#52Ancestors Week 50 Witness to History

Welcome to Week 50 of my Genealogy challenge, from the wonderful Amy Johnson Crow, of writing something about your Ancestors for a whole year, #52Ancestors in 52 weeks. This week’s prompt is ‘Witness to History’.

This year, more than any other in our lifetimes, has given us a glimpse into History, we have all lived through a key moment in History, together. No year, in our lifetimes, has been like this and each of us have been affected differently, no two lives are the same.

So, stop and take a minute to reflect, people always say that they remember where they were when Kennedy was killed or Elvis died, or in more recent years, where they were on the day of the 9/11 attack. Each generation will have witnessed their own ‘moments of history’, the start and end of both World Wars, Man landing on the Moon, there are so many key moments in History.

Where were our Ancestors at some of these key moments in History? How were they affected? If you were alive yourself and lived through some of these major historical events, how did they affect you?

Just imagine as a small child, being evacuated away from everything that you know and everyone that you love, during WW2, how would that have affected you? Imagine sending three Sons away to War in WW1, and none of them return? Imagine giving Birth to 7 children and only one child surviving to adulthood.

These are the harsh realities of life, for some of our Ancestors and it’s impossible to know the devastating affect that these tragic circumstances would have had on their lives. We can only imagine. Records and certificates won’t tell these stories, only those that witnessed the events will know the true impact, but by studying the social and historical history of our Ancestors, alongside the Family History, we can get a fuller understanding of our Ancestors lives. Loss of employment, illness, separation, infidelity, death, all as relevant today as they were in our Ancestors lives.

So remember the importance of placing your Ancestor alongside the timeline of History and the relevance of the era in which they lived.

For me, my moment of ‘History’ came in 1969, when as a small boy, I witnessed Mans greatest ever achievement, when Neil Armstrong took those first steps onto the Moon. That day I was ‘Neil Armstrong’, I was living ‘my dream’, that day, I wanted to be an Astronaut, that day I wanted to be Neil Armstrong………….it’s important to have dreams.


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