52 Questions in 52 Weeks: Writing about Your Life Has Never Been Easier

September 28, 2015  - by 

Few people would argue the value of creating a story about a life lived. In fact, it’s really quite a noble idea to create your life’s story. From it, your descendants will likely learn something valuable and endearing from things you experienced and will get to know you as an individual.

Many people believe that it takes a huge amount of time to write their history and feel that the task is just too big. Because of that, they never start. But sharing memories of your life does not have to be a big, involved effort. Imagine for a moment, how much easier the task of writing about your life might be if you were to focus on writing about just one topic each week. It doesn’t matter if you write a few paragraphs, a single page, or several pages. The important thing is that you write something. Anything is better than nothing at all.

Now imagine if someone provided you with one question to write about each week for 52 weeks. At the end of just one year you will have created your own life story to share with your children and your future posterity. You will never be forgotten because your own life story will exist. Add some pictures, and you can make it even more inviting to read.

Below are 52 questions. Each week for one year, take one question and write as much or as little as you want. Don’t worry about how much you write for each question, but do write something. Questions do not need to be answered in any special order. At the end of the list are a few extra questions in case there are some that don’t apply to your life.

When you are done, go to FamilySearch.org, and add your stories to your family tree. By adding your stories to your private branch of Family Tree, you ensure that they will be safe and secure for future generations. Your great-grandchildren will be able to find them and enjoy reading about your life and getting to know who you are.

Good luck, and enjoy your new writing adventure. Future generations will be glad that you took the time to write something about your life and that you left them with such a valuable legacy.

  1. What is your full name? Why did your parents give you that name?
  2. When and where were you born? Describe your home, your neighborhood, and the town you grew up in.
  3. Tell me about your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on). Share some memories you have of your father.
  4. Tell me about your mother (her name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on). Share some memories you have of your mother.
  5. What kind of work did your parents do (farmer, salesman, manager, seamstress, nurse, stay-at-home mom, professional, laborer, and so on)?
  6. Have any of your family members died? If so, what did they die from? What do you remember of their death, and what were the circumstances of their death?
  7. What kind of hardships or tragedies did your family experience while you were growing up?
  8. Are there any unusual genetic traits that run in your family line?
  9. What are the names of your brothers and sisters? Describe things that stand out in your mind about each of your siblings.
  10. What were some of the family traditions that you remember?
  11. Did your family have special ways of celebrating specific holidays?
  12. Share a few memories of your grandparents.
  13. Did your grandparents live close by? If so, how much were they involved in your life? If they lived far away did you ever travel to visit them? What was that like?
  14. Who were your aunts and uncles? Do you have any aunts or uncles who really stand out in your mind? Write something about them (names, personalities, events that you remember doing with them, and so on).
  15. Where did you go to school? What was school like for you?
  16. What were your favorite subjects in school? Why?
  17. What subjects did you like the least? Why?
  18. Who were some of your friends in school? What were they like? What are they doing today?
  19. If you went on to get a college or vocational education, what school did you go to? What did you study? What memories do you have of those years?
  20. What do you see as your strengths?
  21. What were some of the challenges you have had to deal with?
  22. What medical issues have you had to deal with throughout your life?
  23. Was religion an important part of your family life? If so, what religion did your family practice, and what did it mean to you? Is it still an important part of your life today? If religion was not a part of your life, why wasn’t it?
  24. What foods do you like? What foods do you dislike? Did you have any food or medical allergies?
  25. Were there two or three dishes your mother or father made that were especially memorable?
  26. How did you meet your spouse?
  27. How would you describe your spouse?
  28. What was your courtship like? Describe your marriage day.
  29. Share some stories about your spouse.
  30. How many children do you have? What are their names? Share a few memories about each one.
  31. What were some of the major community, national, and world events you lived through?
  32. How did these events change your life?
  33. What are some of your life philosophies or life views that you would share with others?
  34. What are some of the personal values that are very important to you? What have you done (and what are you doing now) to teach these values to your children?
  35. List at least five people who you would categorize as truly great men or women. What did they do to be great?
  36. List 20 or more things about yourself.
  37. List 20 things or more that you think the world would be so much better off without.
  38. List 20 interesting things you’ve experienced in your lifetime.
  39. If you could spend a day with any famous person in the world, who would it be, and what would you do during your day with him or her?
  40. What scares you?
  41. What makes you stop and go, “Wow!”?
  42. What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
  43. What kind of health challenges have you experienced?
  44. What advice would you pass on about raising children that you learned by raising your own children?
  45. What are some of your talents? How did you discover them? What have you done to cultivate and improve them? How have they affected your life?
  46. What did you do for a career? Why did you choose that career?
  47. What were some of the jobs you had throughout your life? What were some of the memorable experiences you had with these jobs?
  48. List five significant events or experiences in your life, and explain what effects they have had on you.
  49. What are some of the life lessons that you would like to pass on to your posterity?
  50. In how many places have you lived during your lifetime? Provide a brief description of each place you’ve lived, why you lived there, and why you moved.
  51. If you could go back in time and do things over again, what would you change?
  52. When all is said and done, what do you want to be remembered for? What would you like your legacy to be? What are you doing now to make that happen?

Extra Questions

  1. If a newspaper wanted to do a story about you, what would the story be about?
  2. If someone gave you $100 and told you that you had to give it away but you could NOT give it to your family, what would you do with it?
  3. Have you traveled to any place outside of your home country? What was the reason for the trip or trips and what memorable things happened on some of those trips?
  4. What were some of the popular fads you experienced during your life?
  5. How did you spend your summers?
  6. What were some of your more memorable vacations?
  7. How would you describe your personality?
  8. Describe your philosophy about money.
  9. Did you ever have pets? Tell about them.


Get started and stay on track with these helpful printables for each month of the year.

Answer one question per week as part of the #52stories project from FamilySearch.


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  1. I had a dream about something like this last night as a gift for my step father. I quickly was led to this today, & I am so thankful for! It was just what I was looking for. Thank you for making it free as well!

  2. I am a ward family history consultant. I am going to recommend this to the adults and teens in my ward as a Sunday or Family Home Evening activity for 2016.

    1. Barbara,
      I have used it in my ward with wonderful results. I post an initial announcement explaining what this is about. Then, each week I post 1 question from the list. From time to time I remind people to add each story to their Memories Tab on their FamilySearch page. I also added my phone number and email address so that members who wanted the entire list right away (some wanted to work on this faster than just 1 question a week) were able to contact for the entire list. It worked great.

  3. Just stumbled onto this article. My wife found it. We just interviewed my Mother-in-law during the evening and plan to use the answers as a family history entry for her.

  4. I decided to work on the 52 questions in 52 weeks. It’s a whole lot easier and less strees working on my own genealogy than trying to locate ancestors.

  5. I decided to work on the 52 questions in 52 weeks. It’s a whole lot easier and less stress working on my own genealogy than trying to locate ancestors.

  6. Thank you so much for this list. Although I write letters and email updates, I just haven’t known where to really being my own personal history, worrying about things left out, not enough emphasis on some things and too much on others. This will help me so much. I’m going to try to do one or more each week to reach a goal of giving this to our children for Christmas. With these I can ask my 96-year-old Mom a question each week and type them up for her & her posterity.

  7. I find this very useful. I would like to know how to go about getting permission to share this list of questions with a writing class I’ll be teaching