Who were your grandparents?
Good follow-up questions that easily go with this questions are:
What were the names of your grandparents?
When and where were they born? Where did they live?
Did they have any brothers or sisters?
What did they do for a living?
Do you have any personal memories of them? What were they like?
I have also included a list at the end of this post of 88 questions to ask your grandparents (if you can).
This week's questions set the foundation to your family history. Our grandparents define the four main branches of our family tree. Not everyone has known their grandparents but many have. I knew all four of my grandparents. I was the oldest grandson on both sides of my family. My father's parents lived in our same neighborhood, just up the street from my elementary school. My mother's parents lived in the next city over and I spent most of my summer days at their home.
My father's father, grandpa Trotter, was a World War II veteran and worked at Carpenter Seed before he retired. He was always busy doing something. He liked to take me fishing at Strawberry Reservoir. We would always leave really early in the morning. We would stop for Dunkin Donuts on the way. We liked to troll for fish. We used different types of lures called spoons. They were different shapes and colors. He always seemed to know just the right color to use. The fishing rods we used were not made to be cast into the water but for the line to be let out slowly behind the boat as it moved through the water. The line was different colors. I can't remember the length of the color but my grandpa would tell me how many colors to let out so the lure could sink deeper into the water. We always caught our limit of fish but we had to hold out mouths just right before we could catch them. I remember spending many weekends with my grandpa fishing. I don't remember other grandkids going with us. That doesn't mean they didn't, I just don't remember. He would always clean the fish at the cleaning station. He would always tell me that my Grandpa B was really good at filleting fish. We would drive home in his truck and I would fall asleep next to him. I loved the way he smelled. When I was a little older my grandpa would take me fly fishing. We would take a summer trip in his RV to Yellowstone. We would fish at Fishing Bridge and along the Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley. I remember his taking the time to teach me how to cast and how to hold the line. Where to try and land the fly and when to pick it up out of the water. I cherish the time I spent with my grandpa Trotter. He died in his RV. They had just returned from a trip and he was cleaning things up. They found him sitting in my favorite chair.
|Richard Junior Trotter|
|A. Dale Bartholomew|
|Gloria Taylor Trotter|
|Wilberta Annette Merrian Bartholomew|
I did not intend to go into to much detail about my grandparents. I did however want you to know that I knew them and I loved them. I have many stories and pictures that I can share about them for my Family History. When I went to the hospital to see my Grandma B they asked me what room she was in, I did not know. They then asked me her name, I didn't know. I told the lady "Grandma B", with a smile on my face. I knew that B stood for Bartholomew. So eventually we found the right person but I did not know her first name.
There are details about our grandparents that we may not know, for example birth dates or wedding dates and places. My Grandma B's name is Wilberta but she went by her nickname Berta. She was named after her father Alfred Wilbert Merrian when he thought he may not have a boy.
My Grandma Trotter had been married before she married my grandpa. A fact I did not know until I began to do research about her. The genealogy part of family history is important too. In order to document and learn more about our relatives we need to know their birth, marriage and death dates and places. We need the lines before we can add the color.
I remember when my Grandpa B had shoulder surgery and could not work as a carpenter anymore. My mother told me it was because of damage he suffered from being hit by lightening. I assumed he had the surgery because he had just been hit by lightening, the reality was that he was struck earlier in his life and the damage was a presumed result of that. For years I have told my children that my grandfather was struck by lightning while working. It wasn't until I asked the question to a forum of my relatives that the true story came out.
It is always best to get answers about an individual from that individual but when that can't happen then we need to try and verify the story before we use it as fact. Next week we will talk about sources.
1. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
2. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
3. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
4. Describe a typical family dinner, did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
5. Describe the personalities of your family members.
6. Did you ever go on any family trips as a child? What was your favorite?
7. Did you go to college? What did you study? If you didn’t go to college, do you wish you had had the opportunity? What did you do instead?
8. Did you have a special place that you liked to go as a child?
9. Did you have any pets growing up?
Did you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
10. Did you live in a house or an apartment? What was it like? What was your room like?
11. Do you belong to a church or a religion? How has it affected your life?
12. Do you know any stories about the history of the family name, or the origins of the family?
13. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
14. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
15. Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
17. How did you find out you were going to be a parent for the first time?
18. How did you like school?
19. How did you meet Grandma/Grandpa? How did he propose?
20. How old were you when you met/got engaged/got married? What was the wedding like?
21. How did your family come to live there?
22. How many children do you have? What were they like when they were growing up?
23. How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
24. If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
25. In your religion, what callings or positions have you served in?
26. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
27. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
28. Favorite songs and music growing up? What about now?
29. Tell me about the day my mom/dad was born.
30. Tell me about your first date.
31. Favorite things to do for fun?
32. Favorite toy and why?
33. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
34. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
35. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
36. What advice would you give to new parents?
37. What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
38. What are some special memories you have about your children?
39. What are the most difficult and most rewarding things about growing older?
40. What are the names of your grandparents?
41. What are your children’s names and when and where were they born?
42. What are your favorite things to do now?
43. What are your strongest memories from your time in the military?
44. What big world events were the most memorable while you were growing up?
45. What did you do for fun as a child?
46. What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
47. What did you want to be when you grew up?
48. What did your family enjoy doing together?
49. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
50. What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
51. What do you know about your family surname?
52. What do you remember about your parents? Your grandparents?
53. What do you want your children and grandchildren to remember about you?
54. What has been your favorite place to visit or travel to as an adult? What did you do there that I should do when I go visit?
55. What is the most important lesson your parents taught you?
56. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?
57. What is your earliest childhood memory?
58. What is your earliest memory of me? What is your favorite thing that we have done together (or that our family has done)?
59. What is your happiest memory of your father? Your mother?
60. What is your happiest memory of your grandfather? Grandmother?
61. What jobs have you had?
62. What kind of games did you play growing up?
63. What kinds of clothes, hobbies, and slang terms were popular when you were a teenager?
64. What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
65. What life advice would you pass along to your grandchildren?
66. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
67. What school activities and sports did you participate in?
68. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
69. What trips or vacations do you remember? Which one was your favorite?
70. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
71. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
72. What was your favorite color and dessert as a child? What about now?
73. What was your first job? What was your favorite job?
74. What was your profession and how did you choose it?
75. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
76. What were your favorite games and hobbies? Did you play any sports? What else did you do for fun?
77. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
78. What would be your recipe for happiness?
79. What’s your favorite book or movie and why? What was your favorite when you were young?
80. Where did you grow up?
81. Where have you lived?
82. Where is our family from in the world? How did we get to be located where we are today?
83. Where is our family originally from in the United States (or whatever country you live in)?
84. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
85. Who were some of your friends? What did you do with your friends?
86. Who were your childhood heroes?
87. Who were your heroes or role models when you were young?
88. Why did you choose your children’s names?