Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No Regrets - Interviewing Your Older Relatives

It just so happened that my cousin got married the year that my older son had the family heritage assignment.  My grandfather was in amazingly great shape in his early 90s and golfed as much as possible.  Sadly he wasn't physically up to joining the traditional pre-wedding golf day with all the men in the family.  But that turned into the golden opportunity for my son to interview him.  I am so incredibly thankful we got to do that, because he passed away only 6 months later.  But I do have two regrets.  Firstly, most of the questions were pretty superficial (about pets, hobbies, etc.).  That made sense coming from his great-grandson.  But I wish I asked him some more introspective ones.  Secondly, I wish I had given him a microphone to speak into.  We had a room full of people, so at times it was difficult to hear him on the video.  And since I was holding the camera, my voice came in the loudest - which is a painful thing indeed!  I hope to figure out a way to edit out the background noise with Photoshop Premiere, when Michael needs to listen to it for his assignment.

Given how busy the school year is, we will be aiming to interview grandparents over the summer.  I found some great questions online that I would like to borrow.  Thank you Treasure Maps Genealogy for your many great ideas!  I will also be asking my technophile hubby for help securing a cordless microphone.  Please comment with any suggestions you might have.

- Who where the most influential people in your life (relative, teacher, coach, boss, etc) and why?
- What hard-earned lessons have you learned in your life?
- What was a life-defining or life-altering moment in your life?
- What do you want to make sure we know about your parents/grandparents/siblings?
- What predictions would you make for each of your grandchild's lives?
- What wisdom do you want to pass down the generations?


  1. What a noble quest you are on, here! I found your blog via GeneaBloggers, and I'm interested in seeing how the year goes for you, and what ideas you uncover for inspiring the next generation to take interest in their family history.

    1. Thank you for your support! Love The GeneaBloggers community!

  2. Wonderful project! Best wishes! ;-)

    Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

    1. Thank you so much. What a complement! Sounds like you are one accomplished genealogist. Got to check out your family saga novels!

  3. I, too, have a teenager and I look forward to hearing how you keep him interested. I have that "glazed" eye problem, too. We are fortunate to have a couple of military scrapbooks from an uncle in WWII. These have served as a great place to start to get my teen interested in family history. Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much for your support! I was hoping to find other parents of teens. I definitely want to look more into the path my grandfathers took during World War II in Europe and Africa.