A genealogist's goal is to place our ancestors in the circumstances that surrounded — and sometimes overtook them — and to examine how those events may have affected their decisions and life choices. However, our ancestors did not live in a vacuum isolated from calamities and world events.
We remember to add details of how war affected their lives — but do we remember that they were also subject to natural disasters, freaks of weather, epidemics, lack of medical or scientific knowledge and sanitation?
Economic downturns and crop failures added to their list of woes. These and other reasons may have caused them to pick up the shards of their shattered lives and move to a place that might offer a better chance of success for their children.
One such event, the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, changed the course of the Mississippi River and altered lives forever.
This event and other disasters, both natural and man-made, have altered ancestors' lives through the decades and sometimes changed the locations where we now live.
Billie Stone Fogarty will present “The Great Madrid Earthquake and Other Calamities that Shook our Ancestors” at the Oklahoma Genealogical Society meeting 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr.
For more information, go to the Oklahoma Genealogical Society webpage at www.okgensoc.org or call 637-1907.
If you have a question, event, idea or an experience you wish to share, email Sharon Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org.