Since doing my family tree I have come across relatives who were part of history from World War One, World War Two and the Boer War. These ancestors of mine were living and breathing during these parts of history. They lived their life and played a part in those moments. History is not just played out in the major incidents and activities, but also in the mundane everyday activities.
This realisation only really caught my attention prominently when I was researching my maternal side of the family, specifically my third great grandparents Joseph and Ann. Both were born in the regency period of 1817 and 1818. Joseph and Ann got married in Buckinghamshire in 1838, after seeing the marriage certificate I learned quite a lot.
Joseph was a labourer in 1838 and his father was also a labourer. Ann was a lace maker in 1838 and her father was also a labourer. Now the year 1838 is important as it was the very start of the Victorian era, where most people worked the lands and did manual jobs like Ann being a lace maker which was at the time a job more than likely done by hand. Fast forward the year to 1851 and Ann is now not just a wife but a mother and stays at home. Whereas Joseph’s occupation is a clue to what is socially happening. Joseph is now a railway driver. As you can see a lot has changed with the introduction of the industrial revolution and the introduction of steam. With this occupation looking at census records they moved around a lot, in the areas of railways. This is just one example of social changes.
A lot socially can be said not just about an occupation whether someone is a miner, tailor or banker (which is quite a high end occupation). Location of where someone lives can speak volumes of the wealth of someone. An inner city area was seen as high in poverty in areas with rows of terrace houses, which did create a sense of community and close knit neighbours.
History is made in not just in catastrophe but in the everyday. The family home, a location of where you live and what job you had speaks volumes nowadays to who our ancestors were and the impact they made.