I have researched my family history for many years now but recently decided to check out one particular line as I had some DNA matches and some possible cousins.Looking at one particular census entry for 1851 I found two young children, a boy aged 8 and a girl aged 7 both working in the brickyards. They and their parents and two or three other siblings lived in a small house with two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. There would probably only be a cold water tap and the toilet would be outside in the yard .I have always appreciated my ancestors and how they lived their lives, working hard and having little to live on. It makes me realise just how much we take for granted today.
It is the time of the year when we honour our ancestors and I honour all of mine including those who died young through hardship and those who lived long lives. They all are a part of me and gave me some attributes too.
But today we take so much for granted. We have food and clothes and many have cars, fancy phones and gadgets and holidays abroad. But what is the cost of all these things? I don’t mean in money but in how our environment is affected. It is well known that cars pollute the atmosphere as do many other things. The metals used in mobile phones are often rare and there is a limited supply within the earth. But we have become complacent and don’t seem to realise the effect on the planet that all this has. We are in the middle of a climate crisis but many seem to think that as it won’t happen in their lifetime it doesn’t matter. But what about the children and grandchildren and those yet to be born? What sort of world will they have?
I keep saying the same things over and over again. When will people learn that we can’t go on as we are, that we must change the way we work, think and live? We need to look at how we eat and what we eat. Do we really need food imported from across the world? Do we need new clothes every month? Do you really need a new phone or car? My ancestors survived on very little money and often only a little food but some of them lived to a very old age. There was no pension or health service and no pay when off sick but they survived and lived well.
On a final note, I still use Windows 7 on my computer. It still works so why change it? This applies to other things too. If it works, keep it and get it repaired when it goes wrong. Only buy new when it cannot be repaired. This applies to so many other things in our lives too. So think about the way you live, think how your ancestors managed without most of the things you have today. They survived and so can you.
(photo of my grandparents both born in 1890)