click to view original photo

Insight on Interviewing Elderly Relatives This Season

Family is important during the holidays. If you are going to visit with elderly family members this season, it would be a great opportunity to record some history.

Share

Content Details

Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Kristin Brandt
Word Count: 305 (approx.)
Short URL:

Add Comment

Family is important during the holidays. If you are going to visit with elderly family members this season, it would be a great opportunity to record some history. If your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles still have keen memories, perhaps you can persuade them to sit down for a tape-recorded interview. With the family together, get out the camcorder and record some footage of all your relatives, carefully reported so future generations can put a name with a face. Perhaps older relatives could assist you in identifying unknown faces in old photographs. A visit with an elderly relative can be very helpful in preserving precious information that would otherwise go with them at death.

Preparing ahead of time is an important part of getting quality information out of your visit. Have a partial list of questions ready that you'd like answered. A lifetime is a lot to talk about; therefore, you might want to focus on a specific time period, such as the Depression, or a specific aspect of life. Make sure to ask open-ended questions like, "What do you remember about your father?" or "What did your father teach you?" instead of "What was your father's name?" and "Did you like him?" Open-ended questions allow the individual to expound and give more detailed information. Allow plenty of talk time without distractions. Turn the television off and leave the room full of screaming children. If your relatives don't mind, you may want to record your conversations with a tape recorder or camcorder.

Even if you are only able to briefly visit with your relatives, record what you learn. Just ask questions, and they will probably be thrilled at your interest. Try to learn about the lives of your living ancestors while you have the chance. A vast amount of information and history might be lost otherwise.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2003.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

Recent Feedback:
  • No matches for this listing.
  • << GenWeekly

    << Helpful Articles

     

    Suggested Next Steps (BETA)

  • Would you like to keep up-to-date with the latest releases from Genealogy Today, along with news from a variety of other sources by receiving The Genealogy News (a FREE service) by email? Yes, sign me up
  • Would you like to become a Genealogy Today member and be able to manage your research experience, post messages to forums, add comments to resources and much more? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to tap into our community of over 85,000 members by posting a query and get assistance breaking down your most difficult brickwalls? Yes, show me how
  • Would you like to go shopping in a marketplace of over 700 items, including charts, scrapbooking materials, books and a variety of unique gifts and supplies? Yes, take me there
  • Would you like to search for your ancestors in a collection of over 6,000 transcribed documents that includes Masonic lodge rosters, funeral notices, school catalogues, telephone directories, insurance claims, directories, church member lists, prison records, etc.? Yes, take me there