Tracing Your Ancestors' Lives: A Guide to Social History for Family Historians

Tracing Your Ancestors' Lives: A Guide to Social History for Family Historians

by Barbara J Starmans


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Tracing Your Ancestors’ Lives is not a comprehensive study of social history but instead an exploration of the various aspects of social history of particular interest to the family historian. It has been written to help researchers to go beyond the names, dates and places in their pedigree back to the time when their ancestors lived. Through the research advice, resources and case studies in the book, researchers can learn about their ancestors, their families and the society they lived in and record their stories for generations to come. Each chapter highlights an important general area of study. Topics covered include the family and society; domestic life; birth life and death; work, wages and economy; community, religion and government. Barbara J. Starmans’s handbook encourages family historians to immerse themselves more deeply in their ancestors’ time and place. Her work will give researchers a fascinating insight into what their ancestors’ lives were like.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473879713
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 06/12/2017
Series: Tracing your Ancestors Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,176,786
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

For more than twenty-five years, Barbara J. Starmans, PLCGS has been researching her own family history and doing research for clients. She is an instructor at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada, and contributes regularly to such publications as Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, Family Tree Magazine and Discover Your Ancestors. Visit her online at, a longform story website featuring social history themed articles from across the centuries and around the world.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

What is Social History? 1

Social History and Genealogy 1

Resources 4

Sharing Your Family's Social History 20

Chapter 2 People, Family and Society 22

Demographics 24

Ethnicity, Immigration and Social Currents 30

Customs and Traditions 36

Alcohol and Drugs 44

Sexuality, Morality, Marriage and Divorce 49

Children and Childhood 56

Chapter 3 Domestic Affairs 63

Environment 64

Clothing and Fashion 69

Food and Cooking 72

House and Home 76

Housekeeping 81

Land and Property 87

Chapter 4 Birth, Life and Death 92

Birth 94

Health and Lifestyle 99

Medicine 105

Diseases and Epidemics 109

Mental Health 112

Mortality 116

Deaths and Burials 120

Chapter 5 Work, Wages and Economy 124

Economy 126

Occupations 129

Businesses and Employers 136

Social Welfare and Relief 141

Chapter 6 Community, Religion and Government 148

Community 152

Markets and Fairs 156

Education, Language and Literacy 159

Religion and Church 164

Persecution 168

Crime and Punishment 172

War, Revolution and Unrest 177

Conclusion 181

Bibliography of Resources 182

Index 197

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