There’s a meme that floats around that purports to show your grandparents waiting to see “Star Wars.” The intention of the meme (I think) is meant to be funny as it shows a picture of people waiting in line to see a movie. I’m not certain it’s funny or not.

What I’m reasonably certain of is that none of my grandparents saw “Star Wars.” I’m 100% certain my grandfather who died in 1968 never saw it. And, based on what I know of my grandparents who were alive when “Star Wars” was in theaters, I’m reasonably certain they did not see it. My paternal grandmother never went to the movies (she did not drive). My maternal grandparents never mentioned going to see a movie that I can remember. I’ve never seen it either. I only have first hand knowledge of my “Star Wars” attendance.

But this post is not about “Star Wars,” movies, or having first hand knowledge of an event. It’s about making assumptions about something a relative would have done because it was popular or “everyone was doing it.”

Genealogists need to look for evidence that something happened. They should not just assume it. It is great to use pop culture and contemporary trends to get to know more about a time period or a location. Just do not assume your ancestor was doing something “because everyone else was.”




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