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When one performs research for ancestors and the lives they lived in the past, it is worth consideration to include historical events and matters as they stood at a particular point in time. I will offer a few examples from my own efforts only to suggest a train of thought.

My father joined the Army in 1915 in anticipation of the first World War. In 1916 Poncho Villa attacked the New Mexico town of Columbus where at least 15 American soldiers were killed by some 500 Mexican troops. President Woodrow Wilson ordered General Pershing to take 14,000 Army troops and an additional 140,000 National Guard to guard that border, and at the same time gain experience under wartime conditions for the battle to come in France and Germany. The troops had to be on constant alert as border raids were still an occasional nuisance. This action was called The Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916-1917.

Pershing’s experience during the Punitive Expedition made him the obvious choice as commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Many of the same men who served with Pershing in Mexico accompanied him to France.

I included this event in my family database Notes because my father was a participant, few of today’s young or middle-aged study or even know of this effort and it was the first part of my father’s life under General Pershing which life continued in Europe.

Other examples of items included in the Notes:

My father: By means of the wonderful long distance telephone, people in Madisonville can now talk with people at Hopkinsville, Nashville, Henderson, Evansville and intermediate points, and the conversation can be as distinctly understood as if the persons conversing were within a few feet of one another. The route will be extended to Louisville in the spring. [4 Jan 1895 Hustler]  His birth year was thusly celebrated.

An uncle: The given name Leonidas may well come from the family’s reading of the classics, wherein Leonidas of Rhodes was an Olympian runner who won all three races for four consecutive Olympics starting in 164 B.C.

A town description and history: In those days the railroad tracks above the Ohio River were 4’9” while those below were 5’ wide. Through cars were hoisted to have their wheels changed at Henderson.

Such items I included in the family histories along with pictures, graphics and in-line boxed text in order to make the stories more interesting and keep the readers’ attention.



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One Response to “Include Historical Notes in Your Family History”

  1. Nancy says:

    I appreciate this post and its suggestions. I think for a barely-interested reader of family history/genealogy (as in the case of hoping family will find what I write interesting enough to read) this is a really great idea! Thanks so much for sharing how you’ve done it.
    Nancy from My Ancestors and Me at http://www.nancysfamilyhistoryblog.blogspot.com

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