I’m sure you’ve heard of the game where you have to name things you’ve never done. Well it got me thinking what our ancestors had done that we haven’t. So I decided to put some thought into it.
If you think about it there must be hundreds of things our ancestors did that we haven’t.
Well for starters let’s look at all the different occupations our ancestors had. On my paternal grandmothers side I am descended from a long line of farmers. I’ve never been on a proper working farm. I have absolutely no idea what it takes to run or work a farm. I know they were arable farmers and I’m sure they probably had a few animals for their own needs but I’ve no idea how to harvest a crop or milk a cow. If I was deposited on a farm and told to run it I’d name all the animals and tuck them up in individual beds with blankets and probably put hats on them and I wouldn’t have the heart to dig up the crops as I wouldn’t want to hurt them (I hate pruning in the garden for this reason).
On the same front I am descended from several dressmakers and milliners. Now I could make an attempt at making clothes and them being wearable as long as the pattern was easy, but the ladies who made really fancy dresses I bow down to as I wouldn’t know where to start. And as for hats I wouldn’t have a clue.
The same is true of my ancestors who were farriers, harness makers, coal miner, publicans, dentists, organists, knife blade makers and so on. I’m sure I could learn to do these things but then are the skills of some of these dying out.
Now consider your ancestors who set off in to the wild blue yonder to make a new life for themselves. Can you imagine the courage that took to leave all your family behind and start afresh elsewhere? It would be one thing if it was in the same country, but if it was abroad. They would have known little about where they were going and what to expect. We Google everything just to go on holiday so there are no surprises. They couldn’t. They just took a leap of faith and left everyone and everything behind. I’ve lived in 2 houses my entire life and they were only 4 miles apart.
Where your ancestors shop keepers? Yes I know people run shops today but with the Tinternet (Yorkshire of Internet) it must be easier. A Victorian shop keeper would probably have had a much more difficult time, especially in poorer areas as they would have had to wait to be paid for purchases and what they did have to sell would not have been much or of good quality. They shops were probably like Arkwight’s in Open all Hours. They could only sell what they had locally so if it wasn’t available you couldn’t sell it.
But it could be much more basic things your ancestors did that you never have. Did they got to tea dances, know how to work a range stove, bath in a tub in front of the fire and family, own an animal, go to the music halls, hear the first radio broadcast, witness and survive a war or own a grand house in the country and host garden parties? All of these experiences your ancestors had that you haven’t show us how life has changed and add history to your genealogy. They are not aside information they are a vital as a birth certificate or a census record as they give us a true feel as to who are ancestors were.
I’m sure you can probably think of many more things your ancestors did that you haven’t. Why not have a think and see what you can come up with.
And just so you know, I have seen the original Star Wars many times as it was on ever Christmas and my family always watched it. I preferred the Return of the Jedi as the Ewoks were cute!
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!