I got to thinking the other day about what major national and world events happened in our ancestors lives? What did they experience? So I thought I’d have a look at the events that happened in the birth decades of my ancestors.
Well with my maternal grandparents the biggest even was WW1. Grandpa was only 4 months old when his dad went off to war and 4 of his family never came home again.
In the 1920’s John Logie Baird first demonstrated the TV. Can you imagine what a revolution that was? Admittedly most people didn’t get TV’s in their homes until the 1950’s or 1960’s but even so the technological revolution had begun.
Great Grandparents 1870’s/1880’s/1890’s/1900’s
So the 1870’s brought the prototype of the telephone curtsey of Alexander Graham Bell (and others). It wasn’t until the 20th century that they entered people’s homes but the fact that one day you would be able to phone family and friends and not have to rely on letter must have been longed for by our ancestors.
In the 1883 the world saw the major destruction when the volcano Krakatoa erupted. Now in the UK this meant little unless you had family living in the area but for those with Australian ancestors the explosion was heard in Perth, Western Australian. Thousands died as a result of the explosion and the ash clouds and the world’s weather did change for several years due to the ash clouds.
In the late 1890’s the novel War of the Worlds by HG Wells was first published. It gave a view of what would happen if aliens invaded earth. What a different novel for our ancestors to read.
Then in the 1900’s saw the death of Queen Victoria. She had reigned over the country for 63 years. How did our ancestors feel and did they worry how the country would change in the reign of her son King Edward VII the notorious playboy.
Great great Grandparents 1840’s/1850’s/1860’s
In 1842 an act was passed that very likely impacted on the lives of your ancestors, especially in coal mining areas. The Mines Act stated that no females could work underground at the coal face and also no children under 10 years old could work under ground. This act was passed after 26 boys and girls died in Silkstone, West Riding of Yorkshire after the mines ventilation shaft flooded. It did mean some families lost valuable income. It didn’t help the 3 10 year old boys and one 4 year old along with 36 men who died when the Garden Pit in Landshipping, Pembokeshire died when the mine flooded. The mine was owned by the local conservative MP whose party passed the act!
The big event of the 1850’s was the Crimean War. The Russians tried to move into the Ottoman Empires lands and war began. Britain sided with the Ottoman’s along with French amongst others. Much of the war took place in modern day Ukraine. The most famous battle for the British was the Battle of Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade when 278 men from a regiment of 700 were killed.
By the 1860’s our sea fairing ancestors got the Suez Canal in Egypt. This meant no longer would ships have to sail all the way round Africa to get to the Indies and Australia. They could sail through the Mediterranean and in to the Indian Ocean. This meant faster sailing times and tea getting to our tables much quicker.
Great great great Grandparents 1800’s/1810’s/1820’s/1830’s
So in 1801 the road locomotive took to the street of London for the first time. It was a steam engine one wheels that could carry 6 passengers and was called the Puffing Devil. It was developed by Richard Trevithick the Cornish inventor and engineer. Think a steam powered mini bus sort of.
Mines got safer in 1815 thanks to Sir Humphrey Davy. Just as a side I met him once. He gave a talk alongside Jonny Ball and Marie Curie at Hallam University (they may have been actors except Jonny Ball). Davy developed the miner’s lamp which stopped methane from the burning flame entering the atmosphere and thus stopped mine explosions. So safety increased, if they had the lamps and not just the candles which were causing the explosions.
In 1825 the Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened. It was the world’s first public railway. People travelled in open carriages. It paved the way for rolling the railway network out across country and thus meant our ancestors could travel more easily.
Now for genealogists the Marriage act of 1836 was a big thing. Before the act couples had to marry in either a Church of England church, a Synagogue or a Quaker Church. The act allowed people to marry by civil ceremonies meaning marriages could take place in all other religious chapels, such as Baptist and Methodist as well as Registry Offices which was great for those who the established church wouldn’t marry such as those who put the cart before the horse so to speak, hi ancestors! The Act also meant that from the 1st January 1837 marriage certificates were given and thus made the life of the genealogist so much easier.
So although these events may or may not have impacted directly on our ancestors they did affect the world they lived in and some made the lived of the descendent better.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my Family History Ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!