Metis hunting camp, late 1800s.
Family Farms |
The Task All Women Dread: Laundry
The Rise and Decline of the American Front Porch
How did teachers, farmers, store clerks, factory workers, police
officers, unemployed vagrants, and children live their lives? How and
where did they work? What was home life like? What did they do for fun?
How did they celebrate weddings and mourn their dead? What clubs did
they belong to? What art did they create? What part did music play in
Social history is an attempt to answer such questions. It is the history
of everyday life. Social history recognizes that history is not made
just by the powerful. Every person is an actor in history. What was the world like for people who were not
powerful or famous? What did they believe? Social history is a vast topic because it includes every aspect of
day-to-day life: recreation, work, foodways, social life, religious
practices, and more.
Students in White Sulphur Springs located a register for the Poor
Farm that was running in 1910. With this document, they were able to
find out what countries the people who were admitted to the farm came
from, what their family relations were, what health problems they tended
to have, and how old most of the residents were. They learned about the
poor bachelors who had come to this country looking for a way to
succeed but who ended up herding sheep at the end of the Milwaukee
Students in Libby traced the arguments about building power lines and
sidewalks, and the hopes that this logging town would someday become a
The history of everyday life can make family history research
especially rich. Once you know the names of family members, begin
discovering what life was like for them.