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Add Context to Your Research for More of the Story

Add Context To Your Research for More of the Story  Find more genealogy blogs at FamilyTree.comWant to add some flavor to your genealogy research or your family history? One great way to do it is by adding some context to fill out what you already know about your ancestors. Doing so can reveal insights that you may have overlooked the first time around.

Add Some History
Take the time to learn what was going on in the world when your ancestor was a child, when she got married, or when he joined the military. Doing so could give you some clues about what your ancestor’s experiences were like.

Did your ancestor join the military while a war was going on? Did he volunteer, or was he drafted? Was he planning on marrying his sweetheart after his term of service ended? The answers to these types of questions can be very interesting. You might discover there was more to the story than you previously realized.

What’s On the Menu?
One great way to add some flavor to your genealogy research is to figure out what kinds of foods your ancestors ate. Immigrants to America may have continued to eat the kinds of foods that they were used to from “the old country”. You might be able to find recipes for those foods so that your family can try some of them.

Was your ancestor alive during the Great Depression? Food was very scarce. Do some research to learn what might have been available for your ancestor to eat. Learn the techniques that your female ancestors used to stretch limited amounts of food so that the whole family would have something to eat.

During the 1950’s, it was common for families to sit down together for a somewhat formal family dinner every evening. What kinds of food did they eat? Compare what dinner time was like for your ancestor to what it is like for your family today.

Include some Maps
Have you ever been told that an ancestor, or older relative, “walked to school uphill both ways”? It might be interesting to seek out an old map of where that ancestor lived as a child. Most people who use that old phrase are exaggerating for dramatic effect. That being said, your ancestor might be the one who really had to do that impossible sounding feat!

Old maps can also show you how close (in proximity) your ancestor was to the location of a significant historical event. Those who lived near the location of a tragedy might have been shaped by what happened. This discovery could put some of your ancestor’s decisions into context.

Image by Pattie on Flickr.

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* 200 Years of Immigration to the U.S.

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