Every single person has a story to tell. As time passes, however, these unique looks at local life are lost. That’s why it’s important to grab them before they’re gone — and it’s something that can be as easy as recording a conversation on a smartphone.
These recordings might feature a variety of topics: An individual’s early life, or what they remember about the region. What locals did for fun; what it was like going to a one-room school. How they’ve seen the world change during their lifetime.
Such recollections are invaluable resources family members, and for historians of the future. Below, find a few sample questions to get a conversation started.
- What is your name? When and where were you born?
- How would you describe where you lived as a child? Was it in town or on a farm?
- What was your family like? How would you describe your parents?
- Please describe a typical day from your childhood.
- How do you think people saw life differently in years gone by?
- Did your family have any special traditions, both in everyday life and for holidays?
- Looking back, what’s a time — a time period or a single day — that you would like to revisit? Why?
- What were your grandparents like?
- Growing up, what were your expectations for your life? Did they mesh with what was generally expected of people in your family or community?
- What did you feel some of the greatest challenges were for you or your family/community as you grew up?
- How would you describe (town/region) in years past? If you still live nearby, what are some things you think are different today than they were back then? Does anything particularly stick out as the same?
- What did people in your community do on Saturdays?
- What was dating like when you were a teenager?
- What was going to a one-room schoolhouse like?
- How did the Great Depression affect your family?
- Were any members of your family superstitious?
- What did you and members of your family do for fun?
- How did religion play a role in your family?
- Obviously things like technology make the world look different from how it did years ago. But overall, do you think people have fundamentally changed?