Genealogy for Kids: Conducting Interviews

I personally think that kids can often be better interviewers than adults.  Grandma or Grandpa is more apt to happily answer questions about their childhood when they’re being interviewed by their adorable grandchild, aren’t they?

Who could say no to her?

I know that my grandparents told me lots of stories when I was little – I just wish that I could remember all of them!  I unfortunately didn’t take notes and they didn’t write them down.  Many of them are lost forever.

I have decided to enlist the  help of my older children this year in interviewing their grandparents and great-grandmother.  I can even make it part of their writing assignments in our homeschool.

A quick Google search brings up a plethora of genealogy interview questions, including this one from Kimberly Powell at About.com and this one on Rootsweb.  My favorite resource for memory triggers is Personal Historian.  (I want to thank Bruce Buzbee over at RootsMagic for giving my daughter, Ellie, a copy of this program – it’s wonderful!)

The following worksheet is actually just a simple space for the kids to write the questions that they want to ask their grandparents, because I want them to choose what to ask – what they want to know.  I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of interesting questions they come up with. Who knows what neat memories their questions might spark?

Did you ever raid the cookie jar?

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Did my mom get in trouble a lot when she was a kid????

This should be interesting.:)

You can download the worksheet in Word or PDF.  I’m not quite sure how we’re going to conduct the interviews since we live so far from their grandparents.  (That’s the Army life).  Thankfully, we have a lot of options – phone, email, Skype, or maybe *gasp* good old fashioned snail mail.  I am definitely making them write the questions out, even if they end up emailing them – because then they’ll have to practice their handwriting too.   It’s becoming quite the lost art these days.

By the way, the worksheet is actually in color (well, the little tree is) and there is a second page with 5 more spaces for questions.

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  • Cheryl Cayemberg - July 14, 2011 - 9:10 am

    Another wonderful sheet, Jen! I will be using them on this trip! :)ReplyCancel

  • Debi Austen - July 14, 2011 - 9:32 am

    Oh, I love the idea of having the kids conduct the interviews. My granddaughter is 9 and this could be a great project for her with her great grandmothers.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - July 14, 2011 - 10:20 am

    Thanks guys!ReplyCancel

  • Teresa Fraser - July 14, 2011 - 12:37 pm

    Jennifer,

    Great blog. Especially like your use of colors, photos, topics. Like how you linked Ancestry Tree. Didn’t know that was possible. I was born in Salinas and have been digging up my ancestors who lived in Monterey County. I’ll be following you.

    Teresa Fraser
    Dublin, CAReplyCancel

    • Jen - July 14, 2011 - 2:43 pm

      Thanks Teresa!ReplyCancel

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