40 Questions to Ask Your Parents and Grandparents

Grandma89_WHMToday is my Grandma’s 89th birthday and I’ve been thinking about all the things I know (and don’t know) about her and that side of our family. I grew up living only a few blocks away from my maternal grandparents, so we’ve always been very close. As many of you know my daughter was born a few years after the unexpected loss of both my parents and so I think about our family history a lot, and wish I had the opportunity to ask more questions of my own parents.

On Sunday, we went to Grandma’s house to celebrate.  I knew a lot about my Grandma going into this, but I still had a lot to learn!

Here is my list of 40 questions to ask your parents and grandparents.

  1. What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?
  2. When and where were you born?
  3. How did your family come to live there?
  4. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
  5. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
  6. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  7. What kind of games did you play growing up?
  8. What was your favorite toy and why?
  9. What was your favorite thing to do for fun?
  10. Did you have family chores? Did you receive an allowance?
  11. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
  12. Who were your childhood heroes?
  13. What were your favorite songs and music?
  14. Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?
  15. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
  16. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
  17. Who were your friends when you were growing up?
  18. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
  19. Describe a typical family dinner. Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
  20. How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family?
  21. How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
  22. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
  23. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
  24. What do you know about your family surname?
  25. Is there a naming tradition in your family?
  26. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
  27. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
  28. What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
  29. When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates?
  30. What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen?
  31. Where and when did you get married?
  32. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
  33. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
  34. How did you find out your were going to be a parent for the first time?
  35. Why did you choose your children’s names?
  36. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
  37. What did your family enjoy doing together?
  38. What was your profession and how did you choose it? If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
  39. What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
  40. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Hopefully these will give you a great insight into your parents and grandparents. Thanks to About Geneology for help with this list.

What questions would you ask your parents & grandparents? Is there anything I’ve forgotten?

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