Questions to Ask … Questions to Answer

Many of us are finding we have more time to deal with things that we have not had time for before. We are spending more time at home, we are cooking more, we are renewing our love for crafts or reading, or we are finding ourselves in more conversations about life. Below are a few questions a child can interview their parents or grandparents or a neighbor over the phone or on Skype or Zoom or Facetime. Use this unexpected gift of time to make a deeper connection with the people in your life.

Questions to ask…..

  • Tell me about a time your family endured a hardship.
  • What was one of your favorite meals as a child?
  • Do you live through a time when food was scarce?
  • Did you know your great grandparents? What do you remember about them?
  • What is a story I should know about your parents?
  • What is something that happened during your childhood that I should know about?
  • What were your favorite activities as a child?
  • How did you help out in the family when you were a child?
  • Did your family have a garden?
  • What was something you loved to eat?


Questions to answer….

Below are some questions to ask of someone who had to leave Hungary and move to a new place, regardless of when they moved away. It is important that you ask these questions respectfully. Some people are not willing to share their story because it is still too painful. Others know that they are nearing the end of their life and they want to share their experiences. If you are the person who had to leave Hungary, think about your answers to the following questions. Share your story, read the stories of others. Write your story down or record it.

  • How old were you when you left Hungary?
  • What village or town did you come from in Hungary?
  • How long after you left Hungary did it take for you to reach your new country?
  • Have you ever returned to Hungary since you left? If so, what was it like to go back?
  • What was one of the things you missed about your life in Hungary?
  • Where you able to stay connected with your family in Hungary after you left?
  • Talk about a person who was very helpful to you as you settled into your “new” country after you left Hungary.
  • Do you have a funny story when you either misunderstood or were misunderstood when you were learning your new language?
  • What is one of the things that you were able to have or do in the country where you settled?
  • What is one thing you wish someone would have done for you or your family when you settled in your new country?
  • If you went back to Hungary, how many years after you left did you go? How were things different?

If you have other suggestions for questions, please send them to me at so we can grow this list as a resource.

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7 People have left comments on this post

» Amy Segaty said: { Nov 23, 2020 - 06:11:08 }

Zoltan was my dad’s cousin name. The week cousin Zoley passed away, I lost my German Shepherd, and had a chance to get another German Shepherd Pup and named him Zoltan ! He gets called Zoley alot

» Julie said: { Nov 23, 2020 - 07:11:27 }

Thank you so much for this information Liz. In my family, we have at least 6 generations of Borbala/Barbara. Both sides of my family have Magyar ancestry. My mother and father met in Western NY and there are many Hungarian communities there. I was also fortunate to have my great great grandmother alive until I was 6, and my great grandmother alive when my first son was born. I appreciate Magyar Living & Magyar Marketing to help me keep in touch with my Hungarian roots.

» Diane said: { Nov 24, 2020 - 08:11:43 }

I have Hungarian ancestry on both sides of my family my parents met in Welland Ontario Canada where there was a large Hungarian population The sir names in my family are Szabari and Margittay and we have Stephen and Alec (Sandor I think) and Julianna my great grandmother grandmother daughter and a cousins name I am so pleased that Magyar living / marketing exists it connects me to my Hungarian roots Thank you Liz and to your staff for all your efforts. Happy Thanksgiving …. where Tarhonya is always a side dish on our holiday table !

» Liz said: { Nov 24, 2020 - 09:11:33 }

Thanks, Diane! We appreciate your encouragement!

» Joan Colbert said: { Nov 24, 2020 - 09:11:06 }

My grandmother, Katalin Szabo, born in 1885, came to the U.S. alone at age 16. She used to write letters to her Hungarian family, but had six children in Pittsburgh, PA, and was not able to go back to visit.
Thankfully, my sister, her husband, my daughter and I went to Hungary in 2006. Eventually, our tour guide found Lazi, the town where my grandmother was born! We were able to take pictures in Lazi and enlarge them for my mother. Finally, two granddaughters and one great granddaughter went to Hungary! My mother passed later that year at age 90.

» Liz said: { Nov 24, 2020 - 09:11:11 }

Joan! How exciting! I am so glad you were able to visit and find the town!

» Liza Papai Dingman said: { Dec 3, 2020 - 10:12:55 }

My father came from Nyul Hungary. His name was Istvan. He came to the US in 1956 at the age of 16 with a couple of his friends. He passed away when he went back to visit his parents in Nyul in 1990. That was the first time he had seen his family since he came here. I was able to go to Hungary the following year and meet my Hungarian family. My grandparents Istvan and Olga. My uncles, Ferenc and Otto. My cousins, Eszter, Anita, and Nikolet. We stayed in Nyul and Budapest. Such a beautiful country. I enjoyed the Hungarian cooking challenge that you have. I miss the Hungarian food my father would make.