What Mattered to Our Ancestors?

posted in: Family History, Genealogy | 0

Last week, I shared strange inheritances we may receive.  But, how do we discover what mattered to our ancestors?

After all, they are long gone.  We can’t go back in time and ask them.

But there are a few ways to determine this information.

What was important to your ancestor? Many women used to make quilts and clothes.
  1. What has been handed down through generations? {A blanket, pipe, dress, tea set?}
  2. What stories or legends have been mentioned about this ancestor and their interest, habits, personality, etc.?
  3. Do pictures show a large collection with the ancestor or at their home?
  4. Read family diaries or letters to discover if a particular habit or action is mentioned on a regular basis.
  5. Are there unique or interesting hours mentioned in their will?
  6. What items are in the inventories of their estate? {this was a common practice until the early 20th Century}
  7. Items bought at other estate auctions. {I had an ancestor who returned to his home state and bought a number of his brother’s books in the estate auction.  This was important to my ancestor}

What interesting finds have you discovered about hobbies, collections or interest of your ancestors?

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