Via History

I love exploring history, in all its facets.  If you do too - hello!

What do you love about history?

I love the fact that history helps me to understand the present better.  It helps me to understand trends, statistics, fashions and prejudices.  It therefore helps me to plan for the future.  It sometimes even provides me with the tools with which to develop foresight.

I love the fact that I can accurately compare the achievements of the past with those of the present.

I can compare the injustices of the past with those of the present.

I can see the world through the perspective of time.

Unfortunately, predicting the future is beyond my abilities at present, but I would not want to be a Cassandra.

Of course, I only know a little bit about history at present.  I often forget much of what I discover, too. 

Having a poor memory is why I have created four blogs.  I have to write everything down somewhere.

One of my main interests is art history.  Just the beauty of what has been achieved, not just in the fine arts like paintings and music, but also architecture, the textile arts and decorative arts, provide a constant source of pleasure for me.  I wish I had the time to enjoy them more, and to read all the great literature of the past.  But my mind is often distracted.

I enjoy learning about the history of the culinary arts - and I attempt my own experimental reinterpretations of the meals of the past from time to time.  Usually the scale of my cooking is only for two people rather than a large gathering for grand banquets.

The history of ideas is something I love, too.  Myths, legends, beliefs about the origins of the world, and about life itself, are fascinating to compare. Philosophical opinions about morality, truth and reality are wonderful to explore, too, as long as they are written in a simple way I can understand!

I am grateful, in a way, that my family history reveals that none of my ancestors came from a world of privilege.  They were not excessively reckless or careless, either.  They were ordinary, modest, hardworking and, for the most part, honest and brave.  I hope they were also mostly happy.  It seems, from what I have gathered, that they were often cheerful, even in the face of adversity.

History has taught me that various current inequalities in the world usually derive from those of the past.  Such unfairness is often perpetuated in the present by people who either do not understand history or have enjoyed an excessively privileged, or selfish, life themselves.

Although I would never wish to destroy the best of the past - the beauty of its cultural and natural heritage - there are many aspects of history we can certainly use to improve the lives of people today.  Knowing our family histories in the broader context of social, cultural and political history can assist us to understand the present and shape the future.

Your family history research may have already taught you something about the ancestors still within you.  It may also have given you valuable insights into the world as you personally live in it today, with the historical inheritance passed on to you through your ancestors.

Here is a little more history about Ancestors Within:

Identity across the centuries

Discovering your ancestral history and heritage

Connect to your heritage

Understanding your ancestry, genealogy and heritage

Superstitions and traditions

Finding your ancestors where you are now

Lost relatives regained

Exciting new discoveries

My heritage, your heritage, our heritage

Treasure troves

Unlocking Australia's past

A genealogical look around

Just starting out with family history research

Ancestral scatterings

Family history delvings and unexpected destinations

Jobs and ancestors

Work, literacy, poverty and conscription

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I especially appreciate historical insights.