Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday's Tip ~ Another Interview Strategy

I have interviewed my mother-in-law ("A") many times over the years and listened to lots of wonderful stories of immigrant ancestors and extended family in the U.S. I have taken copious notes. I also had the opportunity to know A's mother, Rose (click here to see Rose's gravestone) and interviewed her a few times before she died in 1996.

Experienced genealogists know that one strategy to use when interviewing older relatives about about their family is to show them a picture of someone and ask them to tell you about that person. Because I only see A once or twice a year, but speak with her often, it's nice to have another memory prompt to get her talking and remembering other family groups that we have not discussed much.

Recently, I have been sharing new discoveries with A, by phone, about her Segal ancestors.

When my husband and I speak with A weekly (using the speakerphone on my husband's iPhone), I have gotten in the habit of having Ancestry.com open. I find that when I talk about what I have found and ask her if she remembers a name or how many children were in a relative's family, she tells me what she remembers and, as well as taking notes, I search in Ancestry and see what comes up. As I read a family group of names and a location from a census record to her, she is able to confirm that this is the right family and this often triggers additional memories about how many children this cousin had or about the job that another cousin had.

She is as excited as I am when I find a record in Ancestry and I tell her something about a family member that she didn't know!

Using this strategy, I have been able to identify the extended Seigel/Segal family that I found in passenger lists. Upcoming posts will be about the different Seigel aunts, uncles and cousins. I will also work on the Levitt (or Levitas) side of the family based on a more recent conversation about a great aunt that I previously knew very little about.

I am grateful to A for being genuinely interested in what I'm finding!

Tuesday's Tip is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

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