07 June 2015

Family History Questionnaire in 52 Weeks?

I really don't remember the first time I came across the suggestion to send out a questionnaire to members of my family to gather information. I do know that I decided this would be a good idea and I went about putting together one from suggestions on the Internet. I surely did not come up with the idea myself and I did not come up with the questions myself.

Looking back I was more interested in gathering good information than I was at citing who I got the idea or question ideas from. On November 20th last year I made posts in my family groups on Facebook that said:
Many of us will be enjoying dinners and other festive occasions with our relatives during the next few weeks. I would suggest this is a great time to compare notes with the relatives.

Please fill out the first part of this document and send it to me.

I have put together a questionnaire for members of the family. It is in two parts. The first part is a sketch of you and your parents and grandparents. The second part fills in the sketch.
The posts included a link to a word document I put together with the questions.

Looking back I tried to figure out who I got the idea from. I came across a blog called The Art of Genealogy where blogger Karen Hadden discussed 10 great sources for interview questions. I do not recall reading her blog but she and I may have had the same inspiration. Google led me to a pdf link to a list of interview questions that was apparently compiled by Tracey Carrington Converse. The same list is discussed in Karen' blog I mentioned above. Texas A&M has a page on their Family and Consumer Sciences website that also have very similar questions that the copyright at the bottom of the page says were written in 2015 by Virginia Allee. The UCLA center for oral history also has a page with similar questions.

I am in quite the company for using these questions. There are by no means the end all of questions but they seemed to be effective. Of the 42 people that Facebook counted as seeing the post, I received one back. ONE!


I have seen several bloggers post about their 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. Although I did not take this challenge to post about my ancestors I thought It was a good goal to do one a week so I thought I would turn the table and start collecting information about ancestors each week. I am going to post one question a week and see if I can create a dialogue about the questions and our families. I will use the list I have compiled as well as others that may come based on events or holidays that week. I will share them here as well to spark your own thoughts and perhaps questions. you can answer them or comment about them if you wish. The idea is to spark memories and record responses.

It looks like others have tried to participate in similar ways. The Teach Me Genealogy blog started on January 1, 2014 at week one with, "How Did You Get Your Name?" It looks like she made it to week 22. It also looks like the Geneabloggers had weekly blog prompts starting in January 2011 with similar topics. Their week one started with, "Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?!" Just like the original questionnaire I mentioned, I do not think I am the first person to have this idea. I just want to try and get my family members to discuss our family so we can learn more about each other and out ancestors. I hope I can get past the first few weeks.