Observations from the Tree

Today I did more family tree stuff, inbetween cleaning the house and hitting Home Depot. In doing this, I’ve been seeing how our society has changed. Is it better now? I’ll leave that for you to decide. What have I seen?

  • At least it the families I looked it, which were mostly merchants, almost everyone had one or two servants. In some ways, it was a necessity, as families typically had 6-8 kids, popped out every year or two. Without the servants, mom would be exhausted (and the house would be a mess, as there were none of our modern conveniences). What I wonder is: how did folks pay for it? Were salaries that much more above living expenses back then?
  • Families were closer. I would often find multigenerational families living in the same house, or the brothers and sisters or cousins on the same census page, meaning probably in the same building or the same block. We don’t have that closeness now; we’re typically some form of a drive from our relatives, if not an airplane away. For some of us, that saves our sanity. But what does it do for knowing your family?
  • Immigrants were more accepted, at least European immigrants. I often see immigrants living together in close quarters, and you could see by their jobs how they worked hard to improve themselves. Has the immigrant attitude changed? Has our attitude changed towards immigrants? Is this a good thing? Has the source of the immigrants changed our attitudes? Why?
  • There were family names, names that keep appearing and reappearing in families. Perhaps this is a southern things, since I was looking in Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio. But I don’t see folks doing that as much today–now we invent names. What’s happened to the old names, the Hortenses, the Clementines, the Minnas, the Berthas, the Augustus? Is Shiloh a better name than the tried and true?

Well, those are my observations for now. I’ve got a headache from these devil winds, so I think I’ll so sit with my sweetie and watch some TV…