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40+ Family Questions to Ask in a Family History Interview

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Don’t miss the opportunity to find out all you can about your older family members.  Here is a free printable of questions to ask family members in a family history interview and some ways to document their answers.  Do you have any family questions they could answer to tell your family story?

Family Questions to Ask in a Family History Interview + Free Printable

Where to begin? 

Print out this family question list, make a visit, and ask all your family questions in a family history interview of the ones you love. 

You will be glad you did. 

Start by doing one or more of these.

40+ Interview questions family history

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Ask them questions.

Every life has a story.  

We are all unique, a product of our past, shaped by our experiences.  

How much do you really know about the older folks in your family?

Interviewing them can unearth information and provide insights into how they became the person they are today.  

In turn, it may give you a better understanding of them and of yourself.  

Recording your family history interview will preserve it for the family in the years to come.

Tape it.

I sat down with my parents recently and asked them questions about their past.  

We taped our conversation using a recorder like this, so it could be shared with other family members and to preserve their words for the future.

In their 80’s now, they have seen tremendous changes during their lifetime.

I learned new details about them, in spite of thinking I already knew everything they were going to say.


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Family history interview questions printable

Enjoy yourself.

We all enjoyed our visit: I enjoyed asking family questions and they enjoyed sharing stories of their life with me.

Through this video, my children and grandchildren will know a bit more about these wonderful people.

A life to share.

Whether your older generation is in their 50’s or in their 80’s, there is a story to tell, a life to share, and history to gather.  

If you would like to interview those important people in your life, here are some family history questions to get you started.  

Use these to guide your encounter, altering as needed to fit the person being interviewed.  

Allow them to give details, share, and explain as they see fit.

Do you know what to ask? Find some questions to ask in a Family History Interview. Click to Tweet

Family Questions to ask in a family history interview:

Download the Printable

Demographic information

What is your full name?

Do you have any nicknames?

When is your birthday?

Where were you born?

What are your parent’s names?

Are they still living?

Do you have brothers or sisters?


Where did you live as a child?

What schools did you attend?

Did you graduate?

Did you enjoy school?

Did you play sports or participate in school activities?

What was your favorite subject?

Did you have a best friend?

Did you have any pets?

Did you go to church?

Were you baptized?

Did you know your spouse as a child/teenager

Who is the oldest relative you remember knowing? What do you remember about them?

Tell me about your childhood home.  Did you have a telephone?  TV?

Do you have any special memories of growing up?


Young Adulthood:

What was your first job?

Did you go to college?

Were you ever in the service?

Adult Life:

Have you been married?  To whom?  Details?

Do you have children?  Grandchildren?

How did it feel the first time you became a parent?

How did you earn a living throughout your life?

Have you always lived in the same place?

Have you always lived in the same place?

What has been your favorite vacation?

Have you ever traveled to another country?

Family History:

Are there any famous people in your family?

Have you traced your family tree?

When did our family come to the U.S.?

Are there any family heirlooms or precious items that have been passed down in your family?


What things have you found particularly stressful in your life?

Can you remember a time when someone said or did something that changed your life?

What is the key to a successful marriage?

Have you ever come close to death?  If so, did that change you in any way?

What is the best/worst part of growing older?

What do you hope your children and grandchildren will remember about you?

Do you have any advice for them?

Are there any traditions you hope they will continue to observe?

Do you have a bucket list?

Final Thought:

This interview process may take more than just one sit-down.  

It may be necessary to break the questions into sections, visiting several times.  

Take the time, make the effort to interview your relatives.  You’ll discover the details you would otherwise miss.  

And don’t forget to add some digital pictures you’ve saved from their past to complement your family interview.  

You’ll be glad you did!

Feel free to share your comments below.  

Keep Passing Down the Love,

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You might also be interested in these:

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5 Easy Ways to Preserve Family History

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Sarah Hluchy

Friday 5th of April 2019

I just wrote these down in a notebook for ideas about gathering family history and writing down notes. I really need to ask my maternal grandfather some questions about his past soon, because he's finally actually acting old! He's 80 now, and his abilities to do and remember things have gone steadily downhill the past five years. I need to record his memories before they get locked away or lost. I already visit with mom's family several times a year, so it won't be hard to carve out time to ask granddad and grandma some questions, and my aunts and cousins would surely enjoy listening to their answers and stories too.

I already missed this opportunity with my paternal grandmother; one of her last regrets was not telling me and my brother more about her past. I still have my dad, uncle, and my uncle's ex wife to speak to on dad's family history, which is great.


Friday 5th of April 2019

It is so fun to do this and will mean so much to your Grandfather that you are interested in his life. The whole family benefits from this!

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