I interrupt the regularly scheduled programming, which was finishing the telling of my great-great-grandparents’ stories, to share a website I just came across that I think is just great for placing ancestors in context with the history going on around them:
Thank heavens for this find, because besides getting back from Europe three weeks ago and a brick wall in some research for my next blog, I have not had an opportunity to post and you may think I have dropped off the face of the Earth!
Back to the website. Did anyone ever give you a birthday card showing what was going on the day you were born? I was always fascinated by those when I was young. I loved receiving them and giving them to others. Without actually giving you my birth year, I will tell you bread was $0.28 a loaf when I was born, milk $1.40 a gallon, a car was $4, 950, a house $42,600, stamps $0.10 each, the average income $15, 546 per year, with minimum wage at $2.10 an hour, and gas was an astounding $0.57 a gallon. Amazing when gas has now reached $4.00 a gallon!
Here’s where I like the site for genealogy research. As an example, I plugged in the birthdate of my great-great-grandfather Henry Preston Hudnall, who I am currently researching for my next blog entry. He was born 2 February 1870 in West Virginia. I found this interesting information about the week he was born:
- Feb 3: 15th Ammendment for Black Suffrage passed
- Feb 5: 1st motion picture shown to theater audience in Philadelphia
- Feb 9: US Army establishes National Weather Service
- Snakes & Ladders was the “hot new toy” of 1870
An “advanced search” went beyond the week Henry was born and pulled up headlines for the entire month, which showed the YWCA was founded, Mississippi became the ninth state readmitted to the Union, Esther Morris was appointed the first female judge, Hiram Revels became the first African-American Congressman, and the first NYC subway line opened. Wow. Wow. And wow!
There’s no telling how much of this news reached his family or how quickly, but it’s interesting to see what type of world Henry was being born into and how it was changing. Prices were not available for this time period. I haven’t played around with the site enough to see what year they begin, but you can input dates as far back as 1800 to find out what the headlines were at the time. My grandparents’ birthdates in the 1920’s also brought up top music, books, and more.
Good luck on your search and have fun!