Do not neglect to add restaurants to your list of places to ask about when having a family history conversation with a relative. Some families may have a special restaurant where they often go out to eat for celebrations or when relatives come home to visit.

Just mentioning the restaurant may generate memories–like the relatives who ordered steak medium rare when this writer had never seen beef cooked that way or ordered it in a restaurant because we had beef at home. Then there’s the time cousins from Indiana came to visit and while we were in the restaurant our meal was interrupted by a trip the establishment’s basement due to a tornado.

Hard telling what memories an eating establishment will bring.



2 Responses

  1. I’ve found there are many things from ones own childhood memories to talk about as a general conversation opener with relatives you hardly know or never even met before who you’re having a family history conversation with. In my case some of those were memories from songs we sang on family car trips, a bakery my family went to every Saturday morning, backyard neighborhood parties. I think sharing your own memories first not only creates a safe sharing space, but can also trigger another’s memory. The moment becomes a personal fun time, not an “interview” – and can create new memories and connections. I miss relatives who are now gone that I never met in person.

    • You are right–it’s better to view it as a conversation. I also like the idea of thinking about making the other person comfortable by sharing you own memories and starting the conversation that way–which does job their memory as well.

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