If you are writing your own story or recording someone else's, the following questionnaire can be a useful to structure conversations and record important facts and help evoke memories. It will be generally better to work the questions into a natural conversation, rather than obviously work through a questionnaire, unless the respondent favours a very structured approach.
Some of the questions may not be relevant, or respondents may not want to answer them, so they can be ignored. Be ready to record any items not on the list and be sensitive to any difficult issues.
3. Date of Birth
4. Place of Birth
5. Parents' Names
6. Where did your parents come from
7. Were they born in England
8. If they were not born in England when did they and / or you arrive in this country and why?
9. How did your parents meet?
10. When and where did they marry
11. What was their trade of occupation?
12. Where did they live?
13. Which synagogue did they attend?
14. Major events or achievements in your parents' lives?
15. Do you have any famous or well known people in your family past or present?
16. Recollections about your birth?
17. Events in your first five years or any anecdotes?
18. What was your home and street like?
19. What languages were spoken?
20. How did the family get by, who ran the home and family?
21. Attendance at any school, nursery, institution before five?
22. Memories of Cheder (religion school) and any other religious education?
23. Synagogue attendance?
24. When and where was your first school?
25. Any memories of your first school - friends, members of your class, teachers, heads or headmistresses - Jewish and non-Jewish?
26. When and where was your second school?
27. Any memories of your second school - friends, members of your class, teachers, heads or headmistresses?
28. Teen-age pass-times and activities?
29. Relations with the other sex, Jewish or non-Jewish, courting or dating?
30. Details of any other schools?
31. Any institutes of further or higher education attended?
32. What did you study and why?
33. Any memories of the place of further education, fellow students, teachers or anecdotes?
34. Any experiences of prejudice or Anti-Semitism?
35. Qualification or training obtained?
36. What was your first job?
37. What was it like and where was it?
38. How much were you paid?
39. Details of marriage and relationships - when did you meet your spouse / partner. What drew your attention to them, what was your first date like? What were your future parents in law like?
40. Your wedding day - when and where were you married, what was it like?
41. Did you go on honeymoon?
42. Where was your first marital home?
43. What was your street or area like?
44. Which synagogue did you attend?
45. Pass times, clubs and societies?
46. Politics - Zionism, Socialist, Labour, or other?
47. Details of your children - who was born first and where, details of subsequent children?
48. World War II - did you live through the War?
49. How old were you in the War?
50. Did you serve in the forces in the War? If so in which force and in what capacity, where were you stationed?
51. What happened to you in the War, what were the main events of your War?
52. Any outstanding memories of the War or anecdotes?
53. The Holocaust - were you affected by the Holocaust?
54. Were you in Hitler's Germany, or Nazi occupied territory during the War?
55. Did you leave Europe before 1938, were you involved in the Kinder Transport, did you hide, were you in a ghetto or a camp?
56. How did you survive?
57. What happened to other members of your family?
58. What happened at the immediate end of the War?
59. What did you do next?
60. How did you re-establish yourself at the end of the War?
61. What subsequent jobs did you have after your first job?
62. Did you remain in your original trade or occupation?
63. Did you do any official or unofficial work in the community or synagogue?
64. What were or are your favorite sports, hobbies or pass-times?
65. What did you children do when they grew up and left home?
66. Do you have any grand children or great grand children?
67. Have you directly witnessed any important event or events?
68. Have you met any famous or important people?
69. What is the best piece of advice that you could give your family members?
70. What do you feel about being Jewish?
71. What is your favorite joke?
72. What is your favorite food or meal?