FIRST STEP IN GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH IS TALKING TO RELATIVES
NOW YOU'RE READY TO START your detective work. First and foremost, make a list of Family Members to interview. No one knows more about your family, than your family! So start with the most logical choice...the oldest family member willing to help you in your quest. Have your tools ready, so here's the list you'll want to remember to take with you:
b. Paper/ notebook
c. [Optional] Recording device. I use a recording device when I'm interviewing people for information. In fact, video is even better. I found the most inviting part about recording one way or another is that I don't have to waste time writing, it's all captured, so I can transcribe the info later and take my time. The other perk is that you'll always have footage of someone who meant something to you, and many software programs have the capacity to include video in your research program. It's another great way to put a face to a name.
d. Put a list of questions together before you go to meet with the individual you are interviewing and you'll accomplish a lot more than trying to remember everything on the spot. Try to get as much information from them as possible. I've found that I often have to juggle their memories a bit, they usually know much more than they realize. You just have to know the right questions to ask. So once again, I have provided three forms that you should take with you to ensure you are approaching the interview properly.
First, take a copy of the INTERVIEW DOCUMENTATION FORM that I have provided. As I stated in a previous post, this will help you obtain the information you need to properly document an interview.
CLICK HERE FOR THE DOWNLOADABLE INTERVIEW DOCUMENTATION FORM.pdf
Secondly, take a copy of the INTERVIEW QUESTION FORM which I have also provided for your personal use. I have designed the form as a guide to initiate the interview process. For those of you who have never interviewed anyone before, it is easy to go off on tangents and not accomplish what you intended.
CLICK HERE FOR THE DOWNLOADABLE INTERVIEW QUESTION FORM.pdf
Finally, take several copies of the FAMILY MEMBER FACT SHEET with you that I supply on this site. This will provide you with a guide of information that you should try to obtain regarding an individual you are researching. You won't always be able to fill in all the facts, but the more information you put together will create a better idea of who that individual was and supports the necessary documentation. NOTE: Indicate on the FAMILY MEMBER FACT SHEET the date you did your research and DO NOT FORGET TO DOCUMENT THOSE FACTS THAT WERE OBTAINED THROUGH THE INTERVIEW PROCESS!
CLICK HERE FOR THE DOWNLOADABLE FAMILY MEMBER FACT SHEET.pdf
The information you'll obtain in your family interviews will then be notated within each individuals fact sheet! You'll have a record of the further research you must pursue with each individual-- just by looking at their fact sheet! Keep in mind that the fact sheet that I have created for you has an entry area for the spouse of any individual, but each spouse should have their own fact sheet. The purpose of putting the spouse name and basic information on is mainly for reference purposes. There are times you may only have a first name and birthdate of a spouse. By comparing notes, you may realize you actually have an individual in your records that may be one and the same! The same goes for the children, they should each have their own fact sheet also.
If you are able to obtain photos of any of the individuals you are researching, don't forget to attach them to each fact sheet, so you don't mix and match! Make a notation of who, what, when and where on the back of the photo and you'll never be at a loss!
The most important thing to remember is that any fact you uncover in the interview process may be crucial when you start your "legwork!" I'll continue with that subject in my next post!