Friday, May 22, 2015

Review on Friday: Interviewing Relatives

Don't put off doing this. Older family members don't live forever and they lose their memories. Once this source is gone, it is gone forever. 

Now that you have all your forms ready and your steno pad and possibly even a recorder, it is time  start talking to family members.

I personally like to start with the oldest living member. This may be grandparents, great-grandparents or great aunts or uncles. If you are like me the oldest member you will find is a cousin of our parent or grandparent.

In some cases, finding someone to interview can be an issue and not everyone may be will to talk with you. I got a very cold reception from one of my fathers cousins but I kept looking and found two others who were very happy to talk to me.

Ask them about their grandparents, family stories, anyone visiting they remember.  You may learn about family in other cities,  family secrets and a whole lot more. Be sure to leave the door open for further visits so that as you find facts you can talk to them about what you have found.

Ask questions but mostly listen and build a relationship. You want them to become a part of your search so be sure to bring copies of anything you have already. Ask if they have pictures of any ancestors or if they know who in the family may have pictures.

But most of all remember, nothing is a fact until you have some sort of document to prove it. It might be a good idea to buy a hand held scanner so that you can copy anything they might have. I now own one but didn't in the beginning.

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