By Shannon Combs Bennett, Student
Well I am in the home stretch with the Research: Social History course. I have learned a lot, once again, and have an interesting insight into some of the aspects of life for ancestors that I had not considered. These last three modules cover the economic, community, and government aspects of social history. However, it was the last module, entitled “Game Changers,” which caught my attention. The title alone peeked my curiosity.
This module focused on the 20th century and the aspects of it that concern social history. Which, means everything. The “game changers” were everywhere in the 20th century and are still occurring today. Automation, radio, TV, automobiles, airplanes, and so on dramatically and drastically changed our ancestor’s way of life. I thought I understood what that meant in the study of my ancestors. But I was wrong.
Particularly with the worldwide impact that our instructor taught. While I understand the United States aspects well from my days in school, I found it enlightening to see how they played into what was happening in other places around the world. For instance, the spread of the railroad was similar yet took very different courses in England and the US. As a descendant of Irish immigrants who worked on the railroad in the US it was interesting to read about.
Then there were the little inventions, like the portable camera. A little over 100 years ago Kodak created a smaller camera that allowed people to take their own pictures. It spread like wildfire. Now nearly everyone has a camera (especially if they have a cell phone). I sat and thought about how my recent ancestor’s way of documenting their lives changed. No pictures, to a few, then dozens, and now thousands of pictures a year. Just imagine how that changed the way they felt about each other then and the way they could now remember special events.
Well, off to take the final, wish me luck! See you online!