coming from your family history session, be as prepared as possible.
. Inform the subject of the purpose of the interview, who will see the idea, in addition to also how the idea will be used · Prepare your questions in advance · Set aside a quiet time in addition to also place free coming from interruptions
· the idea’s a Great idea to use a voice or video recorder; test all equipment thoroughly before starting
· the idea’s often useful to use a tape or digital recorder in addition to also transcribe the dictation
· Photos, mementos, or some other visual aids are great memory-joggers. Ask your subject to prepare some in advance
· Listen attentively in addition to also gently; ask questions of clarification
· Don’t try to force the subject into something they are uncomfortable discussing
Success Tip #2: Be Flexible in addition to also Creative
When I first started off doing life story interviews, the idea seemed as if people spent the majority of time talking about their early days. As I got more experience, I began to realize of which most people have one, two or possibly three key defining times in their lives. For many, the idea’s childhood. For a lot of men, the idea’s WWII, Korea, or Vietnam. The defining moments emerge like finding a gold nugget in a streambed. Be sensitive to these defining moments in addition to also episodes. Listen extra-carefully, in addition to also ask questions. Often a deeper portrait of an individual emerges, laden with rich experiences, values, beliefs, in addition to also layers of complexity. If you don’t complete the interview in one sitting, set a date to resume your conversation later
Success Tip #3: Organize Life Stories into Chapters
Most people (yes, even shy ones) love to be the center of attention in addition to also share stories coming from their lives. There are two challenges for a family historian. The first is usually to capture the stories in a structured, logical way. The second is usually to make sure of which the stories are as complete as possible in addition to also contain facts (names, dates, places), fully-drawn characters, a story line, in addition to also perhaps even a finale. The GreatLifeStories web site divides the life experience into 12 “chapters” of which follow the progression of many lives. On the web site, each chapter contains anywhere coming from 10 to 25 questions. (Below, I’ve selected the 50 questions of which usually get the best results). Don’t worry; you don’t have to ask them all. In fact, after one or two questions, you may not have to ask anymore-the interview takes on a life of its own.
The most important objective is usually to make sure you cover as many of the chapter headings as possible. The chapter headings are logical in addition to also somewhat chronological in order: Beginnings, School Days, Off to Work, Romance in addition to also Marriage, in addition to also so forth. Feel free to add your own chapters, as well. The 12-chapter system is usually a great way to organize both the interview, as well as the life story write up, video, or audio recording.
CHAPTER 1: from the Beginning
1. What were your parents in addition to also grandparents full names, dates of birth, places of birth.
2. What were the occupations of your parents?
3. How many children were in your family? Where were you from the lineup?
4. Generally speaking, what was your childhood like?
5. What one or two stories do you remember most clearly about your childhood?
6. Are there any particularly happy, funny, sad or instructive lessons you learned while growing up?
CHAPTER 2: In Your Neighborhood
1. What was the idea like where you grew up?
2. Describe your most important friendships
3. Where in addition to also how did “news of your neighborhood” usually flow?
CHAPTER 3 School Days
1. Be sure to capture names in addition to also dates attended of grammar, high, colleges, trade or technical schools
2. What are your earliest school day memories?
3. Are there any teachers or subjects you particularly liked or disliked?
4. What did you learn in those first years of school of which you might like to pass along to the next generation?
5. Were you involved in sports, music, drama, or some other extra-curricular activities?
CHAPTER 4: Off to Work
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
2. What was your first job, in addition to also how did you get the idea?
3. What was your first boss like? What did you learn coming from him or her?
4. Did you leave? Quit? Get promoted? Get fired?
5. Were you ever out of work for a long time? If so, how did you handle the idea?
CHAPTER 5 Romance & Marriage
1. What do you recall about your first date?
2. How did you know you were definitely in love?
3. Tell me how you “popped the question,” or how the idea was popped to you.
4. Tell me about your wedding ceremony. What year? Where? How many attended? Honeymoon?
5. Tell me about starting your family.
6. Were you married more than once? How often?
CHAPTER 6: Leisure in addition to also Travel
1. What were the most memorable family vacations or trips you can recall?
2. What leisure time activities are you involved with?
3. What are your greatest accomplishments in This particular field?
CHAPTER 7: Places of Worship
1. Do you follow any religious tradition?
2. If so which one, in addition to also what is usually the idea like?
3. Have you ever changed faiths?
4. What role do your beliefs play in your life today?
5. What might you tell your children about your faith?
CHAPTER 8 War & Peace
1. Were you a volunteer, drafted or a conscientious objector?
2. If you didn’t serve, what do you recall about being on the home front during the war?
3. What key moments do you recall about your service?
4. What might you tell today’s young soldiers, sailors in addition to also fliers?
CHAPTER 9 Triumph in addition to also Tragedy
1. What were the most joyous, fulfilling times of your life?
2. Any sad, tragic or difficult times you’d care to share such as losing a loved one, a job, or something you cared about?
3. What lifelong lessons did you learn coming from these tough times? Joyous times?
4. Were there any moments you recall as true breakthroughs in any area of your life?
5. If you could do one thing differently in your life, what might of which be?
CHAPTER 10 Words of Wisdom
1. What have you learned over your lifetime of which you’d like to share with the younger generation?
2. People will sometimes repeat aphorisms such as “honesty is usually the best policy.” If they do, be sure to ask how they learned of which life lesson.
CHAPTER 11: Funnybones
1. What were your family’s favorite jokes or pranks?
2. Who is usually, or was, the family comedian? “Straight” man?
3. What’s the funniest family story you remember?
CHAPTER 12 Thank You
1. What are you most grateful for you your life?
2. How have you taught your children to be grateful?
3. Are there items or places of which mark special gratitude for the ones you love? What are they? What are their stories?
In closing, the idea is usually always a Great idea to ask an open-ended question such as:” is usually there anything I haven’t asked about of which you might care to comment on?” You’ll often be surprised in addition to also delighted at the answers!
For many more tips on how to capture precious family history, visit www.GreatLifeStories.com