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Specific Oral History Questions


  • Who was the first ancestor in your family to immigrate? When?

  • Was there a specific reason why your ancestors immigrated?

  • How and where did they get the money to travel?

  • When your ancestors immigrated, did they do so with other relatives? Who were they?

  • Who received the relatives when they first arrived in this country?

  • Do you know the name of the ship and the port of entry?

  • Do you know if your immigrant ancestors were naturalized? If so, by what court and when?

  • Do you know the names of the cities or towns in the U.S. to which your relatives immigrated?

Life in the New World:

  • What occupations did your immigrant ancestors have when they first arrived?

  • Did they belong to organizations, churches, or other groups?

  • Did they live in other towns or cities in North America?

  • Was there a cousins club or family circle?

  • Were there special family traditions that have been handed down?

  • Were there family recipes?

  • Were any heirlooms brought along with your family?

Oral History Interviews - Documents to ask about

  1. Family personal records, letters, etc.

  2. Family bible

  3. Wills, Deed, etc.

  4. Certificates, Diplomas, Awards, etc.

  5. Photographs

  6. Books of Remembrance

  7. Diaries, Family Genealogies, Family Histories, etc.

  8. Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Records

  9. Newspaper clippings

  10. Military Records

  11. Immigration Records

  12. Passports

  13. Cemetery and Funeral Home Records

  14. Court Records

Source: Montana Heritage Project
Oral History in the Classroom: Getting Started

Oral History Unit Overview

Information for the Development of an Oral History Project

Oral History Project: Guidelines For Recording an Interview

Fish Bowls and Bloopers: Oral History in the Classroom

One Minute Guide to Oral Histories

Oral History Questions

Specific Oral History Questions

Oral History Lesson Plans

Oral History Websites

Oral History Activities

Teacher's Guide to the Teen Reporter Handbook

Oral History Topics, Skills and Methods

Download Specific Questions in Word Document format.




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