Sprinkled with 6 family photographs and some personal anecdotal accounts, this 40-page book (actually a work booklet) can be especially useful for African-ancestored people interested in getting started at researching their own genealogies and family histories. In bite-size conversational sections, the author covers the “why,” “who,” “when,” and “how” aspects of conducting African American oral history interviews, a most essential part of one’s family research process. Readers are reminded that several hundred years of enslavement of African-ancestored families often necessitates questions to insure coverage of that part of a family's history, if known.
The cornerstone section, titled, “Some Questions You May Want Answered,” includes over 170 sample questions from which the reader can choose for each prospective interviewee. Among those samples are inquiries designed to extract any family oral history related to the enslavement period and any subsequent discrimination and/or segregation. “This entire list of questions can be reviewed in preparation for an interview, “ asserts Mr. Nelson, “just to make sure one is prepared to one's own satisfaction. It’s also helpful to decide beforehand which questions are priorities to have answered. Readers are also encouraged to use any personal knowledge and relationships to formulate other questions. To that end, the author added 7 blank “Personal Worksheet Pages” for writing one’s own questions, reminders, notes, etc. Readers are also encouraged to re-word or re-phrase questions to fit their own personalities and styles.