Don’t Let Your Ancestor Be Eclipsed By Irrelevant Events

Historical timelines fitting your ancestor’s life into larger historical events are a good analytical tool.


One always has to give some thought to whether or not the historical event really had an impact on your ancestor’s life. Don’t just dump larger historical events into your ancestor’s personal chronology without thinking about whether or not the event likely had some impact on your relative. The impact does not have to have been immediate or direct, but there needs to be a logical connection.

Googling the date of an aunt’s wedding reminded me of this concept. Elisha Meads and Jemima DeMoss were married “at her father’s house” on 9 November 1817 in Harford County, Maryland. A Google search for that date indicated that there had been a solar eclipse on that same date.

Wow! I wondered how that impacted their view of whether the date was an auspicious one or not. I started conjuring up all sorts of drama at the wedding when the sun started to be hidden from view.

There was no need to wonder. The eclipse was not viewable from the United States.

Confirm connections. Don’t assume. And…get a map.

Some eclipse references:


One thought on “Don’t Let Your Ancestor Be Eclipsed By Irrelevant Events

  1. Great reminder!!! How often we forget that historical events that might seem relevant only occurred in a very specific area. I too love maps 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>