What Kind of Family History Interview Should You Conduct?

updated 8 Dec 2020

Elderly Couple with title What kind of interview should you conduct

Interviewing relatives infuses genealogy with a wealth of stories and clues that are waiting to be harvested. However, not every interview returns the results you expect. Discover the types of family history interviews and what kind of genealogy gold they can uncover.


Types of Family History Interviews


If you've ever wondered why a family history interview did not capture the stories and facts you had hope to gather, the reason stems from the format of your interview.


There are a number of interview formats to choose from

  1. Formal vs Informal

  2. Scripted vs Unscripted

  3. Fact vs Story

  4. Group vs Individual


The following video explains the difference between each type and the benefits and limitations of each format. Watch this video on YouTube.

Video: Which family history interview style?

Can the Family History Interviews Combine?


How strictly do you have to stick to the format of your family history interview?


Not strict at all. Often, an interview may start as a formal, scripted interview and then involve a story based unscripted conversation.


Let the interview flow where your relatives want them to go. You can always schedule a follow-up if you don't cover everything (and you likely won't).


Be in the moment of the story sharing experience and you'll reap the benefits of a deeper connection to the past and to your loved ones.


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More About Family History Interviews


A fundamental principle of gathering family history relies on talking with your relatives. You'll climb your family tree further, faster, and with more depth than if you wait until it's too late to interview a relative. Learn more about family history interviews through the following training:


There are a number of interview STYLES that you can use to capture family details and stories. Which one should you use #genealogy #familyhistory

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