"If you're a grandparent, a family health history is a gift you can give to your grandchildren," says James O'Leary of the nonprofit Genetic Alliance.
* Start with your own health and that of your parents, children and siblings. Then add grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins from both sides of the family.
* Include a range of health conditions, from heart disease and cancer to arthritis and problems during pregnancies.
* Ask about the age when health problems arose or caused death.
* Ask follow-up questions, such as whether a heart attack was preceded by treatment for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
* Include lifestyle information, such as family eating and exercise habits, where people live and common occupations.
* Keep information updated.