This is a guest post by George G. Morgan, president of Aha! Seminars, Inc., and an internationally-recognized genealogy lecturer. He is the prolific award-winning author of hundreds of articles for magazines, journals, newsletters, in genealogical publications, and at online sites internationally. His 12th book, the fourth edition "How to Do Everything: Genealogy," was released in 2015. He is also co-host of "The Genealogy Guys" podcast, the longest-running genealogical podcast, with thousands of listeners around the globe.
Placing your ancestors into geographical, historical, and social context is one of the most important means of understanding them better. Like you, your ancestors and their families did not live in a vacuum. They were attentive to the news and events of their times. Information they received influenced their opinions and attitudes and helped them make important decisions.
The announcement about a new tax was liable to cause them to worry about how they would make financial ends meet. News of political or religious unrest or about the approach of a foreign army might cause tremendous stress and fear. Economic downturns, drought, famine, and disease all meant potential disaster for the people. Such news could also cause your ancestors to make the crucial decision to migrate elsewhere or immigrate to another country.
No matter how much we learn about our ancestors as individuals, it's hard to picture what their lives were like back then. What were their struggles and challenges? What were their daily routines? Was life simpler for them?
A theatre troup in Del Tura, Florida compiled a list of what life was like 100 years ago. After viewing that list, it's amazing to think just how much has changed over time.
Everything changes over time, including relationships, memories and, of course, fashion. Clothing trends constantly evolve. Sometimes it's difficult for us to realize just how much styles have changed over the years, and over our own lifetimes.
In the past, we've written about photographing styles and fashion of times gone by.
Website Mode.com has taken a long hard look in the mirror and presented fashion styles for women over the past century in a two-minute video! It is fascinating, and can be watched over and over.
The video has over 6 million views, so take a look!
Which decade over the past century has had the most interesting styles?
Have you ever heard of progonoplexia?
Learning about one's roots was a huge part of Greek identity; being able to brag about ancestors and their past glories. The word was coined to describe the modern Greek people’s preoccupation with discovering their ancient past.
It's an obsession that has lasted over time.
Middle names. Some people have them; others don’t. The three-name structure we use today (given, middle and last name) began in the Middle Ages when Europeans wanted to give a child a saint’s name and a traditional family name, but middle name use goes back even further.
In ancient Rome, it was an honor given to important people to have multiple names. Later - in the 1700s - aristocrats began to give their children long names to indicate his or her place in society. For example, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.
Recently, many historical television series have become very popular. What is it about this genre that appeals to us? What draws us to them?
Perhaps it's about getting a glimpse of what life was like in times gone by. We feel more connected to our ancestors when we learn more about their lives and times. It's the same feeling that draws many of us to genealogy and family history research. The achievements and struggles faced by our ancestors serve as lessons for our own future. After all, history is known to repeat itself.
One such show is the British series, "Downton Abbey," which has swept a nation and also has become popular in other countries, as well. It is now into its fifth season.
"Downton Abbey" follows the Crawley family through major events in history, showing the effects on their lives. The series opened with news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, followed by the outbreak of the WWI, the Spanish influenza pandemic, and the Marconi scandal in the second season. It dealt with the interwar period and the formation of the Irish Free State in the third season, the Teapot Dome scandal in the fourth, and the general election of 1923 in the UK in the current season.
When we speak of war heroes, we generally refer to the brave men and women who fought and died for their country. Yet, many animals were on the frontlines with the soldiers. These heroic animals transported equipment, sent secret notes and informed of enemy movements.
Not all inventions have been successful. Here are some bizarre inventions that will make you wonder what their inventors were thinking!
1. A fold-up piano, designed for bedridden patients, Britain, 1935:
Have you thought about the skills your grandparents had, but that are no longer common today? Here are the top five skills:
1. The ability to write long, handwritten letters:
Do you still write letters by hand and send them by mail? Nowadays, most of us write emails and text messages, but not long, handwritten letters.
Join My Heritage's Chief Genealogist, Daniel Horowitz, in a free online webinar, who will provide tips to discover the missing gaps in your family history.
Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Time: 12-1pm EDT
Register free here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/362961911
Do you have questions you’d like answered? List them in the comments below, and we’ll ask them during the webinar.
Don’t miss this opportunity to take your family history research to the next level. Learn how to find those missing pieces and discover more about your ancestors.
We look forward to see you online!