Getting the right names for your family tree is easy. Getting interesting stories about your family members takes some digging. So when you’re with your relatives, ask the questions that will get the memories flowing. That’s where things get interesting.

  • What is your full name and why you were named it? Was it in honor of someone?
  • What were the names of your parents and grandparents (and great grandparents)? What were your mother’s and grandmother’s maiden names? Did your parents or grandparents have any sisters or brothers? What were their names?
  • Where were your parents born? From which part of the world did each of their families come? Why did they move to America?
  • Do you remember meeting cousins, second cousins or third cousins as a child? What were their names and how were you related?
  • What is the best story you’ve heard about
    our family that’s been passed down
    for generations?
  • Has anything been passed down to you through your parents or grandparents? Have they left any photographs of themselves, heirlooms, notes they wrote or newspaper clippings about themselves? Did they have a family bible or journal in which they recorded births, marriages and deaths?
  • Did any of your relatives serve in the U.S. military? (The National Archives can provide you with extensive information about service members.)
  • What did your grandparents do for a living? Do they have any good stories?
  • Do you still have records of birth or marriage certificates, deeds to a house, wedding invitations or funeral cards from your relatives?

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