How To Interview Relatives For Your Family Tree Project

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A wide array of family tree types is used today. Some family trees offer simple information, such as the person’s name, date of birth and death. Some family trees on the other hand, offer extra details such as snippets of how they lived, where they were born, and others. If you plan to build a more intricate family tree chart, you will need more details and factual items to enhance your genealogy chart. Here are some tips on how to enrich your family tree, and provide a more complete picture of your ancestor’s lives.

Identify The Gaps In Your Family Tree

Before you begin building your family tree, identify any gaps or limited information from the data you collected from relatives or family members. For example, if you know very little about your grandparents and their siblings, and you only know their birth dates and birth places, you may ask for information from any of your older living relatives. You may be surprised to learn that your older relatives will be more than happy to give you any extra information about your ancestor’s life.

Use a Family Gathering to Ask Questions

Whenever you have a family gathering, always seize the opportunity to ask questions from your relatives. You may ask questions to clarify or evaluate the data you already have, like for example immigration, occupation or residence records, as well as details about engagements or marriages, death and burial places, and more. Before the family gathering starts, make a list of questions for your relatives, but remember not to overwhelm them with too many questions. Once you’ve created your list of questions, get your uncle or aunt to spend some time with you over a cup of tea or coffee. You may also wish to bring a recorder to store all their answers.

Check Your Details Twice

Once you’re ready to add a name, place, residence, birth or death date, occupation and other details to your family tree, remember to double check the information you gathered. Look for historical articles, obituaries, diaries, journals, memoirs, letters and more. You can collect or borrow these from your relatives, or you may drop by the local library, census office or archive, where you can find birth registration records, burial certificates, medical and hospital reports, ship passenger lists, accident reports and others. Some of the documents you may find could provide you with interesting clues, which may lead you to other notable discoveries.

The most interesting and satisfying family trees are usually the accurate and personalized ones. You can actually personalize a family tree, if you’re lucky enough to find many old photographs or items from your grandfather or grandmother’s trunk. Make copies, and create stories with the attached old photos, and paste them to your tree. You may also wish to add a historical map of the city, town or place where your ancestor’s family lived for generations.

Also check out anything historically significant that happened in their locality at that time, and include those details too.

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