The following outline can be used to structure a family oral history interview and contains examples of specific questions.
I. Early Childhood and Family Background
A. Parents and Family
- When and where were you born?
- Tell me about your parents or your family background
- Where was your family originally from?
- What did your parents do for a living? Did you contribute to the family income or help parents in their work in any way?
- What was your parents' religious background? How was religion observed in your home?
- What were your parents' political beliefs? What political organizations were they involved in?
- What other relatives did you have contact with growing up?
- What do you remember about your grandparents?
- What stories did you hear about earlier ancestors whom you never knew?
- How many children were in the family, and where were you in the line-up?
- Describe what your siblings were like. Who were you closest to?
- Describe the house you grew up in. Describe your room.
- What were your family's economic circumstances? Do you remember any times when money was tight? Do you remember having to do without things you wanted or needed?
- What were your duties around the house as a child? What were the other children's duties? How did duties break down by gender?
- When did you learn to cook and who taught you? Were there any special family foods or recipes? Do you still make any traditional family foods?
- What activities did the family do together?
- What did you do on Christmas? Thanksgiving? Birthdays? Other holidays?
B. Community You Grew Up In
- Describe the community you grew up in.
- Describe your neighborhood.
- Where did you shop? How far away were these shops and how did you get there?
- What's the largest town or city you remember visiting when you were young? Can you describe your impressions of it?
C. Early Schooling
- What was school like for you? What did you like about it? What was hard about it for you?
- Who were your friends at school?
- Who were your favorite teachers?
- Do you remember teasing or bullying of you or anyone else?
D. Friends and Interests
- What did you do in your spare time?
- Who were your friends and what did you do when you got together?
- Did you have any hobbies?
- Favorite stories? Favorite games or make-believe? Favorite toys?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
II. Teenage Years
A. Changes in Family
- How did your relationship with your parents change when you became a teenager?
- If you had conflict with them, what was it over?
- Did you have chores around the house? What were they?
- What were your favorite subjects? Particular interests?
- What were your least favorite subjects?
- Did you have any memorable teachers? Describe their teaching style. How did they influence you?
- Was it okay for girls to be smart at your school?
- What were the different groups at your school? Which did you belong to? How do you think you were perceived by others?
- Were you involved in any extracurricular activities? What were they?
- What were your plans when you finished school? Education? Work?
- What did your parents think of your plans? What did your friends think? What did your friends plan to do?
- Did the boys and girls in the family have different plans/expectations?
- Did you have jobs during your teenage years? Doing what?
- Did you contribute to the family income? If not, how did you spend your money?
D. Social Life and Outside Interests
- Who were your friends? What did you do together? What individuals did you spend the most time with during this period?
- Was your group of friends single-sex, or did it include both boys and girls?
- At what age did you begin dating? What kinds of activities did you do on dates? Describe your first date.
- What was your parents' advice/rules related to dating/contact with opposite sex? Did they give you a "birds and bees" lecture? Did you get teaching on this in church or school? What was it?
- What were your peer group's norms with regard to dating and relationships with the opposite sex?
- What were your hobbies/interests? What books did you read? What music did you listen to? What sports did you play? What crafts did you participate in?
A. Further Education
B. Work and Career
C. Marriage or Formation of Significant Relationships
- When and where did you meet? What drew you to him/her?
- When and how did you decide to move in together and/or marry?
- What was originally the most difficult for you about being married/being in a relationship? What was most satisfying?
- What advice would you give to someone today who was contemplating a serious relationship?
- Describe the birth of your children.
- What were they each like when they were young? How have they changed or not changed?
- What were their relationships with each other and with you like when they were young? Now?
- What activities did the family do together?
- What family traditions did you try to establish?
- Does your family have any heirlooms or objects of sentimental value? What is their origin, and how have they been passed down?
- What was most satisfying to you about raising children? What was most difficult?
- What values did you try to raise your children with? How did you go about doing that?
- What forms of discipline did you use and why?
E. Ongoing interests and hobbies
IV. Overview and Evaluation
- What has provided you the greatest satisfaction in life?
- How would you say the world has changed since you were young?
Also, ask about historically significant events the family member lived through:
- Was your family affected by the Depression?
- Did you or anyone close to you serve in a war? What do you remember of that experience?
