Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A to Z Challenge - W



The Blogging from A to Z Challenge is to post everyday (except Sunday) in the month of April 2016 starting with the letter A and going all the way to Z. The theme I chose is Genealogy Tips. At the end I will give a related post from my blog Genealogy: Beyond the BMD.





W is for Weather


You can find what the weather was on certain days from newspapers, journals and almanacs. Knowing what the weather was on certain days can add life to your stories. Many historical disasters were caused by weather.

Imagine you are in the year 1663.  You have come far from your home and everything you know on a great adventure to New France. You are now a husband and wife, maybe a couple of kids, and you have a nice little spread in Kébec. Life is good. It is Monday the 5th of February, around 5:30 in the evening. The deepest winter chills are starting to ease off now. The two cows were milked by husband just as it started to get dark about a half hour ago, while wife got the kids washed up for the dinner that cast its appetizing aroma around the cabin as it was simmering on the wood stove. Now you are all sitting around the beautifully handcrafted pine table, made from the wood cut down when the land was cleared to build the house and plant the fields.  All of a sudden the dishes start violently rattling, the house is creaking and moaning and shaking….. WTH? Your little family runs outside only to behold something they have never seen or experienced in their life!  Something that could only have been sent by the hand of God to punish you for some forgotten slight!!






Your little family was experiencing the high magnitude Charlevoix Earthquake of 1663, which was felt through all of eastern Canada and New England (note the US was using a different calendar at that time). Click here to read how it was told by the Jesuits in New France.

Having lived in Quebec I know that it gets dark a little later in February.  I googled "sunset february 5 1663 montreal" and it gave me the time, which is about right for that time of year.  Except there was no daylight savings in 1663. Oh well. 




According to the Quebec Almanac of 1795 that is pretty close.





Did your ancestors live through a disaster?



Related Posts:  Le Trois Fait le Mois (weather folk lore and almanacs)

Other Reading:  Jan Kozak Collection:  Historical Earthquakes

9 comments:

  1. Excellent post! Thank you for the reminder to add weather to family history narrative. I used to research this at one time, but have let it slide. Time to add it back onto my genealogy research checklist!
    Molly http://mollyscanopy.com/

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  2. I did enjoy reading your imaginative approach to writing about weather.

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  3. Mine had some floods, but that's all I'm aware of.

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  4. This is a really interesting topic. I just may do a little research on the weather for my ancestors.

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    1. It doesn't have to be a disaster either... I included the weather in writing about a great uncle that left the doctors office and dropped dead on the sidewalk, as well as another ancestor walking to the patent office to register his invention.

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  5. Enjoyed your post as usual as it was an unusual way of including the weather.

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    1. I read once that Canadians and Brits talk more about the weather than any other country. LoL

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  6. I've used weather to see whether ancestors had a sunny day for their wedding or what it was dong to their crops etc.

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    1. Ooooh crops! Of course, and I never thought of that. I'll have to check.

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Thank you for stopping by. Your comments are welcome!