The “When I Was Young” Geneameme

Alona Phillips - March 1975

doing the dishes was fun, at least at age 2

Like it or not, life today is a whole lot different from when we grew up. And as genealogists and family historians, we are mindful of recording our own history, yet so often it doesn’t happen, and sits in the “I must do that” list.

So this “When I Was Young” geneameme has been created to allow you to record at least some of your childhood memories.This series of 25 questions will take you back to your childhood as it asks questions about the games you played, what school was like, what heirlooms you have from your childhood, what books or stories you remember from back then … and a whole heap more.

So if you’d like to record a little of your own childhood history, feel free to take part in my “When I Was Young” geneameme.

  1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)
  2. Do you know if you were named after anyone?
  3. And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?
  4. What is your earliest memory?
  5. Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?
  6. When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be?
  7. Did you have a favourite teacher at school?
  8. How did you get to school?
  9. What games did playtime involve?
  10. Did you have a cubby house?
  11. What was something you remember from an early family holiday?
  12. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthday’s or Christmas?
  13. What childhood injuries do you remember?
  14. What was your first pet?
  15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”
  16. What was entertainment when you were young?
  17. Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?)
  18. Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? And how many channels did you get?
  19. Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it?
  20. Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (, flood, cyclone, earthquake etc)
  21. Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?
  22. What is something that an older family member taught you to do?
  23. What are brands that you remember from when you were a kid?
  24. Did you used to collect anything? (ie. rocks, shells, stickers … etc.)
  25. Share your favourite childhood memory.

33 Responses to “The “When I Was Young” Geneameme”

  1. We’re way overdue for a geneameme. I’ve a huge family weekend but will complete after Easter. Thanks for this Alona

    • Alona says:

      You thought that oo eh? The idea for post didn’t start out as a geneameme, but rather formulated itself into one. But I’m happy with it, and look forward to taking part in it myself. No hurry Ji, but I look forward to reading yours, and others responses.

  2. Thank you so much Alona. I love a geneameme and this topic is great. Will get to it tonight.

    • Alona says:

      Jennifer, thanks for your enthusiam, I love it. But I cannot believe how quickly you got yours done. That was mighty impressive.

  3. Helen Connor says:

    Thank you so much, Alona – having just lost my mother on St Patrick’s day I will treasure the memories that this geneameme will refresh – this is an after Easter one

    • Alona says:

      Recording our own memories is so very important (the older one of those more recent) – but sometimes they get lost in our search for our ancestors. But writing a whole book of memories is hard, so this is just a little way to record some. Thanks for joining in Helen. I’m sure you have some beautiful memories to share.

  4. Pauleen says:

    Great idea Alona…one for a quiet day in the coming week. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • Alona says:

      Thanks Pauleen … I look forward to reading yours (and everyone’s responses). It should be really interesting reading.

  5. Crissouli says:

    Hi Alona, now we will have to dig deep… I will get to it as soon as I can.. thanks for the suggestion.

    • Alona says:

      There’s no time frame on this at all – but whenever you want to get around to doing it – the basis of it is there for you 😉

  6. Alex says:

    Oh Lord! I’m in – housework shmousework. I love a good meme. Thanks Alona!

    • Alona says:

      Hehee Alex, you sound like me … housework or blogging … ppffhhfftt you know what wins out 95% of the time!!

  7. Jannah Meredith says:

    I’m doing the questions while having coffee and then lunch at Salamanca Markets. Great idea!

    • Alona says:

      Yay, that’s so cool Jannah. Are you doing it offline for yourself, or is it going on your blog? Just curious.

  8. Great idea. I will complete this today. 🙂

  9. Kristin says:

    Looks like a good one. I will have to wait until after the A-Z Challenge.

    • Alona says:

      Hi Kristin, I can totally understand the waiting till the A-Z Challenge is over … daily blogging is demanding. Let alone adding in another post that takes some thinking about into the mix. But I look forward to reading it when it’s done ;-).

  10. Sharon says:

    Thank you Alona. I enjoyed reminiscing!

    I look forward to reading some of the others during the week.

  11. Fran says:

    Alona, just catching up after visitors. Great idea. I will try to do this week. Fran

  12. Diane Hewson says:

    Love a geneameme, will have to put something together this week.

  13. Jana Last says:


    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  14. Sheri (Ownbey) McNary says:

    Hi Alona,
    This was good for me to answer but also motivated me to interview the last four of the generation before me (only one side of my family left darn it). I had to change the examples in number 17 for them though. Examples for them are more likely to be things like indoor plumbing, indoor electricity, ringer washing machine, crank party-line telephone, etc. It is almost hard to believe those things only came about as close as my parents generation is to me.). It also motivated me to think of what others questions I would like to know about them. Thank you so much for the motivation!!!

    • Alona says:

      Sheri … that’s so cool. I’m sure you’ve now got some great memories, that you otherwise would have never have heard about. I’m trying to get my mum and dad to do this. The problem is getting them to sit and just do it!! But I’ll keep persevering, as I know there will be stories I’ve never heard before.

  15. Carmel says:

    Hi Alona
    Just noticed your geneameme has now reached the Genealogy DoOver group on FB as Week 2 is self interview so some one posted the link as a starting point.

    • Alona says:

      Oh my gosh Carmel … are you kidding me? I’m really going to have to join the Do-Over group I think. Thanks for letting me know.

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