Saturday, February 20, 2010

Carnival of Genealogical Societies, 1st Edition

Carnival of Genealogical Societies, 1st Edition

A number of years ago, I received a series of monthly newsletters from the Washington County Iowa Genealogical Society of which I was a member at the time. Because of our recent move, I can not put my hands on the actual copies, but I want to bring attention to a series of four articles that I have used over and over through the years. The series of articles consisted of 365 questions to ask grandpa and grandma or another elderly person to find out about their live in their younger years. The four sections were by the quarters of the year so that it covered Easter, and 4th of July and Thanksgiving, etc. as well as "regular" questions.

Today, I want to share a few of the questions with answers provided by my mother, in 1997, when we lived several hundred miles away. She was 78 years old, and died two years later. I sent her a letter with the questions and she sent it back with written comments.

1. What was your most prized possession as a child?
A doll.
Mom & Dad didn't give us many toys. I sewed a lot & played the piano and cornet. We all like to play "Pitch" - a card game. [Uncle and Aunt] Rasmus & Louise gave me a tiny set of dishes & I still have one of the cups. It was about the best gift I ever received. The Depression was on & we just made up our own games. [We have that dish in a box, somewhere!]

2. Tell about the best birthday present you ever received.
Mom & Dad didn't make much over birthdays either. Mom would bake a cake & we'd sing Happy Birthday. [Maybe that is why I always got an Angel Food Cake on my birthday from age 2 through high school and beyond!]

3. When you were a child, how did you keep your house warm?
We lived in town & had a furnace with only 1 big square register in the center of the house. Just a one story house. The oldest house didn't have a furnace so we had a hard coal stove. Small pieces of coal & you put a bucket full in & it lasted all day or night. It had a stove pipe that ran through a bedroom through a chimney & out the roof. It had a damper on it so the coal would burn slowly. Once Dad forgot to turn the damper down & we went to relatives for half a day. When we got home the house was SO hot it killed the gold fish & they were floating on the top of the water.

I'll try to find more of the questions for a later post. Have you seen this list?

Families are Forever!  ;-)


  1. I haven't seen the list but those are great questions and I suspect if I ask my parents and in-laws those kinds of questions, I will get some really interesting answers too! Great material!

  2. I will be looking forward to reading more about this list --- today's post is just a teaser.

  3. Wow! What a great idea! I love those questions. I could never come up with those on my own. Please do post more of them if you find the list! My mother recently went back to work and my grandmother (a widow) lives next door to her. I also live nearby but have found it harder and harder to carve out time for a visit. She loves phones calls. I am going to call her with a "new game" this week - a question a day over coffee in the morning. I wonder if she will like that? Thank you for the inspiration! :)

  4. I just did not think to ask those questions from my mom before she passed. I didn't have opportunity with my father, since he passed maybe ten years before her with a form of alzheimers.

    I was too intent on uprooting details and facts one usually sees in Genealogy research. I used her as confirmation too motly of information I saw. And she had personal issues, so I didn't bring everything up.
    At the time, I thought I knew it all about her.[ didn't really when I look at your list.]

    In fact I think asking these questions should be like a game with the young. Where they get to hear the parents responses and enjoy giving their own.

    I say that with out having seen the list also.