Genealogy Interview Questions
Lake Township Historical Society

Family History Questionnaire

01)  What were the names of your mother's parents?
02)  When and where did were they born?  Where did they live?
03)  What did he do for a living?
04)  Do you have any personal memories of them?
05)  What were the names of your father's parents?
06)  When and where were they born?  Where did they live?
07)  What did he do for a living?
08)  Do you have any personal memories of them?  Describe.
09)  Did you know your grandparents well?
10)  What do you remember hearing about your great-grandparents?
11)  Did you ever see them?
12)  Did your great-grandparents, grandparents, or parents come to the I.S. from
       foreign country?   What stories are told in your family about the crossing?
       Do you have any relatives in foreign countries?
13)  What traditions are still practiced in your family?


The family house
14)  What type of house did you live in  as a child?  Describe.
15)  What other buildings were on the same property?
16)  Did you have a yard?  A fence?  A swing?  Flowers?  Trees?  A lawn?
17)  If you moved during your childhood, tell where and when and what you 
       can remember of each house and the family circumstances and reasons for
       the move.
18)  As a child, did you have a room of your own, or did you share it with
       someone else?  If you shared, with whom?
19)  Did you have a bed of your own?
20)  In what room did you eat?  Kitchen?  Dining Room?
21)  Where did you eat when there was company?
22)  Did your house have a parlor?  Was the family allowed to use it?
23)  How was your home heated?  Was it warm in winter?  Explain.
24)  Did you have a fireplace?
25)  What kind of kitchen stove did your parents cook on?
26)  Did you burn wood?  Coal?
27)  Did you have to buy fuel or was there a chore, such as cutting wood? 
       With which did you help?
28)  Did you always have indoor plumbing?  If not, when did you get it?
29)  Did you always have electricity?  If not, when did you get it?
30)  Did you ever use candles or kerosene lamps?  Whose job was it to fill
       the lamps and replace the wicks?
31)  Did your family have a cellar?  Where did you store apples, potatoes?
       Canned foods?
32)  Did your family always have a refrigerator?  If not, what did you use
       instead?  When did you get a  refrigerator?
33)  Where did your family get water?  Was it plentiful?  What methods 
       were used to conserve water?

Family relations, responsibilities, conditions

34)  What ws your position in the family?  Oldest?  Youngest?  Were there 
       any advantages?  Disadvantages?
35)  What were your duties as a small child?  Describe your responsibilities
       as you grew older.
36)  Who cooked the meals?  Who did the ironing?
37)  Did you buy or make your own clothing?  Who was the family seamstress?
       Who repaired the family shoes?
38)  When did you learn to cook?  Who taught you?
39)  Did you learn how to sew?  Crochet?  Knit?  Embroider?  Who taught you?
40)  Did you ever learn the mechanics of a car?  Who taught you?
41)  Did your parents keep in touch with distant family?
42)  Did you visit relatives often?  Near?  Far?
43)  How did you get your mail?  How often?
44)  Did you have any childhood diseases?
45)  What do you rememer about family pets?
46)  Were you especially close to anyone in the family?
47)  How did the family spend its evenings?

Family income and livelihood

48)  What did your father do for a living?
49)  Did you mother ever work outside of the home?
50)  Did you contribute to the family income?  In what way?
51)  Did you get any allowance as a child?  Or did you have to earn your
       own spending money?  If so, how?
52)  When did you get your first job outside of the family?
53)  Did your family have a garden?  For family use or profit?
54)  Who did the planting?  Digging?  Cultivating?  Weeding?  Watering?
55)  What kind of vegetables did you grow?  Who harvested them?
56)  Did your family have fruit trees? 
57)  Who did the canning and what vegetables and fruits were canned?  How?
58)  Did you raise hogs or chickens?  Cows?
59)  What kind of meat did you eat?  How often?  Did you slaughter your 
       own animals? How often?
60)  Did you keep a cow for milk?
61)  Did you make your own butter?  Cheese?
62)  Did any of the family sell eggs or butter?
63)  If you lived on a farm, what crops were planted?
64)  Who did the work?  Family?  Hired hands?  On what occasions?

Days, seasons, and special occasions

65)  What did Saturday mean to you?
66)  Was Saturday night bath night?  Where?  How?
67)  What did Sunday mean to you?
68)  Did you attend church on Sunday?  Alone?  With your parents or familly
       or friends?
69)  Where did you attend church or Sunday school?
70)  Did you have special shopping habits at Christmastime?  Did you earn 
       your own money to buy presents?
71)  How did you spend Christmas?  Describe.  Did you decorate a Christmas
       tree?  Did you exchange gifts?
72)  What kind of gifts did you receive on your Christmas?
73)  Did your family observe Easter?  In what way?
74)  How did you observe the Fourth of July?  Where?
75)  How was your birthday celebrated?  Did you have a birthday cake?
76)  What kinds of gifts did you receive on your birthday?
77)  Did your family entertain often?  What were the occasions?
78)  Did you family attend picnics?  Family reunions?  What do you remember
       about them?
79)  How did you keep cool in the summer?
80)  Did you go barefoot in summer?
81)  What did you wear in winter to keep warm?
82)  Do you remember any blizzards or tornadoes or floods?
83)  How did these events affect the neighbors, relatives, or town?  How did 
       they affect you?

