17 Family History Questions to Ask Your Relatives at Thanksgiving

By Diane Haddad

Happy Thanksgiving! Will you be spending part of this tradition-filled holiday with family? Perhaps you can turn the occasion to your genealogical advantage. All that nostalgia makes a great setup for talking about family history.

Baltimore and Ohio Employees Magazine, 1912, Internet Archive

You can use the holiday and the food as an opener, then delve deeper into family history. Here are some questions to get (and keep) the conversational ball rolling:

  • How did your family celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • What was your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal?
  • What was your childhood home like?
  • How did you get along with your brothers and sisters?
  • What did you do for fun as a child?
  • Did you have any pets?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What was your school like?
  • What was your favorite subject in school?
  • What was your first job? How did you get it?
  • How did World War II (or the Great Depression, or another significant event) affect your family?
  • Was your family religious? Where did you go to church (or synagogue)?
  • How did your parents meet?
  • What do you admire about your parents?
  • How did you meet your spouse?