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What Kind of Family History Interview Should You Conduct?

Interviewing relatives infuses genealogy with a wealth of stories and clues that are waiting to be harvested. However, not all interviews result in the type of information the interviewer had wanted when they coerced their relative into a painful audio recording ordeal. Okay, perhaps all the researcher had to do was ask but why did they not gather the gems of genealogy from their relative? The key is knowing which type of interview will produce the results you are seeking.

There are a number of interview formats to choose from and have benefits and limitations. Here are several formats to consider:

  • Formal vs Informal
  • Scripted vs Unscripted
  • Fact vs Story
  • Group vs Individual

Do you understand the differences between each type? If you don’t, this video explains in more details the results you can expect with the various formats.

Tips for Interviewing Relatives About Family History - How to Get the Best Stories
Watch this video on YouTube.
Click the video for more explanation on video types

Is it possible that an interview is a combination of these types? Absolutely. Often, an interview may start as a formal, scripted interview and then involve into a story based unscripted conversation.

Before you schedule your interview with a relative, be sure to decide which interview format will achieve the results you are after.

Then come back and tell me how things went.

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

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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