Without question, the best way to start your family research is by speaking to your relatives. You can discover tons of information stretching back generations with just a quick chart. But, as with all your research, there are ways and means of conducting these interviews to get the most out of them.

Talk to Your Older Relatives
The key point here is to ask sooner than later. Many of us only get interested in family history as we get older, so sadly the opportunity to ask older relatives may have disappeared. Older relatives can push your family back two or three generations which will give you a firm standing point for your work. But don’t despair if you don’t have anyone older to ask: siblings and cousins may know some details which haven’t yet been passed to you.
Overcoming Reluctance to Provide Information

While most of your family may be happy to talk to you about family history, you may find that some people might be a bit more reluctant. Other relatives might not initially want to talk about things such as a child being born before marriage of the parents. If you can, try to patiently explain why you want to talk about the family and how any information could really help. You could promise to share your findings too, as this could in turn make curious about the wider family.

Preparation of Questions
Having questions prepared beforehand is a good idea, but you don’t need to stick to them like a script. You might feel nervous talking to relative you hardly know, or have never met before, during your research. They might fell nervous too. Keep it formal and friendly and at the end ask them if it’s okay to visit them again or call back later for another chat.

Types of Questions to Ask
Try to keep your questions open, rather than direct and the discussion will flow better. “What was the name of your grandfather might get a very short answer. But is you say, “I am really interested your grandfather, what do you remember about him?” make your relative feel valued. With dates, it’s a good idea to give a reference point, such as: “Was it before that war he was born?” And old photographs can be a very useful aid: “Is this your mother at a wedding?” may bring up the entirely unknown details. And don’t forget to ask about your relative too. How they lived and their achievements will add depth to your research, help you imagine their lives, and will be fascinating for future generations.

Find the Family Records
During your chart, it might also be worth trying to find out if your relative has any family records and documents they wouldn’t mind sharing with you. If they have them, you might discover who has them, at least. The same is true of photographs, which may have been passed down to a different line.

True or False?
Unwittingly, not all the information you are given may be correct- but nevertheless, you now have a great starting point to begin your research. The trick is to always check the accuracy of information against other sources. Family stories can get embellished, and memories can fade over time, so it’s really important to check the facts as much as possible. As you gather more information from other relatives, you can add your notes and stories to your family tree alongside records and photographs.