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AfriGeneas Juniors Genealogy Forum

Interviewing Grandparents

Kids' Genealogy Homework: Interviewing Grandparents

In our continuing series of Guest Bloggers who are introducing subjects of interest to the Genealogy Community, we welcome Diane Haddad, Managing Editor of Family Tree Magazine who gives tips for interviewing Grandparents.

When I was 8 years old, my teacher sent my class home with a list of questions and instructions to ask an older relative about his or her life. I called my grandma, told her “you’re the oldest person I know,” and launched into the interview.

Despite starting off on questionable footing, I learned a lot about my grandmother: She grew up on a farm! And drew water from a well! And spoke German!

Similarly, your child’s school or scouting project to interview a grandparent can bring the two closer and reveal new family stories

The first step is setting up a time to talk. Your child can make the phone call, with your help. Meeting in person will be easiest, but a telephone interview is fine if your family is far-flung. E-mailed questions can result in less spontaneous sharing, but they’ll work, too.

You can record an in-person interview using a digital voice recorder or video camera. Skype, a service for making calls over the Internet, lets you record a call; or buy a recorder for use with a normal phone.

Next, if your child’s teacher didn’t provide a list of questions, she should come up with 10 to 20. Be sure to consider any project requirements, for example, focusing on a topic such as military service. A few good basic questions:

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Interviewing Grandparents
Bringing History to life ~ Black youth

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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