I tell them:
Genealogy starts with conversations.
Conversations with your parents/grandparents around a dinner table.
Conversations with distant cousins at a family reunion or other family gathering.
Conversations with relatives through social media.
Sometimes those conversations need a little help getting going. Have you ever asked a relative for information about the family history only to hear, “Oh, that was so long ago I don’t remember.”? Or “What do you want to know about all those people for? They’re long gone.“
Consider trying one of these tips to get those family history conversations started.
- Let the person you want to talk with know ahead of time any topics you want to know about. For example, “Grandmom, I will be asking about what Christmas was like when you were a little girl.”
- Take along a family photograph(s) and ask about the people in the photo. Ask about where a photograph was taken or what was the occasion for the photograph. (This is my personal favorite!)
- Ask about a specific event in a person’s life.
- Make a list of questions you would like to know the answers.
Once you get the conversation started, I expect you will not have trouble continuing. Sometimes you just need to get started.