We are often encouraged by genealogy speakers and authors who give us guidance in research, to learn more about the historical times in which our ancestors lived. The purpose of this, of course, is to get a fuller understanding of the their lives: the social, historical, and political issues that impacted them.
At the PGS General Meeting this past Saturday our friend George Morgan gave us a presentation on the "Push and Pull of Immigration." He examined those factors that "pushed" people away from their home land as well as factors that "pulled" them to our shores. Understanding the broad context of social, historical, and political issues was certainly part of his presentation.
The Familyhistory101.com website gives us a perspective of some major health issues that may also contribute to the contextual understanding or our ancestor's challenges. It is a table of worldwide epidemics. As we search for cause of death for our ancestors, it can be revealing to find they had fallen prey to wide-spread events that others across the country and perhaps even across the world were also dealing with.
You can see the list at: http://www.familyhistory101.com/encyclopedia/epidemics.html