Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Then and Now – Oral Interviews

I’m a bit behind this week since I’ve assigned myself the fun task of cleaning up the garage floor this weekend. We have a nice epoxy coating on all three parking spots and I clean it up once a year. This is the weekend I’ve allotted.

However, Randy Seaver, as usual, as assigned us a fun SNGF task:

1)  Then and Now – Did you ever conduct oral interviews of family members or friends and neighbors about your ancestors over the years?  Who did you interview, how did you record the interviews, and what did you learn from them?  Please share your experiences.

Although I questioned a number of relatives about ancestors, I never sat down for a formal interview where I asked and recorded questions and answers.

Both of my grandmothers were instrumental in providing information about their own families and those of my grandfathers, both of whom were deceased by the time I starting working on the family history. The fact that both grandmothers knew their own grandparents, plus maiden names, and my maternal grandmother knew the same for my grandfather, I had a huge head start since I knew names, places and some dates back to my 2X great grandparents.

I also spent a few days and many shared letters with my grandfather’s cousin, Charles, who, at the time, was the only keeper of the Adams line family history.

My aunts and uncle added more details and my paternal grandmother, Nana, wrote to Slovakia to family members asking questions and gave me the names of several of her cousins living in New Jersey.

My dad’s cousins, Nick and Steve, also remembered many old timers from their childhood.

Looking back, I think I was wise to cast such a wide net because the older generation at that time consisted of relatives well into their 80s.

Now, I’ve become the keeper of the family history and my cousins’ children ask me the questions!

Thank you, Randy, for this week’s challenge.


2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Then and Now – Oral Interviews”

  1. I did the same, just asked questions of my maternal grandmother and my paternal aunts, but no formal interview. I would keep notes though. But I never dated them, so it will be hard to write a source citation!

  2. Even if you chastise yourself for not doing it “formally”, it’s wonderful that you talked with all those relatives while they were alive and were able to learn so much information.

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