The Importance of Interviews by Stacy N. Hawks

Published on 7 January 2023 at 08:00

In 2008 I had the privilege of speaking with and interviewing a gentleman in our community who was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a decorated POW, and former teacher.


His experiences helped to shape and outline a research paper that became an incredible ten year obsession for me. 

The more I researched the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roosevelt's New Deal and alphabet agencies, the more I wanted to know.


However, his interview was not the only one I conduted. In fact, it inspired me to conduct many more in the following years with family, and local individuals about a variety of historical topics.


Interviewing can be of great value to journalists, writers, but especially to genealogists. Why? 


1. Connection. Interviewing ones relatives about their past, events, or family history can help build a bond between different generations. 


2. Memory. Talking about the past or past events can help trigger memories and stories that go with them. And we all know how much genealogists enjoy stories to share and tell as they build their trees. 


3. Life Changing. Interviews can also open up individuals not only to their past but help them to reflect on certain events, people, and places that could be enlightening and even life changing. 


4. Learning about Yourself. Interviewing family can help individuals to not only understand them better, but to also understand themselves better too. 


5. It brings History to life. Oral histories are worth preserving, and like our trees they help to bring life to the individuals who make up its branches. 


We hope you'll consider making a family interview or two part of your 2023 research goals. Connect with someone and Branch Out. Follow Dividing Ridge Genealogy on social media and visit History and Heritage for more great research techniques, topics, & resources. 

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