Ask any genealogist, they will tell you about the family member they
interview. The ancestor they wish they could speak with today; the one that got away. Iwould have to ask why t
hat interview didn’t take
place.Interviewing the living can be an overwhelming task. An uncomfortable andawkward event that some beginners just are not prepared to undertake. As a newgenealogist, many are timid and introverted, and fear the interview process.Inexperienced interviewers are fearful of asking the difficult questions, or of not askingthe right questions. Interviewing another human being is not an easy task for mostpeople. It does not come naturally for many and when you are uncomfortable with a
situation you procrastinate until it’s too take late.
A new family historian may set their fears aside and pursue the interview, butnerves, inexperience, and lack of preparation often lead to poor results. Perhaps they
didn’t ask enough questions, or they asked the wrong types of questions, som
time and geography stood in the way. Others just simply didn’t feel competent or
prepared to do the job.Others waited, sometimes too long. They waited until they had a little moreknowledge of the process of genealogy. Other genealogists posted their talk until theyresearched a little more, or until they had this information or that document. Otherswaited until life was less busy and they had time to prepare. They waited. One daywaking up and that person was gone with 80 plus years of memories and family history.So, time and time again when I
hear “I would love to
begin researching my
family history but I don’t know where to start.”
My answer is and will always be
start with the living.