Interviewing Family

Here is are two lists, one of 11 questions specific to Ireland, and a second list of 22 questions (and additional corollary questions) to use when interviewing living family members about ancestors who may have originated in Ireland. Many of the questions included are helpful when discussing ancestors from anywhere in the world, but I've headed up this list with seven questions specific to Ireland which you can work into the conversation.

Also, on, Kimberly Powell offers a much longer list of 50 questions which you may wish to use; however, you may find a shorter list is a better starting point for talking with those family members who may be a bit reticent to talk about family history, or simply don't want to answer 50 questions. Let the flow of the conversation with your family member be the guide which leads your questions.

Questions specific to Ireland

1. What town, townland, parish, county, or province names specific to Ireland do you recall hearing in your childhood?
2. What clan names do you recall?
3. Did any of your forbears fight in the 1798 Rebellion, The 1916 Easter Rising, The Irish War of Independence, or The Irish Civil War?
4. Do you recall any Famine stories or legends in your family?
5. Did anyone in your family ever speak Irish Gaelic? Is the language still spoken in your family?
6. Was any member of your family ever a member of an Irish religious order? Was anyone in your family ever a member of Irish organizations with a religious connection, such as The Legion of Mary?
7. Are you familiar with the tradition of the Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, commonly called 'churching'? Do you recall any female ancestors being churched?
8. Do you recall any names of churches to which family members might be connected?
9. Have you or any members of your family ever travelled to Ireland? Where did you/they go when they were there? Why did you/they go those particular places?
10. Did any family members serve in the Irish Military? Did any family members serve in the British Military?
11. Did any family members ever go to England, Scotland, Wales or continental Europe in search of work?

22 Questions

1. What is your full name? Were you named after a family member or friend of your family? Did you have a nickname?
2. When and where were you born?
3. How did your family come to live there?
4. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
5. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
6. Where did you attend primary school? (North Americans would know this as elementary or grade school). Did you attend secondary school? (that's the name for high school in Ireland). Did you attend college or university?
7. What was religion did you practice while you were growing up? Which church, if any, did you attend? Have you or any member of your family ever climbed Croagh Patrick on pilgrimage?
8. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper or on television?
9. Who were your friends when you were growing up?
10. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
11. Who is the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
12. What do you know about your family surname?
13. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
14. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
15. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
16. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family? Has anyone in your family ever written a memoir or a family history?
17. What is the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
18. Where and when did you get married? Were you married more than once?
19. Why did you choose your children's names?
20. What was your line of work and why did you choose it?
21. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
22. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...