Search billions of records on

               December 2010

      Charles Hansen, Editor

      Newsletter Archives   |  E-mail                    

  Interviewing Your Family
  — by Charles Hansen

       During the holidays many families get together, so this is a good time to interview your family members. Juliana Smith of Ancestry just wrote an article called 'Asking the Right Questions when Interviewing Family'. She lists several questions I have not seen on most interviewing lists.

  1. Who were your neighbors growing up?
  2. Do you remember the addresses of your childhood homes?
  3. What landmarks were in your neighborhood?
  4. How old were you when your grand parents/aunt/uncle died?
  5. Do you remember the funeral?
  6. Did you ever travel to visit out-of-state family?
  7. Which relatives did you see the most?

       Since I am nearly the oldest of our family now (my sister Jacque is 2 years older). I guess I will answer some of these. Like Juliana I have trouble with dates, so I will do the best I can for them. When I was born my parents lived at 1641 E. Queen Avenue in Spokane, and when I was sixteen months old they bought the house at 1611 E. Queen Avenue, so while the house was close I don't remember the first house. My parents lived at 1611 E. Queen till they died.

       Next door was Elijah (Toby) Toland, his wife Frances, and kids Charlene and Steven. Steve was my age and Charlene was a year older. Steve and I were like Mutt & Jeff as I was real small and Steve was very big (he still is). Across the street from the Tolands were the Meyers and they had a couple of daughters both older than my sister and so I never got to know them very well. Right across the street was the Heckers. Mike Hecker, his wife Helen and kids Richard and Carol. Richard was the oldest and a wild kid. Carol was a few months older than Jacque and they got along well and still do even though Carol lives in Ohio. Across the street to the west was the Lunneborgs, Glenn, Lois and their son Kent. Glenn and Lois were both school teachers and their son Kent was really spoiled.

       Landmarks in the neighborhood? I guess the only landmarks were the Whitman School and John Rogers High School. Whitman was demolished in 1981 and rebuilt as a concrete monster. Rogers was recently remodeled from the ground up to restore the art deco design school back to its original glory, with all the electronics of today.

       My grandfather died when I was almost 6, my grandmother 30 years later, and my aunt and uncle in 2004 and 2007. The only thing I remember of my grandfathers funeral was him in the coffin, my grandmother insisted I see him there. The rest I remember very well. I actually had several other aunts and uncles, but since they did not live close I did not go to any of the funerals.

       My dad had two older sisters, and one had died before I was born, but the second one was the wife of a Navy captain and lived at Coronado, California. I think it was in 1967 we drove to Coronado to see her. She was a widow by then and was a school teacher so she had the summers free. I remember the orange tree in the side yard and was amazed they could pick ripe oranges. I had only seen oranges in the supermarket. My dad's parents lived on a farm in Idaho about 35 miles from us in Spokane and so we got to see them a lot. They were both in their 80s when I remember them, but got around pretty well. My uncle Leigh lived there also and was the main farmer. My other uncle Ralph lived in Cashmere, Washington where he was a fruit farmer and had an orchard of peaches, cherries and apples and most every fall would bring us a box or two of apples.

       The relatives we saw the most was my mom's parents as they lived 5 blocks from us. Grandpa died first and so I did not get to see him as much as my grandma, but she lived another 30 years after he died and so I got to do a lot of chores around her house.

Go to: Archive Gateway | GHLL Homepage