Detail your research findings of your family’s history.

Detail your research findings of your family’s history.

Detail your research findings of your family’s history.

This paper will follow an essay format in which you detail your research findings of your family’s history. The minimum page requirement for this project is 4 pages and must be written in an essay format consisting of an Introduction, Thesis, Body Paragraphs, and a Conclusion. The paper must not have extra spacing to stretch the content of the paper to its minimum page requirement. 

This family history interview paper is intended to engage students in exploring their family’s history and make connections between the experiences of your family and the broader context of Mexico and United States history. if you are using outside sources for your paper, aside from the person being interviewed, then you will need to cite those sources using Chicago Style formatting in a bibliography and footnote citations.

For examples of Chicago Style formatting of bibliography and footnote, citations see Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Your paper will need to be typed, have 1-inch margins all around, be double-spaced, be 12-point font and have a Times New Roman font. Please note that on average students lose about 10-20 points in this paper because they do not pay attention to these requirements.

Family History Interview Questions

Please note that the questions outlined below are guides for your interview, you are free to choose what questions to ask and what questions not to ask your relative as part of the interview sessions. 

I. Early Childhood and Family Background

A. Parents and Family

  •  My dad is from Brazil while my mom was a refugee from Azerbaijan and she left before the fall of the soviet union and before the Karabakh- Artsakh war that destroyed my mother’s home.  They both know what it’s like to work twice as hard for what you want in this country. They both suffered and sacrificed a lot while having to make the move to the United States. I’m always constantly reminded by my mother and father how lucky we are to get things for school, to come home to a warm meal, to have our own rooms. Understanding my parent’s story, my dad grew up in a very poor favela in Sao Paulo where he would share a room with seven sisters and for most of his life, he did not have an actual mattress to sleep on until he was about 19 or 20 years old when he was in college in Los Angeles.  My mom grew up in a small village near the Armenian border of Artsakh, meaning for most of her life it was a normal occurrence to see Armenian forces harass her family and their cattle without reason. Her family began to live in fear when they had learned that her uncle and children were massacred in Kholjay, one of the largest massacres during the war. This became the biggest reason for her and her siblings to leave the country immediately. Her parents took about another 5 years to join them in Los Angeles. It was also an interesting thing to come to LA because there is also a large Armenian community and my mother only knowing war from the Armenians, later befriended the community despite the war, she was received warmly and she was educated about the conflict and many of them remain family friends of ours. I was born in California. I spent some time of my life in Brazil for about five years with my grandparents. There, I lived with my older brother but we were also somewhat close to our half-sister and step-sister from my father’s previous marriage. Growing up in California, it was somewhat odd to have parents from two different religions because I could never figure out where I would fit in. I had a Muslim mother and a Catholic father and whenever people learned that about me they always made me feel like “well, how did that happen?” as if I wasn’t meant to exist (LOL) but that was when I was young and I embrace the two different cultures and religions greatly.  In my city in Orange County, Cypress, we have all churches for all religions such as a mosque, synagogue so as I grew older I felt less embarrassed especially because most of my friends were from different religious and ethnic groups but most of them had immigrant parents so we could all relate to each other in some ways. I grew up celebrating Christmas and Ramadan, during their respective times with both sides of my family.

B. Community You Grew Up In

  • Describe the community you grew up in. 
  • Describe your neighborhood.
  • Where did you shop? How far away were these shops and how did you get there?
  • What’s the largest town or city you remember visiting when you were young? Can you describe your impressions of it?

C. Early Schooling

  • What was school like for you? What did you like about it? What was hard about it for you?
  • Who were your friends at school?
  • Who were your favorite teachers?
  • Do you remember teasing or bullying of you or anyone else?

D. Friends and Interests

  • What did you do in your spare time?
  • Who were your friends and what did you do when you got together?
  • Did you have any hobbies?
  • Favorite stories? Favorite games or make-believe? Favorite toys?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?

II. Teenage Years

A. Changes in Family

  • How did your relationship with your parents change when you became a teenager?
  • If you had conflict with them, what was it over?
  • Did you have chores around the house? What were they?

