What Kind of Interview Should You Conduct?

Types of Family History Interviews


Interviewing relatives infuses genealogy with a wealth of stories and clues that are waiting to be harvested. However, not all interviews result in the type of information the interviewer had wanted when they coerced their relative into a painful audio recording ordeal. Okay, perhaps all the researcher had to do was ask but why did they not gather the gems of genealogy from their relative? The key is knowing which type of interview will produce the results you are seeking.




There are a number of interview formats to choose from and have benefits and limitations. Here are a formats to consider:

  • Formal vs Informal 
  • Scripted vs Unscripted
  • Fact vs Story
  • Group vs Individual
Do you know understand the differences between each type? If you don't, this video explains in more details the results you can expect with the various formats. 


Click the video for more explanation on video types


Is it possible that an interview is a combination of these types? Absolutely. Often, an interview may start as a formal, scripted interview and then involve into a story based unscripted conversation. Before you schedule your interview with a relative, be sure to decide which interview format will achieve they results you are after.  


Then come back and tell me how things went.

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