Feel like flying solo for a while?
There are many free or inexpensive ways to get started on your journey! The suggestions below are just that, suggestions. Note: I don’t receive any financial benefits from suggesting these services and items to you!
Ask Them Questions – Family History Project
You don’t have to have special, fancy equipment to start this project. All you need is something that records audio and/or visual! If you have a smart phone, you have all the equipment you need. Sit down with your family member, and touch record. It’s that simple.
Okay, it’s not that simple. If you want a GOOD recording, you’ll need to follow a few key rules.
- Sit in a quiet room in order to limit ambient noises that could drown out your family member’s responses.
- Make sure that there isn’t a light source behind your family member. (Unless you want them to look like they are in witness protection.) In fact, make sure that you have a light shinning on your family member. You can pick up a fairly inexpensive “selfie light” like this one to clip on your phone and shine on your subject!
- Unless you want to spend an hour or so holding your phone, I suggest investing in a tripod like this.
You can move chronologically through time, or focus on a specific event. Having family photos on hand is a great way to start conversations, too. You never know where a simple question can take you! Here are some example questions to start with:
- What were your siblings like as kids?
- Tell me about your mother as a mom/your father as a dad.
- Did you know your aunts, uncles, or grandparents?
- When did people come over to your house, and who were they?
- What was your favorite toy, and why?
- How did you celebrate holidays as a kid?
- Who were your friends growing up?
- What is the first movie you remember seeing?
- What did you do during summer break?
- What elementary school/middle school/high school did you attend?
- What is something that you’d like me to know about your childhood?
- Who was your first sweetheart?
- What was your first job?
- Did you go to University, what was it like?
- Tell me about your spouse.
- What was your wedding like?
- How would you describe your spouse’s family? Who do you remember meeting?
- What is your first memory of parenthood?
- How did you like to relive stress as a young parent?
- Did you have any hobbies that have gone by the wayside?
- What was your favorite vacation? What happened during it?
- Is there anything you’d like me to know about your adulthood that I haven’t already asked?
FAMILY BRANCHES…this is where family photos come in handy!
- Who were your aunts? Whose sister were they? Who did they marry? What were they like?
- Who were your uncles? Whose brother were they? Who did they marry? What were they like?
- Do you remember your grandparents?
- Do you remember your great-grandparents?
- Do you remember going to a particular cemetery where many family members are buried?
Organization of Your Records