Researching our ancestors with the belief that they did not make mistakes often leads us on wild goose chases in our research. Understand that people all made decisions that effected their lives both in the time period, but also for generations to come. Discovering and understanding these decisions helps us in getting more insight into our ancestors lives.
One of the first major events in a persons life is getting married. Looking at the area they lived in and understanding why they married is important in understanding your family. Where did they meet? What were some of the reasons they did get married? Did they live close? Where did their paths cross? In my own research I had families that lived in the same area for hundreds of years. It was rural Ohio and the pool of marriage candidates was small. For this reason family lines crossed several times in multiple generations. They were neighbors. Attended the same schools and church. They lived and worked together in their community. It is fascinating to look at all the various families properties and where lived in comparison to each other throughout the years. Amazed at how many folks lived right next door.
Another event in a persons life would be their job. Where did they work and what did they do? Did they switch jobs a great deal? Did they sometimes not have a job? Were they located in a urban or rural setting? Do some research on their occupations. Understand the history in the nation at the time and what effected their job decisions. My family had a history of being farmers, but in the latter half of the 19th century things changed. The family moved to the city. Previously the family had a history of being millers. When they moved to the city they worked in quarries, electric car company and eventually a gas driven car company. They lived in a neighborhood of primarily blue collar workers. They attended church and public schools. My great grandfather married a city girl. Where they met I still do not know. One of the mysteries in my family history.
Pay attention to the events in our families lives. They made decisions both good and bad just like we do. What caused them to make the decisions they did? Does it offer clues to our family and genealogy history? What were the influences? My great grandfather made decisions in his life that still effect my family today.