Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Interview Project

Last night, I started thinking about family history. I'm not sure why. It just came to me. I remembered being in elementary school, and even in high school, and having to complete projects related to our family history, and having NO CLUE. When I was younger, my grandma used to tell us all kinds of stories, but at age 8, I was only half listening...and certainly had no clue of the impact it would have on my future, if I didn't have this information.

My aunt (my mom's oldest sister) always tries to do a family tree project at our family reunions. She drew this big tree on a sheet...and she cut out "leaves" for people to fill out. Somehow we never get around to filling it out. Maybe we will get it done this year in Detroit.

My grandma is 98 years old now, and unfortunately has dementia. She's no longer able to relate those stories. My aunt remembers a lot of them, but not all of them. I don't want to miss out on stories from my parents...they are in their 60s now. I want them to give me as much information as they possibly can.

I decided I'm going to do some interviews with my family members. I'm going to start with my parents and work my way out from there. I'm sure it will have to be a series of interviews with each person. I want to know their favorite stories from childhood. How they got their names (were they named after someone?). I know that both my mom's and my aunt's birth certificates were filled out wrong when they were born...my mom's name is Flora but I believe her birth certificate said "Florence" - the nurses could have cared less about what my grandma said, apparently. I want the tidbits like that. I know that during her childhood, my mom picked cotton during her summers, to help my grandma earn money to support the family. I know some of the stories about how she met my dad, and their teenage years when they were dating. I don't know a lot of my dad's stories...maybe because he doesn't talk as much as my mom? LOL!

In any event, I want all of these things documented. I want my nieces and nephews to have some things to talk about, should they have a project to complete. Should I ever have kids, I want them to have access to this information as well. We have so much technology available to us, at this point, there's no reason NOT to have this information documented!

I know what kind of basic questions I'm going to ask, but if you all have any ideas for fun/interesting questions, lay them on me. :)


Serenity3-0 said...

This sounds interesting. Someone in my bookclub had wanted us to do this, but she never followed through on presenting the idea. I never met my grandmother b/c she died young. Tyler also never got to meet my mom, but he does ask about her and I have shown him photos and given him lots of info on her likes, dislikes, habits, etc.

Marilie said...

I never met either of my grandfathers - both died when I was very young. My dad's mom, she will be 97 and she's still kickin' it. She doesn't have the dementia like my mom's mom, so I could probably get some info from her as well.

That's good that Tyler will be able to get that info from you. As adults, my siblings and I regret that we didn't really get the info from my grandma. I don't want my nieces and nephews to go through the same thing.

Now photos...that's another story. My mother has bags and bags of photos in her basement. If I pull out a random handful now, she can't tell me who everyone is. I am going home for my family reunion, and I may just pull some of them out and get her to start telling stories. LOL