Genealogy Research Interviews With Relatives—How To Go About Them

Relatives sitting together for a genealogy interview

Conversations with family members are often great avenues for family research. This is especially true if you’re a rookie researcher.

Relatives—mostly older ones—can have great information to share about their ancestors. Moreover, they may have useful resources like documents, family heirlooms, and old photo albums that could hold important clues for your family research.


So, whether it’s a head start you’re looking for or a breakthrough, an interview with a relative isn’t a bad idea. But if you want to make the most of it for family history research, it’s best to go about it a certain way.


So, keep these tips in mind the next time you conduct a genealogy research interview with a relative.


Create A Natural Setting

Your relatives aren’t used to being interviewed or being put on the spot, so make it as natural as possible. One way to do this is to sit in pairs or with groups of relatives such as siblings or couples.


Not only do groups allow the conversations to flow more freely but they also help you to confirm facts right away. For example, if one person remembers a date wrong, others may chime in to correct it, thus saving you from heading down the wrong path!.


Make Your Questions Creative

Even if you’re looking for names, dates, and locations, you don’t have to ask these questions directly. You may get the facts, but you won’t get any interesting stories. Instead, if you really want to make your research worthwhile, ask well-curated questions that result in the best stories.


Once you have the stories, you can probe further for the facts. This would make your research more well-rounded and you’d also find the process more fun.


Act Like A Real Researcher

Even if you’re conducting a genealogy research interview at home with an uncle or grandparents, try your best to do everything a professional genealogist would.


This means you need to prepare your questions in advance, note everything down during the interview (it may be a better idea to use a voice recorder though so that you can focus on the conversation), and most importantly, use photos as reference for your questions wherever you can.

 A family researcher conducting a genealogy interview


Finally, be sure to treat any information you collect from your interviews as an actual genealogy resource and document it accordingly.


And in case you need expert research assistance for a deeper look after the interviews, reach out to us at DavisDNA And Family Research. We can help you find family history with our traditional genealogy and family research services.


Call us to learn more.