- Did you support or oppose the war in Vietnam? How did you express your political opinions?
- Did you participate in, or do you have any memories of any of the movements that came out of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, such as the civil rights movement, the women's liberation movement, or the gay liberation movement?
- If the family member belongs to a group that has traditionally been discriminated against: what were you told, both positive and negative, about your group inside your family? Outside? Did you experience discrimination? Who were your role models?
- If the family member is an immigrant or the child/grandchild of immigrants: what do you know of the country you or they came from? Why did you or they immigrate? How did you or they immigrate? What were some of your or their experiences and difficulties of beginning a life in a new country?
- Do you remember your first contact with such significant inventions as radio, television, or a computer? When did your family first buy these items?
There is no need to tell everyone what does family mean and how it is important for everyone. Only your family can save you from loneliness and can also give you the love. Exactly for the children, the family should be exactly that place, where they can discover this world, where they can get any help and they can be sure, that it is the safest place in the world. It seems to be the same for the adult. It is good to know, that there are people that love you despite of your social status or where you live or how much money you earn. And they always are ready to support you. Such people are your mother, father, sisters, brothers, grandfathers and grandmothers.
Do you have your own family traditions?
A lot of families have their own family traditions, which can only improve the relationships between the relatives. It seems that if everyone had the task to write essay about my family, there would be a lot of traditions and values which exist only in their families. If you have any need to get this essay, we will be glad to help you and you will not worry about the result, because we have only writers with the huge writing experience.
The family history
Also, it is very interesting to know a lot of biographical facts about your relatives. You can know the information about your brother or sister, mother, father and about your grandmother and grandfather, but it is very interesting to discover some new information about your other relatives. Because of it, there are lots of tasks at schools to write a family tree essay. Also, it is possible to draw the tree and if you can use the photos of your relatives, it will be great. If you wish to order a family history essay, you have made the great choice. Our professional writers will do their best and you will get the best essay. It will save your time and you will get interesting and informative essay without any grammar mistakes.
Difficulties in the family
But sometimes, there can be some problems in the family. It is known that the main conflicts are between parents and teenagers at the age of 15-16. The main reason of these conflicts is the fact, that the teenagers see this world in other colors, they are open to this world and do not know, that there are a lot of dangerous things here like drugs, alcohol and a lot of other things. The parents want only to protect their children from negative influence, but children see it from the other side. Because of it a lot of children go away from home, there are a lot of quarrels and both sides do not understand each other. The best solution of this situation is the conversation between parents and children. The children need to trust their parents and at that time, parents need to do everything possible to save this trust. It is important to speak with your children from the small age and to know what is happening in their life. Also, it is needed to be near them and to help in difficult situations, because the parents have more experience and they know the life better.
Which values does your family have?
All people are different and because of it all families are different too. Also, they have different values in this life. As children live in these families, it is logical, that they will have the same family values. Sometimes, psychologist at school can ask children to write something like a family values essay. It is done to know which atmosphere children have at home and to check if there are not any difficulties which do not have the opportunity for children to learn good at school. Also, it could be done if the child suddenly started to be very aggressive and also it is the best way to find more information about the children, for example, what they like and what they do not like, what she have and which traditions are in their families. It will help the teachers to choose the right way to have a contact with children and to understand them better.
Understanding in family
The best option to have the happy and great family is to understand each other and live in compromise. Yes, it is very difficult to do, because all of us are human and all have their own habits and rules. It means that, for example, one person can do something easily every day and the other person, for example, do not like to do it. It is important not to demand too much from others, because they can demand the same from you. If every member of the family will help others, then this family will live very long and successful life.
Sometimes people can say, that they do not need family, because they have friends or money or something else. Of course, it is very good when you have them, but friends and money are changeable, but your family will love you only because of the fact, that you are. Only your family will understand and forgive you, only your parents will help you in different complicated situations. Because of it, everyone should respect his or her family and do all possible to make it only stronger.
To sum up, all people on the Earth are different with their unique habits, rules and ways of the life. But the only thing, which can combine all people, is the family. It is exactly our castle, because we feel that we are the strongest inside of our family. It is important to love and do your best to improve your family and think about every member of the family. If there is the understanding and respect inside of the family, you will be able to meet will all difficulties on your life way and you will know that you are not alone, your family is with you and it will help you in the life.