Archive for category Genealogy Interview Questions

Church Record Sunday – Where did your ancestors go?

Posted by Jim Sanders on Sunday, 2 December, 2012

My family celebrates the Christmas Season by getting together on Christmas day, sharing a meal, playing cards and just spending time together. New Years Day is a time for gathering around the television and watching football. Whatever holiday your family celebrates provides a chance to hear stories about your ancestors.

This is another post in a series to help get you thinking about some questions to ask your older relatives at the holiday gathering. Before the family get together this holiday season do some homework and prepare some questions to ask your older relatives. Check out our new category of blog posts called “Genealogy Interview Questions”.

This week focuses on preparing questions for learning about your ancestors religious life. Ask your mom, dad, grandparents or older relatives and friends to learn more about your ancestors religious life.

  • Where did you go to church when you were younger?
  • Did your parents and grandparents always attend the same church? If not, where did they go?
  • How often did you and your parents go to church?
  • What were some of the religious traditions that you practiced at home?
  • How did your family celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or other religious event?
  • Did you or your family participate in any religious plays at the church? If so, what was it like?
  • Do you have any religious items which were passed down to you? If so, what are they? (Take a photo if you can)
  • What traditions were practiced when someone was getting baptized or married?

Use these questions or prepare some of your own and you’ll be sure to hear some interesting stories. If you have any additional questions on the day’s topic be sure to reply to this post to let other readers know.

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You may be able to learn about holiday traditions happening in the community when and where your ancestors were. Read historic newspapers.

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Motivation Monday – Preparing for the Holiday Gathering

Posted by Jim Sanders on Monday, 26 November, 2012

My family celebrates the Christmas Season by getting together on Christmas day, sharing a meal, playing cards and just spending time together. New Years Day is a time for gathering around the television and watching football. Whatever holiday your family celebrates provides a chance to hear stories about your ancestors.

Before the family get together this holiday season do some homework and prepare some questions to ask your older relatives. Check out our new category of blog posts called “Genealogy Interview Questions”. Over the next few weeks before Christmas we will add a number of posts which include some sample questions you can ask. Each post will provide a half dozen or more questions focusing in a particular aspect of your ancestors life. Use these questions or prepare some of your own and you’ll be sure to hear some interesting stories. If you have any additional questions on the day’s topic be sure to reply to this post to let other readers know.

This past Saturday our focus was the sports your ancestor played. On Sunday the questions focused on the Sunday meal. What areas of your ancestors life would you like to learn more about?

Here are some questions to ask your older relatives about their school days.

  • What schools did you go to?
  • Can you show me your high school yearbook? (See if you can get a digital copy)
  • What was your favorite subject? Why?
  • Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
  • Tell me about some of your friends from school.
  • Did your parents let you date or go to dances in high school?
  • If you did go to dances tell me about one you remember.

Try out these questions or think of some on your own. Make the question be opened ended where they can’t be answered with just a yes or no answer. This may prompt them to talk more about their school days.

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Sunday Supper – At Grandma’s House

Posted by Jim Sanders on Sunday, 25 November, 2012

Do you remember Sunday supper at grandma’s house? What was for supper, how did it smell? Cooking and eating a family meal together brings out the best in families. Today in our busy lives it seems the family meal has long been forgotten.

I can not recall a whole lot about my grandparents as all four of them died either before I was born or when I was just a little kid. My Grandma Fox’s house was just a few minutes drive across town and we went there often on Sunday for supper. The smell of supper cooking and the warm inviting atmosphere is what I remember most. It was always a traditional Irish-American Food consisting of meat, potatoes and vegetables. Grandma Fox used to have a vegetable garden in her back yard. I’ve been told by my siblings that if grandma asked you if you wanted more and you said no, you’d only get a little bit more. If you asked for more, well let’s say you certainly wouldn’t leave the table hungry.

After dinner it was cleaning up the supper dishes. After the dishes were done, the cards would come out. The grown-ups would sit around the dinner table playing a game called set-back. It is also known as Pitch to some. Our family still plays set-back every time we get together.

Want to learn about your ancestor’s Sunday Supper? Ask your mom, grandma or any other older relative. Here are a few questions to ask.

  • What do you remember most about Sunday’s supper at your mom or grandmas house?
  • What was typically for supper?
  • What recipes do you have of your mother or grandmother? Can I have a copy?
  • What did you do after supper?
  • Who was usually at the supper table?
  • Where did everyone sit?

This Christmas when you get together to share a meal, ask these questions or some of your own. Try to ask open-ended questions where the answer can’t be a yes or no. Be sure to capture these memories on paper or even recorded.

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Sports Center Saturday – Learn about the sports your ancestor played

Posted by Jim Sanders on Saturday, 24 November, 2012

Do you know what sports if any your father or grandfather played in high school, college or beyond. Perhaps your mother or grandmother was the star of the basketball team or the ping pong champion of the school. With a little digging you can find out about the youthful activities that occupied your ancestors time.

The first and easiest way to find out is to ask. If your ancestor is still around ask him or her. If they are not, ask an older aunt or uncle or anyone who knew your ancestor. You might be surprised about what they know. Here are a few questions about what to ask them.

  • What sports did you play when you were in high school or earlier?

  • What position did you play?

  • Tell me about one particular game or match that you remember playing in.

  • What special awards did you earn while playing in the sport?

  • Tell me about one of your teammates that you remember.

  • Did you continue playing the sport in college or afterwords

You can use these or come up with some questions on your own. Try to ask them open ended questions rather than a questions which can be answered with a yes or no.

If there are no older relatives to ask, there are still resources you can look for to understand your ancestors life in school and sports. Here are some of my favorite resources to look for;

  • High School Yearbook: Many of these can be found at the local historical society or library.

  • College Yearbook: You can find these at the college library.

  • Local Newspaper Articles: A lot of newspapers are being digitized and indexed. If your lucky your ancestor’s hometown newspaper is one of them.

  • High School or College Programs: Many teams published a yearly pamphlet about their teams

  • Below is a small sample of what you might find.
    Central Connecticut State University Cross Country Program 1988

  • High School or College Newspaper: School newspapers highlighted the sports programs.

  • Here is another example of what you might find.
    The Central Recorder - April 28, 1988 - Page seven

If you know of any additional resources to find out about the sports your ancestors played, please reply to this post. We would love to hear about them.

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Newspaper Archive Search and NewspaperArchive.com