Interview Questions

Here is a list of questions that can serve as prompts for your personal history, or as the basis for an interview of a family member.

  • Where did you grow up?
  • How long did your family live in the area(s)?
  • How many siblings did you have? What were their names and how old were they?
  • What were they like?
  • Were there other family members in the area? Who?
  • Did you live on a farm? What kind of crops did you grow?
  • What kind of livestock or other animals did you keep?
  • Did you have any pets?
  • What was the house or apartment like? How many rooms?
  • What kind of amenities did it have? (Indoor plumbing, electricity or gas, phone, television, etc.)
  • Were there any special items in the house that stand out in your mind (favorite possessions of yours, your parents, or siblings)?
  • What kind of area/neighborhood was it?
  • Did the town have a railroad? Post office? What kind of stores or shops?
  • What was your family's religious affiliation?
  • Where did you go to church?
  • What religious ceremonies did you take part in?
  • Did you have godparents or sponsors?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What level education do you have?
  • What was your favorite subject to study?
  • Did you have any special interests when you were growing up (sports, hobbies, crafts, etc.)?
  • What kind of games did you play?
  • What was your favorite toy?
  • What did you do for fun (go to beach, park, movies, zoo, etc.)?
  • Did your family ever take trips or go on vacation?
  • Do you speak any foreign languages?
  • Did you have family reunions?
  • Who were your friends when you were growing up?
  • Who were the close friends of the family?
  • Describe the personalities of your family members.
  • Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  • Were there any serious illnesses in your family?
  • Do any illnesses run in the family?
  • Were there any memorable traditions that your family practiced?
  • Can you remember any stories that were told to you as a child (fictional, folklore, or real life)?
  • What events stand out in the memory of your childhood (historical, personal, familial, storms or disasters, fire, etc.)?
  • What inventions or developments changed your life, and how?
  • What was your father's occupation? Where did he work?
  • Did your mother work? Where?
  • Did you work? Where?
  • Did anyone in your family ever serve in the military?
  • Did anyone in your family ever hold a public office?
  • What was your favorite song?
  • Did anyone in your family play a musical instrument?
  • What were your family's favorite meals? Are there any special family recipes?
  • Were certain foods eaten or avoided on certain occasions?
  • Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
  • What kind of organizations did your family belong to (fraternal, charitable, scouting, etc.)?
  • What special skills do you have?
  • How did you come into your profession?
  • When did you move away from home?
  • Have you ever been married? If so, to whom? When?
  • Where did you meet your husband/wife?
  • What qualities drew you to him/her?
  • Did you exchange any special gifts?
  • How long did you date before getting married?
  • Where did you get married?
  • Who participated in your wedding?
  • Did you have a reception? Was there music? What songs were played?
  • Do you have a copy of your wedding invitation?
  • Was there an announcement in the newspaper? Which paper?
  • How many children do you have?
  • How many are still living?
  • What stories did you tell your children when they were growing up?