You Are Not Living Your Grandparents' Lives

As you put together stories and points of interest about your ancestors, especially your grandparents and great grandparents, a good comparison to add were their daily life events that were very common for your ancestors to do that you today have no concept or experience in.

It does help future generations see how life has changed and some things remained the same.

First, you think your life today is centered around technology – the Internet, I-Phone, television, self-driving cars, and computers. For the most part, your ancestors’ lives centered on the existence and most of the time hard labor.

You shop online or in stores for your clothes, but your ancestors had to purchase the fabric, cut out from a pattern and then sew the garment.

Communication today is via phones and especially texting and emails. For your relatives writing letters was their method of communication. Even sending postcards with messages was very common. Do save any such letters or postcards, scan them also. 

People did not travel too far from home unless they were permanently moving. Those who resettled in the western states or to Florida in the late 1800s and into the 20th century were pioneers. But travel was difficult, horses, wagons, even boats. If any records can be located especially manifests for ship travel add that to the family history.

You are used to getting mail being delivered to your mailbox in front of your home. That practice didn’t even start until the 1860s and then only in specific areas. The small town of Stuart, Florida did not have mail delivery to their homes until the late 1940s. It was the citizens who did not want the change, they liked coming to the local post office to get the mail and meeting up with friends there to talk.

Also if you have seen in vintage hometown newspapers references to people who need to come to the local post office to pick up their mail that provides a clue they lived there at that time and maybe have now moved or not well.  

Soon to be a lost treasure are the family portraits done in a studio. With today’s digital smartphones and cameras, there are many photos of every individual but most are casual shots. Doing the formal, all dressed portraits is a lost art. The custom of wedding portraits does still remain, but for how long?

Trying to preserve your food use to be a major problem. Your ancestors rarely shopped to have food supplies for a full week. It was generally a daily activity, going to the market. With the use of ‘ice boxes’ with blocks of ice to keep the food fresh was invaluable to your relatives. It would take a while before refrigerators would become more commonplace, more like the 1950s.

Having a bathroom inside the home was also rare for years. You had an outhouse for the toilet facilities. There could be a bathtub filled by hand with buckets of water. Might even have had several family members use the same bath water.

Oh, how things have changed. This is just a partial list. Your ancestors’ ‘good old days’.

Photos: Sewing and making clothes from a pattern; 1890s letter writing; travel in 1890s with horse & buggy and formal family portrait in 1890s.

Related Blogs:

Shocking Things to Learn about your Ancestors

Smile for the Camera

Our Brave Ancestors

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