This festive season, once you've drained the last of the eggnog and you can't force in another mouthful of ham, you may find that conversation around the table turns to family. The holidays are, after all, the time when lots of us reflect on the family we’ve known and loved through the years.

If, like lots of other people, you use this opportunity to try to find out more about your family history, you may find that interviewing one of your older relatives might be just the ticket for filling in some of the blanks in your knowledge. We’ve prepared 20 questions to get you started when interviewing an elderly relative.

You can view and print our our handy guide, or read the questions below.

Don’t forget, the best place to store any information you may find is in the free Findmypast Family Tree Builder – it’s easy to use, and a safe place to store all your new discoveries. Good luck, and merry Christmas!

20 family history questions to ask your relatives this Christmas

  1. Where were you born?
  2. In which areas did you grow up?
  3. Which schools did you attend, and when did you leave?
  4. Where were your parents born?
  5. What was your mother’s maiden name?
  6. When and where did your parents marry? (If they married at all).
  7. What’s the earliest generation of your family of whom you have knowledge? Do you know your great grandparents’ names, for example?
  8. What did your parents and grandparents do for work? (This can help you confirm that you have the correct person in a census record).
  9. Can you recall any stories about ancestors who emigrated, or who moved to this country?
  10. Can you recall any funny or interesting anecdotes passed down about family members?
  11. Are there any family legends? Family members who were famous inventors, or war heroes?
  12. Do you have any birth, marriage or death certificates, or perhaps any letters or correspondence that belonged to family members?
  13. Did any of your ancestors serve in the military? If so, do you know when, and whether they were decorated?
  14. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  15. Were any ancestors ever on the wrong side of the law?
  16. Did any ancestors get a divorce that you know of?
  17. What were Christmases like in your household when you were a child?
  18. Did any of your family members have nicknames?
  19. Do you know of any other family member who has researched your family history?
  20. Were any of your ancestors religious?