B. School

  • What were your favorite subjects? Particular interests?
  • What were your least favorite subjects?
  • Did you have any memorable teachers? How did they influence you?
  • What were the different groups at your school? Which did you belong to? How do you think you were perceived by others?
  • Were you involved in any extracurricular activities? What were they?
  • What were your plans when you finished school? Education? Work?
  • What did your parents think of your plans?
  • Did the boys and girls in the family have different plans/expectations?

C. Work

  • Did you have jobs during your teenage years? Doing what?
  • Did you contribute to the family income? If not, how did you spend your money?

D. Social Life and Outside Interests

  • Who were your friends? What did you do together?
  • Was your group of friends single-sex, or did it include both boys and girls?
  • At what age did you begin dating? What kinds of activities did you do on dates? Describe your first date.
  • What were your peer group’s norms with regard to dating and relationships with the opposite sex?
  • What were your hobbies/interests? What books did you read? What music did you listen to? What sports did you play? What crafts did you participate in?

III. Adulthood

A. Marriage or Formation of Significant Relationships

  • When and where did you meet? What drew you to him/her? My parents met while they were at UCI studying at the library one day. My mom was not interested but my dad was constantly trying to win her over. They did not move in until they were married since in Islamic/Azerbaijani and Brazilia culture you stay with your family until you’re married. They had two types of weddings, a Catholic and Muslim ceremony respectively. My dad paid what’s called a “Mehr” for my mother since in Islam, that’s typically a common practice but it’s always been a women’s respective right. There wasn’t anything difficult with them being together in their families because in Brazil, everyone is diverse anyways and they were living in California in the 90s there was nothing wrong with dating outside of their culture
  • When and how did you decide to move in together and/or marry?
  • What was originally the most difficult for you about being married/being in a relationship? What was most satisfying?

B. Children

  • Describe the birth of your children. Growing up they were all rowdy and wild. I let them explore all sorts of interests and allowed them to be curious about their surroundings. “I was really happy when my youngest child. Elaine was grabbing things with her left hand as a baby such as her toys, crayons, her bottler. In our respective countries, being left-handed was basically meant that you were dumb so you had to switch once you entered school. That occurred to all of my siblings. In secret, I would practice both hands but culturally, it wasn’t something I thought too much about, one of the cool things is that my kid would not have to worry about any of that stuff.” from dad 
  • What were they each like when they were young? How have they changed or not changed?
  • What were their relationships with each other and with you like when they were young? Now?
  • What activities did the family do together?
  • What family traditions did you try to establish?
  • Does your family have any heirlooms or objects of sentimental value? What is their origin, and how have they been passed down?
  • What was most satisfying to you about raising children? What was most difficult?
  • What values did you try to raise your children with? How did you go about doing that?
  • What forms of discipline did you use and why?

IV. Ongoing interests and hobbies

A. Overview and Evaluation

  • What has provided you the greatest satisfaction in life?
  • How would you say the world has changed since you were young?

Also, ask about historically significant events the family member lived through:

Some of the scarier things came from my grandma’s side and from her perspective. She was open to sharing the things that had happened when she was younger during the Soviet occupation of Azerbaijan. She recalls that my great-grandmother would have to regularly hide in a small cupboard, behind the cupboard was a small wooden slide-door-like area for her to stay in. This was reguarly happening when she was a young child and the reason for that was because many soldiers during that time, could care less about a girls age but many of them would rape and later kill them so to protect her daughters she would hide them in different places in the house. As an American, most people fail to speak about how badly Central Asians/Caucasians were treated during the Soviet Union, and listening to her story was a reminder of that history. That’s just speaking on ethnic matters, it was a whole different situation for any religious group that was not Orthodox Christian.

There was a separate story of when I was a child about three years old and I was with my cousins and my aunt, who at that time was wearing a hijab, but also keep in mind this was around 2004 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although I was young I remember vividly while I was sitting in my stroller, this woman approached my aunt and was yelling all kinds of things at her and when she started to ignore her and walk away, the angry woman was pulling on her hijab until she eventually was able to completely reveal her hair. I recall this event as scary, and the other scary thing is that this was in a very public place and no one did anything to help her. I know she felt embarrassed and humiliated, it’s clear since she stopped wearing her hijab after that incident

Interviewed for essay 

Mom “Maryam Mammedova”

Dad “Joao de Jesus Mendoza”

Grandma ” Ayshan Mammedova”

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Detail your research findings of your family’s history.

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