Perhaps the first question to ask is not what are my family stories, but where are my family stories? Who can I talk to, who has the familial memory they can share?
Find My Family Stories has been devoted to interviewing family members and preserving family stories. Stories act as a companion piece to genealogy research.
And they embody my desire to fulfill my client’s requests for family lore.
Could I validate the story that great Grandma and Grandpa met on a riverboat on the Liffey in Ireland and fell in love?
Could I confirm the stories my father told me of his time in World War II?
Express Your Thoughts Below!
I would love to hear from you.
Fulfilling my client’s questions!
As a genealogist, the answer that I received many times was not a reaffirming one. But my client’s potent question and quest was something I wanted to fulfill.
That’s when I began interviewing the oldest living relative in the lineage that I was researching.
The desire to learn the powerful stories of the women and men in your family tree may challenge you. The pursuit of family stories can reopen old illusions about a family’s history.
Duplicity, dark financial issues, hidden relationships can lead the happy hunting of our ancestors back through a troubled past.
As we search the past of our ancestors now long gone, we may find the roots of secrets, traumas, and family wounds in the, sometimes, not so distant past.
Part of what we learn and take away from the research of our kin, is the women, men, and children that came before we lived from a time that is a part of who we are now.
Interviewing Ancestors – The Basics
Make a list of the people in your family you can interview.
If a family member has passed on, include in your list those who knew your ancestor. Then you seek out their descendants to interview.
Record the conversation on a digital recorder or download a recording app to preserve your conversations.
Be sure to inform the person of your intent to record the conversation for your research.
Have ready-made questions available
You can find good beginning family history questions at ThoughtCo. Owain has compiled Top 20 Family History Interview Questions that you can ask.
Keep a resources checklist
Any household may have in the attic, basement, or garage items that reveal further ideas for you to study.
You can find a Resources Checklist of potential items on my genealogy website at 4Descendants.
Do some background research
Google the challenges that were faced by your immigrant ancestors. Learn about the migration routes they took to their new home or their next destination.
Start Talking to Relatives
Whether on the phone or in person, be prepared to go with the flow of conversation to encourage a stream of consciousness. Interviewing is a great way to access memories. This will help to release small pieces of information.
Build relationships with others
There may be co-workers who share your ancestry, relatives, or people who knew your family members
There may also be also clerks, secretaries, librarians, and church dioceses who can assist you with your requests for information or documentation.
I’ve sent candy to county clerks and professional researchers as thank-yous for their help, guidance.
And, yes, suggestions for further research, in my quest for that elusive family story that grows one more branch of the family tree.
The tradition of speaking of the energy we receive from our ancestors unites family lore with the quest for ancestral information.
It is about sharing something we have discovered about our ancestors. Those who live with us and those who have passed on.
And that “passing on” is an interesting way to acknowledge what we receive from our ancestors.
Our ancestors give us many gifts. Some we open right away, others take a lifetime to unwrap.
Find My Family Stories has the services and expertise about how to record, video, organize and collect your family history and stories for yourself, your family, and your descendants.
Give us a call or send us an email and start the journey of finding your family stories.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed this post giving you a guide as to why you should find your family stories and discover your lineage. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
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6 thoughts on “Why You Should Find Your Family Stories and Discover Your Lineage”
Fantastic post Laurene Cross (and Owain Couch)!! Most Awesome subject…I could study mine forever and only scratch the surface, I know. I’m mid-life now and many of my elder family members are gone, including my parents. I’ve done some research on My Heritage dot com…and went back to the 6th generation on Mom and Dad’s sides. Interesting that many were named after past US presidents!! Lol
I have a journaling/scrapbooking/short story writing blog, but due to my keen interest in Genealogy, I hope to have an Etsy shop at some point creating genealogy albums for people to keep their family stories, genealogy, family photos, and such together.
Thank you for this amazing topic…will be visiting again.
It sounds like you have a real passion for genealogy, Evon. It’s true – we can discover so much about ourselves and (sometimes) our parents’ intent through research and listening to family lore. Looking forward to hearing about your Etsy shop – it’s a great idea!
Thank you for the info! It really is interesting to dig into our past and discover what made us who we are. There are so many mysteries around us, and discovering our family tree is definitely one worth solving! Great tips!
Yes, family and family trees are definitely mysterious and wonderful to research. Glad you enjoyed the post, and good luck on being the detective inside your family tree!
I believe our lives are so focused on living in the now that we forget who came before us and the hows and the whys. Your process, especially the interviewing, captures the past and saves it for the future. As people get older they get a sense of lonesomeness as they wait to live out the remainder of their lives. By getting to know them and offering real friendship, anyone will open up if we just ask questions.
My late father-in-law’s grandfather came across the plains in a wagon and homesteaded in Eastern Colorado. We had many discussions about the real life on the prairie. I wish I had had the foresight to use the tools you suggest. Great post. I’ll be back.
Hi Warren –
You are so right about the longing for connection in our busy lives. I too wish I had written down the bits and pieces of stories my Dad talked about during his time in World War II. I wish I had a recording of his voice, his laugh.
I wish I had started writing down family stories and researching my ancestry like Owain Couch has done, however I am grateful to get the chance to preserve and celebrate other family’s stories now. I hope you find a way to put your desire out into the world now.