65 questions you can ask your relatives


One of the things that genealogists regret most is that they did not ask questions of the older generation in the family. Once they have passed away this is too late and this way a lot of knowledge of past life in the family disappears.

Church books and censuses only provides a limited insight into your family’s past history. By interviewing your relatives you can build an even better insight into your ancestors. Geneastuff has gathered this list of questions you can ask relatives to learn more about their past lives.

65 questions

  1. When and where were you born?
  2. When and where were you baptized?
  3. Which diseases did you have as a child?
  4. What sort of child were you?
  5. Do you know your parents names and when and where they were born/died?
  6. What were your parents occupations?
  7. Was your upbringing characterized by any religion?
  8. How do you remember your parents?
  9. Have you inherited any mannerisms from them?
  10. Which places have you lived?
  11. What was / is the full name of any siblings?
  12. When were your siblings born (and when did they die)?
  13. What is your earliest memory?
  14. Which schools did you attend?
  15. Did you enjoy being at school?
  16. Which subjects did you like most?
  17. Did you and your family go on vacations when you were little (if so, where)?
  18. Were you good at sports? Any ones in particular?
  19. How did everyday life look like when you were not at school?
  20. What did you dream of being when you were a child?
  21. Did you have many duties as a child?
  22. What was your first job?
  23. What other jobs have you had?
  24. If you could choose a profession again, what would it be?
  25. How long were your working days?
  26. Have you been in the military?
  27. Are there any fashion trends you chose to follow?
  28. Do you call yourself introvert or extrovert?
  29. How did you meet your husband / wife?
  30. Did you both come from the same area?
  31. What made you fall for him/her?
  32. How long a time did it take from when you met until you got married?
  33. Did you get along well with your in-laws?
  34. What were their occupations?
  35. Were you on a honeymoon (if so, where)?
  36. How did you decide what your children should be called?
  37. What are your children’s names and when and where were they born?
  38. Are there any events from your life that you remember particularly well?
  39. Do you remember your grandparents?
  40. What were your grandparents’ full names, birth dates and death dates?
  41. Is there anything you remember particularly well about your grandparents?
  42. Did you meet your own great grandparents?
  43. What were your great grandparents’ full names, birth dates, and death dates?
  44. What do you remember about them?
  45. Are there any recipes/dishes that have been passed down in the family?
  46. Are there any legends or other special stories about past relatives that have been passed on?
  47. Have you been hospitalized (if so, why)?
  48. Have you ever had an operation?
  49. What diseases/disorders do you know that your relatives have had?
  50. Do you know of any physical characteristics inherited in the family?
  51. Which of the technological advances that have developed in your lifetime have had the greatest impact on your life?
  52. What social changes do you remember when you look back on your life and your experiences?
  53. Which tough choices have you had to make in your life?
  54. Which hobbies do you have (or have had)?
  55. What other activities have you undertaken in your leisure time?
  56. Do you have pictures of older relatives?
  57. Have you had pets?
  58. Which countries have you visited?
  59. Which countries would you liked to have visited?
  60. Do you know the origin of your family name?
  61. What memories would you say are your best?
  62. What memories would you say are your worst?
  63. Is there something you are particularly proud of?
  64. Is there any advice you would like to give to your descendants?
  65. Is there anything you want to tell that I have not asked about?

When you first start the interview and the conversation these 65 questions can again lead to many additional questions.