What Kind of Family History Interview Should You Conduct?

Interviewing relatives infuses genealogy with a wealth of stories and clues that are waiting to be harvested. However, not all interviews result in the type of information the interviewer had wanted when they coerced their relative into a painful audio recording ordeal.

Okay, perhaps all the researchers had to do was ask but why did they not gather the gems of genealogy from their relative? The key is knowing which type of interview will produce the results you are seeking.

There are a number of interview formats to choose from and have benefits and limitations. Here are several formats to consider:

  1. Formal vs Informal

  2. Scripted vs Unscripted

  3. Fact vs Story

  4. Group vs Individual

Do you understand the differences between each type? If you don’t, this video explains in more detail the results you can expect with the various formats.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Is it possible that an interview is a combination of these types? Absolutely. Often, an interview may start as a formal, scripted interview and then involve a story based unscripted conversation.

Before you schedule your interview with a relative, be sure to decide which interview format will achieve the results you are after.

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