Friends and Games

84)  What did you do for recreation?
85)  Did you or your brothers or sisters have any hobbies?  If so, what?
86)  Who were your playmates?
87)  Who was your best friend?
88)  What did you and your friends do when you got together?
89)  Did you and your playmates play any organized games?  Football?
       Baseball?  Hockey?  Kick the can?  Describe.
90)  Did you ever learn to swim?  Where?
91)  Did you ever attend a taffy pull?  Pop corn?
92)  Did you participate in 4-H or scouting organizations?


093)  Where did you go to school?
094)  Did you ever attend a one-room schoolhouse?  Describe.
095)  How did you get to school?  If you walked, how far?
096)  What do you remember about these walks?  Did you walk alone or 
         with friends?  Did you encounter animals that you befriended or that
         frightened you?
097)  Were these walks a hardship in winter?  In summer or hot weather?
098)  How large was your school in the elementery grades, first through fourth?
         Fifth through eigth?  Eighth throuh twelfth?
099)  What recreation was provided or allowed during periods of rest or recess?
100)  Were you helped by older students or did you help others with their
101)  What kinds of grades did you get?  What were your favorite subjects?
         Who were your favorite teachers?

Transportation and surroundings

102)  Describe the size of the town where you lived or shopped.
103)  Where did your parents shop?  How often?
104)  How large or how small were the stores?
105)  If you lived in a small town or on the farm, did you ever go to the city 
         to shop?  Describe.
106)  What was the largest town you remember visiting when you were young?
         What was the occasion?  Where did you go and with whom?
107)  Did you ever travel on a train while you were young?  What was the
         occasion?  Where did you go and with whom?
108)  Were you ever away from home as a child?
109)  Did you or your family own a horse?  A buggy?  Were you able or 
         allowed to ride?
110)  When did your family acquire its first car?  What make?  How much 
         did it  cost?
111)  When did you learn to drive a car?  Who taught you?
112)  Where did your family go on vacations?


113)  Whom did you most admire when you were young?  Within the family?
         In public life?  Why?
114)  Did you choose someone to pattern your life after?  Who and why?
115)  When you were small, what did you hope to do when you grew up?


116)  What education did you get past high school?  Did you study in your 
         adult years?
117)  When did you finally settle into your career?
118)  Did your family support, oppose, or encourage you?
119)  While you were in college or in training, did you live away from home?
         For how long?
120)  Who influenced you most and helped you to develop your skills?
121)  How many different employers have you worked for?  What promotions
         have you received?
122)  Would you choose the same career if you had it to do over?


123)  When and where did you meet your husband or wife?
124)  How and when did you get engaged?  Married?
125)  Where did you marry and who was present?
126)  Did you go on a honeymoon?
127)  Where was your first home?
128)  What is your spouse's occupation?
129)  How many moves have you made during your married life?  Where 
         and why?
130)  Where and when were your children born?
131)  What can you remember of their baby days and childhood?
132)  Did you or your spouse go into military service?
133)  If your husband went into service, what did you do while he was away?
         Where did you live?
134)  What memories do you have of war years?
135)  How has your health been through the years?
136)  Did you have animals or pets or recreational equipment?
137)  Who have been your closest friends through the years?
138)  To what organizations have you belonged?
139)  Have you been politically active during your lifetime?
140)  Which politcal party or parties did you belong to, and why?
141)  Which presidents have you voted for, and why?


142)  Do you have a philosophy of life to share with your decendants?
143)  Do you have a favorite philosopher, teacher, or writer who best expresses
         your philosophy?
144)  Do you have religious leanings or strong religious beliefs?
145)  What are your lifetime biblical passages?
146)  What do you have to say about all the changes that have taken place 
         within your lifetime?
         a)  The proliferation of consumer goods?  Freezers?  Dishwashers?
              Dryers?  Electric stoves?  TV sets?  Radios?  Cars?  Power tools?
         b)  The changes in men's and women's fashions?
         c)  The revolution in transportation and communication?
         d)  The struggle for the political and civil equality of minorities and women?
         e)  The technological breakthroughs in industry, medicine, and space
147)  In your opinion, which have been the greatest advances or inventions of all?
148)  What things have given you the most pleasure or satisfaction?  Your family,
         home, career, possessions, hobbies?  Man's increased mobility and
         knowledge concerning himself, the world, and the universe?  The hope for
         improved race relations and for world peace?
149)  Is there anything that has caused you perpetual concern?  What events or
         trends have disturbed you the most in your lifetime?
150)  What things do you fear most in regard to the future generations?  Where
         are the greatest inherent dangers?
151)  How do you encourage or counsel future generations on the following:
         a)  Marriage and the home?
         b)  Obligation to country and society?
         c)  Traits such as honesty, humility, perseverence, diligence, thrift, loyalty,
              reverence, kindness, faith? 
         d)  Care of body, mind, and health?
152)  What has been your experience in regard to the following:
         a)  Answers to prayers?
         b)  Necessity and power of love?
         c)  Will power as opposed to being ruled by one's feelings?
         d)  ESP
         e)  Inner peace and tranquility?
153)  What do you consider to have been your most imprtant achievements?


1)  Your birth date, place, parents, surrounding circumstances and conditions.
2)  Your brothers' and sisters' names, dates of birth, dates and places of 
     marriage, spouses' names and children.
3)  Your marrage:  to whom, when, and where.
4)  Family moves:  when, where, and why?
5)  Your career: training for your job, promotions, employers you worked for,
     salaries, associates, achievements.

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