Ordinary people of the past – this is for you

On this day in history, billions of events occurred. Some of these turned out to be important in the grand scheme of things, but most were individually insignificant. For the people they happened to, however, they were literally life and death. History remembers them only within records, providing that records were kept and survived the ravages of time.

I want to remember some of these people that I never met and whom I know nothing about, other than the dates they were born, or baptised, or married, or sentenced, or died.

So I’m going to begin a series in which I will feature an event that happened ‘on this day’. I once had a free trial with Ancestry (the genealogy research website) and every so often they invite me to a free access weekend, when I can look at selected record sets. Last time this happened, I just browsed with very minimal keyword searches and I found information on lots of random people from the past. They’re not famous (unless they are and I haven’t realised it) but they left imprints of their lives in various official records. I’m going to tell you about at least one of these ordinary people every month. Data protection rules don’t apply to the deceased, but if by some wonderful chance I end up featuring your ancestor on my blog, I will of course remove the information if requested. I won’t be using images of actual documents, as these are copyrighted.

I look forward to introducing you to some people of the past.

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