In the last post, 10 Tips for Interviewing Grandparents, I promised I'd follow up with some questions you can ask. Of course you can add to this list or delete some if they aren't appropriate. There may be stories associated with a question so make sure you give him or her a chance to tell them.
50 QUESTIONS TO ASK GRANDMA AND GRANDPA
1. What is your full name?
2. What day were you born and where?
3. How many siblings did you have? Names? Where were you in the birth order?
4. What childhood memories do you have of your mother?
5. What childhood memories do you have of your father?
6. What do you remember about your grandparents? (Ask their names.)
7. Which siblings were you closest to? What are some memories you have of them?
8. What games did you play as a child?
9. What was your favorite holiday?
10. What activities did you enjoy as a family?
11. Did you have a special pet as a child?
12. Did you go to church? Which one? What church activities did you enjoy?
13. Did you enjoy school? What was your favorite subject? Favorite teacher?
14. Who was your best friend? What are some of the things you did together
15. What high school did you attend? Tell me about it.
16. Who was your best friend in high school?
17. What activities did you enjoy?
18. What was your favorite subject in school?
19. Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
20. What kind of clothes did you wear as a teenager and how did you fix your hair?
21. What was your favorite movie? Who was your favorite movie star?
22. Did you have boyfriend/girlfriend? Tell me about him or her.
23. Did you work during high school? If so, what did you do? How much did you make?
24. What talents did you have?
25. Were you shy or outgoing? How did that affect you during high school?
26. Where did you meet [grandma/grandpa]?
27. What attracted him/her to you?
28. What was the proposal like?
29. When did you get married? Where?
30. What was life like as a young married couple?
31. How many children did you have? Tell me what they were like as children.
32. What were some of the fun things you did as a family?
33. Did you experience hard times as a young family? Tell me about them.
34. How much did things cost at that time, i.e. movie, candy bar, gas, etc.?
35. How did you celebrate the holidays?
36. What do you think today's parents do wrong when raising kids?
(Keep in mind that they may have been married more than one time. Ask them questions about each marriage.)
37. What were some of the challenges you faced during your middle age? How did you overcome them?
38. How important was religion in your life?
39. What are some of the social issues that concerned you?
40. What jobs did you have? Which did you like best?
41. How did you feel when your kids left home and started families of their own? How did you fill the extra time?
42. What are some of the activities you enjoyed during these years?
43. Who were some of your friends?
44. What were your favorite vacations? Why?
45. What are some of the things you are proudest for achieving?
46. What are some of your regrets? What would you do differently if you could do it again.
47. What advice can you give to your grandkids to make their lives better?
48. What advice can you give to your children to make their lives better?
49. Who is someone who has influenced you for the better? How?
50. What historical events have happened during your lifetime and how did you feel about them?
Make sure you record your visit and if you are calling them instead, you might set up the call on www.freeconferencecall.com so it can be recorded. You'll be able to download the file to transcribe later.
Good life and great interview.
Lynda Fisher is the author of Your Legacy, Your Life and I Wish You Happiness: Creating an Ethical Will for the People You Love. She is passionate about the practice of Legacy writing. As a speaker, author and business entrepreneur, she is sharing her message with others throughout North America in hopes they will join her in her crusade to preserve their life stories and family history.