How to Record Your Family History

There is an old African saying that says, “When an elder dies, it is as if an entire library has burned to the ground.”  This quote struck me after I have seen a further decline in my mother’s memory.  Since Mother’s Day is around the corner, I thought it would be a great opportunity to sit down with my mom and ask her some key questions that would help me to record the oral history of our family.  Perhaps, this list of questions will be an incentive for others to open conversations with their loved one and share enlightening and entertaining memories.  Here is my list of 35 questions:

What were the full names, dates of birth, and places of birth of your parents and grandparents?

What level of education did you parents complete?

What was their occupation?

Did your parents serve in the military?  If so, in what capacity?

What do you remember most about your mother and father?

What memories do you have of your grandparents?

How many siblings did you have?  Any interesting facts about your siblings?

Where were you born?  What setting?

What health issues did your family experience?

Any special talents in your family?

Tell me about the neighborhood you lived.

What traditions did your family establish?

What was your favorite holiday?  Why was it special?

Where did you go to school?  (Grammar school, high school, college)

Share a special memory of each school

How would you summarize your academic records?

What youth sport or activity did you participate?

What faith did you practice?  How did you worship?

What friends made a difference in your younger years?

Talk about your job history?

How old were you when you started driving?  What was your first car?

Who was your first date?

What did you do for entertainment?

How old were you when you got married?

Talk about your wedding day.  Anything significant?

What special tradition did you do during your wedding?

Who stood up for you at your wedding?

Explain a time when you were rebellious?

Has there been a time when you were involved in a life-changing incident?

What has been your biggest accomplishment?

What has been your biggest regret?

What event in your life caused the most anxiety?

When have you been the happiest?

Is there a special quote or saying that you are known for?

What family tradition would you like to see passed on to future generations?

Every year, Family Tree Magazine reviews the best websites for doing genealogy research.  A complete family tree would also be a great way to record the history of your family. Check out their collection of the best 101 websites and begin building your own personal family library.


About the author

I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

More posts by Senior LivingTopics



  • I needed to create you one very little word just to say thanks as before just for the fantastic guidelines you have contributed in this article. This has been certainly pretty open-handed with you to supply without restraint what exactly a number of us would have offered for an ebook to end up making some cash on their own, most notably given that you might well have tried it if you decided. The ideas likewise worked as a good way to realize that some people have similar interest just like my personal own to know a good deal more with regard to this issue. I am certain there are lots of more pleasant instances ahead for individuals that check out your blog post.

  • My wife and i felt now comfortable that Edward could do his basic research because of the ideas he discovered from your web page. It’s not at all simplistic to simply possibly be giving freely facts that many many people could have been trying to sell. And now we do understand we’ve got the blog owner to appreciate for that. All the illustrations you made, the easy blog menu, the relationships you can aid to instill – it’s everything impressive, and it’s facilitating our son and the family feel that the theme is enjoyable, which is exceedingly pressing. Thank you for all the pieces!

  • Thank you so much for providing individuals with an exceptionally terrific possiblity to read critical reviews from here. It can be very lovely and also stuffed with fun for me and my office colleagues to visit your web site at minimum thrice every week to learn the new secrets you have. And lastly, I’m so actually motivated considering the effective concepts you serve. Certain 1 ideas in this post are absolutely the most impressive I’ve had.

  • I actually wanted to construct a quick comment in order to say thanks to you for the remarkable secrets you are writing at this site. My incredibly long internet investigation has at the end been paid with good quality know-how to go over with my family. I would point out that many of us visitors actually are unequivocally endowed to exist in a fabulous website with many brilliant professionals with valuable strategies. I feel truly fortunate to have used your entire weblog and look forward to really more pleasurable times reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

  • Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an extremely wonderful chance to discover important secrets from this site. It really is very awesome plus stuffed with fun for me and my office mates to visit your site not less than three times weekly to see the new guides you have got. Of course, I’m so certainly amazed with the unique concepts served by you. Certain two ideas in this article are honestly the most efficient we have all ever had.

  • I want to express my affection for your kind-heartedness in support of men and women that must have assistance with this topic. Your real commitment to passing the message all through had become really productive and have without exception empowered regular people much like me to achieve their aims. Your personal important hints and tips means a lot a person like me and additionally to my office workers. With thanks; from all of us.



Add a comment