April 19, 2014 |
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This may not be of much interest to young people, but for myself I have gotten a much larger appreciation for history by doing genealogy. I did just fine in school as it was just a matter of regurgitating on a test what the teacher said. However, history really become alive and personal to me until I realized that my ancestors actually lived through it.
1) I have an ancestor who was wiped out in the economic panic of 1857. My history classes had never discussed this event. This in many ways was the first global depression. One of the side affects was that the south was hardly hurt by it which gave them a false feeling of confidence that the north was dependent on THEM.
2) People have thrown out a number like 618,000 or so Americans casualties during the civil war. ( Which by the way some are trying to raise to 750,000: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/science/civil-war-toll-up-by-20-percent-in-new-estimate.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )
That number really didn't really sink in until I looked at my own family tree and other's family trees and realized families who had wounded as well as casualties. The following URL has the deaths during the Civil War as almost 2% of the entire population. For comparison, WWII had fewer total deaths and was only .3% of the population:
3) I knew of the War of 1812. We all hear about Francis Scott Key seeing the flag still standing at Ft McHenry and thus inspired to write the "Star Spangled Banner" -- actually back then called the "Battle of Fort McHenry". Many also may know that the last battle was the Battle of New Orleans with Andrew Jackson. I found out that I had ancestors in Ohio who were involved with the War of 1812. Though Britain had given that area of the Great Lakes to the United states, they were hoping for a buffer Indian territory between the US and Canada.
Perhaps had I taken more elective history classes, some of these things would have been covered in more detail. For the typical history classes, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War are important. A lot of the details inbetween such as the War if 1812 are only touched upon. Doing genealogy and thus discovering ancestors who had been part of this history made me talk to people and investigate for myself some of the things that transpired. If young people could feel that history was more relevant to them (such as via family connections), then perhaps there would be more interest to discover for themselves, and not just get spoon-fed bits and pieces by their teachers.
Well, OK, I understand that this is not an advertisement, but how about some contact information ???? The editorial did it's job and I am interested in more information, particularly about the Civil War one, but there is no information.
Oh, I know I can find it as Google is my friend, but if you are going to write about this to spur interest, you should provide a link also. (Just my thoughts.)
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