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Social History & Family History

What is social history and how can it help me with my family history? Social history is the study of ordinary people like your ancestors, a look at their daily lives, experiences and beliefs. By deeply studying the historical evidence of a few we can better understand the whole. Now the “few” I am referring to are not the rich and famous, but they are the ordinary and common. Many of us would like to write the story our ancestors yet we are left without journals and photographs that could help us tell their stories. Social history can help us reconstruct many aspects of our ancestors lives.

Last year I bought a book I just love on this topic of social history. It was written by an American Social Historian. I have found the book to be very informative covering many aspects of American live. The author discusses topics such as: clothing, books, death, photographs, culture and much more. At the conclusion of each chapter is a bibliography of books which can be used to find out more specific information on aspects of everyday life. For example she includes books on outhouses, barber shops, toys and household items. Each of these books could help us understand and write a more complete and interesting story about our ancestors.

Katherine Scott Sturvant. Bringing Your Family History To Life Through Social History. Cincinnanti, Ohio: Betterway Books, 2000.


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