I was recently interviewed for the story, Making History published in The Spokesman Review. I told Treva, the author of the article, what I tell everyone who asks and anyone who will listen about the EASIEST way to interview someone you love: Give them my Family Information Sheet and ask them to fill it out.
Yes, you could do something more involved, but the beauty of this form is it's simplicity. Years ago—maybe 22ish years—our family purchased our first PC and I had no idea what to do with it, so I made a general shopping list and checklists for cleaning and I wrote some letters. Then, one Saturday morning, I sat down and made up a form just like the one pictured here. I printed several copies and mailed them along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to my parents and grandparents and to Geoff's parents and grandparents.
Please note: I was not yet a scrapbooker and had no idea what the future held for me. What I did know is we lived states away from these family members and I wanted to gather some basic information that I could share with my two little boys and also have to file away for "someday." I was beyond pleasantly surprised when ALL of the forms came back. Every single one. I learned that if you make it easy, people love to share about themselves. I've learned since that the genius of this fill-in-the-blank interview is that it records the basic vital information along with descriptive personality questions and as a bonus: it asks for a signature. Do you know how cool it is that I now possess handwritten forms from our deceased grandparents. Exceptionally cool. You can read about the experience that Geoff had at his grandfather's funeral in the newspaper article, linked above.
So, here's what we're going to do ...
1. Click HERE to download a copy of the Family Information Sheet to keep.
2. Print enough copies for immediate and extended family members.
3. Invite them in person or via mail/email to fill the form out and return it to you.
4. Share what you learn, or use it on scrapbook pages, like this one.
5. Keep physical and digital copies of the completed forms.
Family history 101