Genealogy and the Little Ice Age

Wayne Shepheard
Sep 6, 2018
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6m 14s
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Medieval Warm Period
5m 01s
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Little Ice Age
10m 58s
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Periods of Famine
5m 04s
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Disease & Epidemics
2m 29s
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Major Storms
6m 48s
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Church Records
6m 06s
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Info for Genealogy
7m 21s

About this webinar

As genealogists we seek information about our ancestors from as far back in time as possible. That being said, not all researchers may be familiar with the term, but some of the most important records we find were created during the time of the Little Ice Age.
The Little Ice Age was a climatic period that lasted from about AD 1300 to 1850, a time in history when, from a physical or environmental standpoint, in comparison to the warm periods that preceded and followed it, was characterized by:
  • substantially cooler temperatures around the globe
  • mostly unstable weather
  • more frequent and intense storms
  • especially challenging food production
  • harsh living conditions

All of these factors had enormous impact on the lives and livelihoods of people and contributed to famine, spread of disease, social unrest, injury to being and habitat, and, in some cases, migration.

Summarizing of vital data began in earnest during this time. Apart from purely religious reasons or to establish hereditary claims, it may have been instituted in response to the need for more accurate rolls for churches and governments in identifying individuals from whom they could raise funds to support expanded social programs – parish relief efforts, poor laws and workhouses – involving the care of their citizens, more of whom fell into dire straits as the Little Ice Age progressed.

Because the Little Ice Age is the time frame that most coincides with genealogical research, it is important to understand the physical conditions under which people lived in order to assemble the most complete histories of families.

This presentation will hopefully bring perspective to the study of the generations of families who lived through the time of the Little Ice Age.

This was presented as part of the Unlock the Past – Seattle seminar on September 6, 2018.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Wayne Shepheard has pursued family history research for several decades, on his own behalf and for others, exploring families in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. He is active in expanding his interest in and writing about natural phen
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  1. AA
    Amy Andre
    2 years ago

    This is one of those webinars that everyone should watch whether you are a newbie or experienced family researcher. While you may have learned about bits (or even all) of these climatic events before, this a superb compilation and summary. It is also visually pleasing while delivering “the bad news” about the effects of climatic changes on the human population. Really well done. Thank you!

  2. SP
    Susan P Bracken
    3 years ago

    Where can I get your book ? What is th price ? Does it contain the maps that were in your lecture ?


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