The Hans Schmidt Family Association is collecting the life stories of individuals who descend from Hans Schmidt (1594-1680) by blood, marriage, or adoption. Getting started with telling your life story can feel a mammoth task, so we have boiled it down to our Core 30 Questions about your life. Answering these thirty simple questions will give your descendants, and historians hundreds of years from now, a rich outline of your life and who you were as an individual. Please consider joining our Life Stories Project by submitting your answers via our Google Form, which is linked below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

  • Question: What if I cannot type out all 30 answers in one sitting? Can I spread my typing out over multiple days?
    • Answer: The great thing about Google Forms is that it saves your answers for up to 30 days, so if you can only answer a few questions and then need to come back to the form later on, Google will save your progress and allow you to resume. Google’s Support site has more information on how their autosave feature works.
  • Question: What if I want to participate, but it is hard for me to type my answers? Can I write my answers on pen and paper, or speak my answers audibly?
    • Answer: If you would prefer to answer the questions by another means, we can mail you a paper packet that you can write your answers on, along with a pre-stamped return envelope so you can send your answer packet back to us. Or, we can even arrange to do a recorded telephone interview with you! Whatever makes the process easiest for you. Just contact us to make arrangements!
  • Question: Are there any personal risks to me by writing down and giving away information about myself?
    • Answer: Our Core 30 Questions do not collect or ask you about sensitive information (such as your Social Security number, what institution you bank with, your criminal history or medical data). We at the HSFA will proofread your answers before they ever become accessible to outside readers and researchers, and we will redact or embargo any such information that we feel may compromise your safety. See below for more information on embargo requests.
      Ultimately, participants are responsible for their own online safety. If, for instance, you commonly use “What was the name of your first pet” or “What was your high school mascot” as security questions on your online accounts, feel free to avoid divulging that information in your answers to our life story questionnaire. What constitutes sensitive personal information may differ from person to person. The US Department of Justice offers helpful information and resources on how to be safe while online.
  • Question: There might be some information in my answers that I don’t want people to read or hear right away. Can I give you my answers but ask you to not publicize them until a certain date or event?
    • Answer: Yes. We are happy to make “embargo” arrangements so that we preserve your answers privately and do not make them accessible to readers or researchers until a certain point in time–either a specific date, or after your death. Just contact us to make arrangements!
  • Question: Can I include photographs or other media along with my written/typed answers?
    • Answer: We would love to help you pair the text of your life story with other forms of media, whether it be photographs, video clips, audio clips, or otherwise. Just contact us to make arrangements!
  • Question: Who owns my answers? When I submit my answers to the HSFA/EveryPast, will you have copyright in them? Can I still use my answers and publish them by myself?
    • Answer: You are the legal owner of your answers and can access those answers and use them in any way you wish, even after you submit them to our Life Stories Project. At the beginning of our questionnaire form, we do ask you to sign an agreement that gives us royalty-free/restriction-free permission to transcribe, digitize, store, host, copy, publish, provide access to, and otherwise use the text that you submit us. However, we are only in effect licensing what ultimately remains your own intellectual property.
  • Question: The Life Stories Project introductory information says that my life story will be saved in the “EveryPast” system. I cannot figure out how to access the EveryPast system. How do I do that?
    • Answer: The EveryPast system is still under development, and it may be down occasionally for maintenance and construction over the course of the next few years. It will eventually be available online at If you did not keep a copy of your life story answers and you want to access our copy, please contact us so we can help!
  • Question: Your website says you are looking for life stories of those who descend from the Schmidt family patriarch by blood, marriage, or adoption. What if I connect to the family in other ways, such as through a step relationship, foster relationship, a committed (but non-married) partner relationship, informal adoption, or just a very close friend of the family? Or, what if I think I may be a descendant of Hans Schmidt but I am not for sure? Do you still want my story?
    • Answer: We would love to accept your life story, even if your connection is tentative, or even if you are not strictly part of the family through blood, marriage, or legal adoption. Please go ahead and contribute today!