Starting your Family History Record


There are lots of ways to record family history and begin your life story.

It makes sense to start with information about yourself.  Then make a list of relatives you know.  Next to names, put any information you know about them.  Dates are important, but also include what jobs and hobbies the person had, noteworthy accomplishments, personality descriptions and other interesting facts.  Stories are what make history interesting.

When starting to record dates, save time by deciding on a code to keep things uniform.  Most charts I’ve seen use the following:

DB = Date of Birth

PB = Place of Birth

DM = Date of Marriage

PM = Place of Marriage

DD = Date of Death

PD = Place of Death

PB = Place of Burial


Another way to keep track of this information is a Family Group Record or Family Group Sheet.  Many variations of this kind of form can be found online.  I must note that some forms are copyrighted.


Another form shows how to order/develop a person’s family line/tree.

 Charts (2)

You can see the many designs/choices of forms by doing an internet search for “family chart”.

A variety of books are available that guide people to record their lives through a series of questions.  This is a simple book I gave to my parents and grandparents after  my first child was born.


I’ve searched for this book online and cannot find it for sale so it is likely out of print.  There are many other options though.

You don’t have to use a formal book.  Below is a list of questions from different books to guide you in recording your life for your descendants you know and those who will follow them.  You can copy and paste it to a word document and type your answers or you can print it to handwrite answers.   You can use it as a start point and pick and choose which questions to answer and you can use the questions as a springboard from which to add questions, information and/or stories.  However you choose to go about making a record of your family history, I hope you will have even half as much fun as I have in scanning mine.  I’m very grateful for all those before me who invested the time and effort to record who and where I came from.


Given Name:

Date of Birth:

Place of birth:


Eye color:

Hair color:



Birth Date:

Birth Place:

Date of Death

Place of Death:

Place of Burial:


Birth Date:

Birth Place:

Date of Death:

Place of Death

Place of Burial:


Parents’ Date of Marriage:

Parents’ Place of Marriage:

Certain foods and family traditions:

Most talked about relative:

Funniest relative:

When I was born, they said I looked like:

How did your parents decide on your name?

Did you have a nickname?

Who are your brothers and sisters?

Did you ever fight with your brothers and sisters?

Did you have to share your room and your things?

What was the best birthday you ever had?

Can you remember a favorite birthday present?

A sad time growing up?

Naughtiest thing you ever did?

How old were you when you got an allowance and how much was it?

What were your favorite games and toys?

Did you ever go sledding, skiing or skating?

What games or sports did your mom and dad play with you?

Did you get to stay up as late as you wanted to?

Did you argue about your bedtime?

Did you ever go to the hospital, have stitches or break any bones?

What kind of transportation did you have?

Did you ever run away from home?

What chores did you have to do?

When you were given money, what did you spend it on?

Did you have a pet and what was its name?

What did your house look like?

What did you like most about your best friend?

Did kids ever tease you?  Was there a bully who picked on you?

What did your house look like?

What kind of appliances did you have to cook with, etc.?

How many people lived at your house?

How did you keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer?

What was your favorite thing in the whole house?

What did you usually do on Thanksgiving?

Was your mom a good cook?

What did she make best?

Did you live where they had snow?

Did you make snowmen?

Did you chop wood or help with Christmas preparations?

Did you hang your stockings and what did Santa leave in them?

Did you have a tree?

How did you decorate it?

What did you usually do on Christmas?

Did you make cards to give on Valentine’s Day?

Did you ever give flowers or candy to a girl?

Did the Easter Bunny ever leave you a basket?

Did you have firecrackers or sparklers?

Did you dress up on Halloween?

What schools did you go to?

High School:

Did you get good grades?

Did you ever have  big family reunion?

What subjects did you like?

What ones did you hate?

Did you walk to school or ride a bus?

Were you ever on a school team?

Did you get lots of homework from your teachers?

What was your favorite trip?

Did you ever travel by train or airplane?

Did you go fishing or swimming?

What was the longest distance you went on a trip?

Did you ever take a trip by yourself?

Did you go to the State fair or amusement park?

How old were you when you learned to drive?

Did you have your own car?

Did your parents ever ground you?

What did you and your friends do on weekends?

Did you ever get into trouble with your friends?

Where did you first meet Grandma?

Were you serious from the start or did you still date other girls?

Where did you take Grandma on your first date?

What was your favorite place to take her on a date?

Did your parents like her right away?

Did you ever have a fight with her while you were dating?

When did you ask Grandma to marry you?

What was your wedding like?

Did you have a honeymoon?

Where did you and Grandma first live?

Where was your first job?

Did you ever help around the house?

What is your favorite funny story about the first year you were married?

When and where were your children born?

What was my parent like as a baby?

What chores did my parent have to do?

Did you give an allowance?

Did my parent behave in school and get good grades?

What things did my parent like to do best?

Did my parent keep a clean room?

Did my parent ever do something special or surprise you to make you happy or proud?

If you could spend a week doing anything you wanted, what would it be?

If you could, which age of your life would you most like to revisit and why?

If you were elected President, what two things would you do for our country?

What do you feel is the most significant industrial change to happen in your lifetime?












Ice Cream:


Is there a family trait?

What fads do you remember best?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t?

Who are the people who influenced you most?  Why?

What did you think when you first saw your grandchildren?

What advice do you have for your children and grandchildren?


About Climbing Downhill

Wife and mother of grown kids, in my 60's and dealing with MS, making life's moments count and trying to offer something of value to others along the way.
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2 Responses to Starting your Family History Record

  1. Damyanti says:

    I don’t know if I’d want to chart my family’s history, but I can use this list to chart the history of my fictional characters. 🙂

  2. Pingback: 10 Ways to Win at Life’s Finish Line | Climbing Downhill

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