Let’s Talk About: Websites for Social History

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Big thanks to the July/August 2022 issue of Family Tree Magazine for this information.

Why do we want to learn about social history? What has it to do with genealogy? It has everything to do with our family history! Genealogy is the facts. Social history gives the why-when-how of those facts.

When I learned that my great-grandmother took her 8-year-old daughter (my grandmother, Clara) upstream on the Mississippi River to visit family in St. Louis, I wanted to know more about the circumstances of that story. THAT’S social history. 

We’ve probably all used Google to find images of what life was like for our ancestors in any past time period or place. That’s well and good, but there are other website you might consider:

** Encyclopedia Britannica – yes! No more a groaning load of huge volumes on our living room shelves, but all online AND up to date!  (www.britannica.com)
** Food Timeline  (www.foodtimeline.org). What your ancestors ate, and how they fixed their food, tells you much about their daily lives.
**History Net (www.historynet.com). Search for U.S. history topics at this website from the California Gold Rush to D-Day.
**Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930… really long website address:library.harvard.edu/collections/immigration-united-states-1789-1930This Harvard Library resource allows you to search among thousands of digitized books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts and photos to learn more about voluntary immigration to America.
**Library of Congress Digital Collections (www.loc/gov/collections). This site includes Chronicling America (the only US newspaper resource) and more. 

At the bottom of the article was this banner bit:  “Read Shelley K. Bishop’s list of free social history website, categorized by subject at www.familytreemagazine.com/history/top-social-history-websitesThere is ALWAYS more to learn about the lives and times of our ancestors. 

Civil War Images: Newly Found & Posted Online

Did you catch the article in your newspaper the other day titled “Library of Congress buys trove of Civil War images?”

This story told how “a Houston housewife who has quietly collected rare Civil War images for 50 years has sold more than 500 early photographs to the Library of Congress. The library announced the acquisition and is placing the first 77 images online.”

To me the cool thing about this is that they are almost all stereo-pictures, like the gizmo we used as children, the View Master.

Most of the images were taken by Confederate photographers and many are never-seen-before images.

Robin Stanford, the Houston grandmother who collected these images for over four decades, said the images are like ghosts form the past that reflect part of American history.

I cannot wait to click to the Library of Congress and take a look-see at some of these photos!