How to Interview Your Relatives About Your Scottish Family History

Article by: Aly Wight


Time to read 2 min

Are you passionate about researching your Scottish genealogy and uncovering your family history? Do you find it challenging to get your family members on board with your interest?

Don't worry, you're not alone. Many people face this dilemma when trying to connect with their relatives and learn more about their roots.

In this blog post, we will provide you with a guide on how to have considerate and tactful conversations with your relatives about family history, and how to get them excited about your genealogy research.

Approaching Conversations About Family History With Care

Before diving into the tips, let's understand why it's important to approach these conversations with consideration. Family history can be a sensitive topic for some people, and not everyone will share your passion for genealogy.

By being considerate and tactful, you can create a comfortable environment for your relatives to open up.

1. Start with a genuine interest

When initiating a conversation about your Scottish family history, approach it with a genuine interest in your relatives' lives and the stories they hold. Ask open-ended questions that encourage them to share their memories. Show that you value their contribution to your research and are eager to learn from them.

2. Be a good listener

Listening is key to building a strong connection with your relatives. Give them your undivided attention and actively listen to what they have to say. Avoid interrupting or interjecting with your own thoughts. By being a good listener, you show respect for their experiences and create a space for them to feel listened to.

3. Share your own discoveries

Once you have established a rapport with your relatives around your interest in your shared family background, introduce them to what you know already. This can help spark their interest and encourage them to help you fill in some of the blanks. 

4. Respect boundaries

Not everyone may be comfortable delving into their family history, and that's okay. Respect their boundaries and don't push them to share more than they are willing to. Remember, genealogy is a personal journey, and everyone has the right to decide how much they want to explore.

5. Patience Will Pay-Off

If you're asking lots of questions, make allowances for the answers to surface in their own good time. Memories work in mysterious ways no matter your age so treat each conversation as a starting point and request followup chats with relatives to see if anything has occurred to them after some reflection.  

6. Create opportunities for connection

Family history can be a powerful tool for bringing relatives closer together. Organise family gatherings or reunions where everyone can share stories and memories. Create a family tree or photo album that can be passed down through generations. By fostering a sense of connection, you can make genealogy a shared interest for the whole family.

Remember, building an interest in family history takes time and patience. Not everyone will immediately share your passion, but by approaching conversations with care, you can create a positive vibe for your relatives to open up to you.

Leave a comment