Twenty questionsSep 19th, 2009 | By Leonard Legends & Legacies | Category: Featured Articles
I’ve never been very good at family interviews. Which is odd, considering I spent more than twenty years interviewing politicians, businessmen, and criminals for various TV news programs. There’s just something uncomfortable about asking your grandfather how much he embezzled from the public trust.
But I do have a some questions… above and beyond the obvious birth/death/marriage queries… that I wish someone had asked my dead ancestors. I mean, how much can they care, now that they’re dead? So here we go…
- What was the family home (cabin, house, farm) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
- Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
- What is your earliest childhood memory?
- Describe the personalities of your family members. Who were the black sheep and why?
- Did you attend school as a child? How much, when and where?
- Who did you admire most growing up?
- Did you have a religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
- Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
- What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
- Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
- How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child? What’s the most amazing technological development? Biggest threat?
- Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
- What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
- Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in the family?
- Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
- Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
- Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
- If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
- Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
- What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?
OK, so technically, it’s more than twenty questions, but hey, guess what? Journalists cheat, too. So how ’bout you? What questions would YOU ask?