Weekly Planner: Family Questionnaire

Create a questionnaire and pass it out to relatives at a family reunion, via e-mail, or via “snail mail.” Ask about favorites, memories of events, memories of other family members, places they’ve lived or visited, pets, recipes, schools, hobbies, and anything else that comes to mind. Gather the responses, make photocopies and share them with all the contributors. You will be helping your family to get to know each other better and stay connected, as well as preserving an important part of your family history that may never be recorded anywhere else.

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9 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Family Questionnaire

  1. I have tried this tactic, and am being met with some tough resistance from a certain uncle in my family. He is unwilling to provide any information, and calls me “presumptuous” for even wanting this information! I’m confused by this, but I guess not everyone is interested in preserving their history or memories! From what I’ve gathered from other family historians, this is not uncommon!

  2. This sounds like a good idea. We are about to have a family reunion — two of them, actually. I’m planning on working with my sister to put together a questionaire of this type and hope to keep a better unity and history of our family.

  3. The idea of a questionnaire is great. In the past I have sent family group sheets to relatives. The questionnaire seems more direct and simple.
    Sincerely,
    Keith Arnold

  4. That sounds like a terrific idea. The last reunion one branch of the family was greatly anticipated until the uncle who was organizing it wrote to say absolutely NO genealogy at this reunion! I was stunned, and decided not to attend. It certainly opened my eyes about everyone not sharing the same interests. Perhaps he or whoever does the organizing next time, would not object to something like this. Our family loves to tell funny,amazing tales about the “old” days, and they are told with the same endearing accent of that regional area and in the fashion the original characters said them. A microphone and tape recorder or movie camera would be wonderful. I tried to do this at a past event, but the noise level was such that it was difficult to hear the story on the tape. Any ideas on improving that?
    Several of us are discussing having a reunion including 2 more generations of cousins. I have never even attended a reunion with themes, shirts, etc. but I think this one will call for such. Keep up the helpful articles!

  5. I am the oldest of seven children and each of my brothers and sisters have two or more children. One year at one of the kid’s birthday parties someone decided to make out a Birthday quiz about the person whose birthday it was. Every person at the party is given a copy of the quiz to do and there are always some interesting and funny answers to the questions. There is also a prize for the person who gets the most correct answers. One year I won the prize for getting the most correct answers on my Dad’s sixtieth birthday quiz.I got a small photo albumn as a prize.
    There were questions like’
    - When was the person born. What time was the person born.
    - Questions about the person’s likes or dislikes.
    - Trips or memorable things that happened to the person.
    - Unique jobs that they have held, etc.
    You get the idea.
    We have been making these quizzes for years now as a way to get to know our brothers and sisters, neices and nephews better. My grandfather has a bithday coming up, he’ll be 94 years old. Can you imagine the quiz that we could do for him?My sister has started to collect the qizzes so that she can read them later. They are fun to do even if you don’t know all the answers!

  6. We had a family reunion and one of the contests was too see who could name the most relatives. (The ones who put the mailing list together couldn’t compete.) It was fun to see the expressions on the younger kids faces when they realized they had a bigger family than they thought.

    We kep the answer sheet to make sure all members were entered in the tree and at least notifed of doings.

    I have sent out a questionaire like this and so far, there are no replies. They talk about it though and it keeps people more in touch with each other.

  7. About 3 months prior to our family reunion (after the invitations were mailed), I emailed everyone asking that each person submit *one* interesting fact about themselves. Interesting facts might be an explanation of what you do for a living or what hobbies you enjoy. Do you collect something interesting? Or, have you broken most of the bones in your body? (…and how?) Have you received an award or attained an outstanding achievement? Or, does your interesting fact include your lifelong goals? I offered two examples of interesting facts about myself. For example, I have every woman’s dream job: I spend other people’s money for a living. And, I collect butterflies, especially blue butterflies!

    I asked family members to reply via email so I could compile a list before the reunion. On the day of the reunion, I would read the interesting facts and everyone could guess which person belonged with each fact. Two weeks prior to the reunion, I had received less than 6 replies. Average attendance is 50 people.

    I forwarded the email to everyon once again. This time I said, “The reunion is almost upon us and I’ve received very few responses to my icebreaker idea (see details below in original message). If you haven’t sent your interesting fact(s), please do so this week as it will take me a little time to compile the master list. If you don’t submit your interesting fact(s), everyone will think you’re uninteresting… and we all know that (our family) isn’t dull!”

    The response was wonderful. Most families submitted interesting facts on at least one person. Some wrote one fact while others told several facts or wrote a narrative. Through this exercize, we learned that we have some very interesting people and a couple of writers in the family! I think we each learned something about another family member. Several people asked me for copies of the master list of interesting facts!

    Each year a different family is “in charge” of the reunion. I’ll be interested to see whether this icebreaker exercize becomes a tradition!

  8. Hi all!

    For those who are reticent (obstinant?) about not replying or supplying any information, I simply send a follow-up letter stating that the information will be gathered, verified and printed.

    Do NOT complain that your lines are not included, if you supplied no information. Do NOT rail because some of the information is inaccurate. You rejected the possibility to be remembered as correctly as possibility. Omissions and errors will are not intentional, but without cooperation, they often unavoidable.

    Please reconsider and join the many relatives who have helped make this project a success.

    Happy Dae
    http://www.ShoeStringGenealogy.com/ssg1.htm

  9. What a wonderful idea… I wish my family had been doing this 50 years ago, I would not be having the problems I am now tracing my family history.

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