Genealogy: Strategy for field research #2—Learn about local history

Genealogy: Strategy for field research #2—Learn about local historyBy Barry J. Ewell

One of the most enjoyable aspects of taking a genealogy trip is learning about the history of the local area. Don’t become so focused on trying to find that long-lost record that you forget that your ancestors were people with dreams, opportunities, successes, frustrations, disappointments, bills, sicknesses, and death. They may have moved more than once or cleared the land to make a new home. They lived there, so why not spend time getting to know the area’s history?

Learn about the history of the area where your ancestors are from. What did they eat? Where would they have gone to church? Where is the mill they took their crops to? What sort of natural features did they encounter when farming the land? What is the city most famous for? The more you know, the more you can apprec¬ate just what your ancestors’ lives were like when you are there. If  you learn that lamb and potatoes were the primary staples or that blueberries were grown in the area since the 1600s, perhaps you will take the time to order the “local” dishes when you are in town. Who knows, you might even ask for the recipe.