Interview Questions for Relative Biography Interview Questions to present to family member or friend of the subject of the biography.

NOTE: of course the relationship of the person being interviewed to the subject will need to be considered in choosing the questions.

When and where was _______________ born?

Are there any interesting stories surrounding the birth?

What is your earliest memory of this person?

In what way has this person influenced your life?

Did this person have a nickname? How did it happen to be given?

What was this person’s favorite game as a young child? Teen? Adult?

Did this person have a hobby? Sport?

Did this person like school?  A favorite or less favorite class?

How would you describe this person socially or academically?

Was this person involved it politics? How?

What would be the most surprising thing about this person most people would not know?

How would you introduce this person to your neighbor?

How would you describe this person to someone who needed to find him in a crowd?

Was this person afraid of anything?

Was this person ever in an accident?

What did this person do during free time?

What was this person’s career? More than one?

What was the funniest thing that ever happened involving this person?

The happiest thing?

Most embarrassing moment?

Frightening moment?

Talents and skills?

If this person is deceased, what would be important to share? Time? Place?     Circumstances?

How do you think this person would want to be remembered?

What special things did you do together?    Think of your own family or friend related questions. or friend of a biography subject.


I’m writing the biography of a deceased gentleman. It will require interviews of multiple family members, friends and co-workers.

I searched online for suggested questions, to simplify the process. I only found questions appropriate for the subject of the biography. Therefore, I adapted the questions available to fit my needs.

Perhaps this article will be useful to another biographer. Thank you for visiting my site. I welcome any question suggestions.

Family History

“Family history – I am doing it, my family history. And the love I feel when I’m doing it is very sweet to me. I learn stories of my progenitors; I write their history. I keep records of my loved ones on my own family tree.”

The beginning of the year is a good time to renew our interest in our ancestors as that little song which is often sung by the children at church encourages. I got so busy with my research yesterday that I left no time for posting on my website.

It is true we learn to love our extended families when we learn about them. When I discovered one of my ancestors from the 1700s lost most of their family, children, to a smallpox epidemic, tears overflowed my eyes and melted my heart. I didn’t know them in the usual sense, but I loved them immediately.

My search is on for my illusive great-grandfather, not so many years ago, but difficult. This is because family stories say he changed his name as a young adult. Trouble is, I do not know his real name.  I do not know if his name Shadaway was the new name or a return to the correct name. I’ve also seen Artriss as his given name, also Archie and simply A. R. Shadaway as shown on a marriage certificate.

The question of the name Shadaway is complicated by the Cherokee heritage. I believe that part because I was personally familiar with his two daughters. Their appearance was obviously Indian and they stated their father was half Cherokee. They should know!

And, Cherokee people were matrilineal meaning they took their Mother’s name as a surname. Here is the double conflict: A generic name search leads me to the UK, and my only Shadaway uncle had no children to carry on the name. My grandmother and the aunts who married took the surnames of their Anglo husbands. The name Shadaway, in my line, died with my great grandfather.

I have found the name in a general online and census searches. There are a few Shadaways scattered across the country from New York to Georgia and even Arkansas. No connection  so far.

Actually, there is a third conflict, family stories say Great-grandfather moved to Arkansas from New Orleans but a 1910 Arkansas Census record for my great-aunt lists his birth state as Arkansas. There is no way to know who provided that information. Was it her husband Henry Keathley or one of the kids? There were Cherokee living in Arkansas before they scattered with the Trail of Tears. Some went to Louisiana to escape the march.

So many questions. Many guesses. So few answers.

I’ve been trying to trace descendants of my two aunts. That is not easy!  I hope that one or some of them of the current generation might be on Facebook. It is like searching for that proverbial “needle in a haystack” as the family lines branch out near and far.

Perhaps, one of my cousins is looking for me! I hope for success in 2017!