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Research: Social History
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This introduction to social history will provide examples and resources of subject matter from many areas of interest to the social historian. Rather than being a comprehensive discussion of social history, the material is intended to inspire your research into the lives of your people and the times and places they lived in. Your ancestors, their families, and the society they lived in may be different from the examples given but only by researching the specifics of their lives, their communities, the world around them and the forces and influences that shaped their environment can you begin to know who they were.

Note: Assignments in this course will require the student to do social history research on the Internet and/or at a local library. How in-depth the research will be, depends on the student’s own personal interest on the subject.

One student’s experience:
To hear a student discussion regarding their experience with this course, please click here. (This is a large file and may take a minute or two to download.)


Course Content

Module 1
Introduction to Social History
Note about Web Addresses
Websites
 
Introduction
• Course Overview
 
Resources
• Understanding Current Events: Historic Newspapers
• Australia
• Canada
• Europe
• United Kingdom
• United States
• Understanding the Period: Historical Books
• Understanding Society: Magazines and Journals
• Historical Directories
• Research Papers, Reports and Statistics
• Contemporary letters and diaries
• Libraries, archives, museums and collections
• Maps, illustrations, photographs, paintings, film
• Interviewing and oral history
• Records and documents
 
How to Record and Share Social History
• Genealogy Software
• Blogging
• Online story sharing
• Self-publishing: Print on demand and eBook
• YouTube and Vimeo
 
Suggested Reading and Resources
 

Module 2
People, Family and Society
Websites
 
Demographics: Population, race and class
• Resources
• Case Study: Harris Family, 1851 Sheffield, Yorkshire
 
Sexuality and Morality
• Resources
• Case Study: William Bulmer, son of Ann Bulmer, Spinster, East Cowton, Yorkshire, 31 March 1850
 
Marriage and Divorce
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Children and Childhood
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Customs and Traditions
• Resources
• Case Study: Bond Family, 1850 Lancashire, England
 
Social Currents, Ethnicity and Prejudices
• Resources
• Case Study: Lawrence Family, 1870 Baltimore City, Maryland
 
Leisure, hobbies and games
• Resources
• Case Study: Bulmer Family, 1910 Toronto, Canada
 
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Australia and New Zealand
• Canada
• Europe
• United Kingdom
• United States
• Websites
 

Module 3
Domestic Life
Websites
Introduction to Domestic Life
 
Environment
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Clothing and Fashion
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Food and Cooking
• Resources
• Case Study
 
House and Home
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Housekeeping
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Land and Property
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Alcohol and Drugs
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Websites
 

Module 4
Birth, Life, and Death
Websites
 
Birth
• Resources
• Case Study: Autobiography of Mrs. Alice Thornton, of East Newton, Co. York
 
Health and Lifestyle
• Resources
• Case Study: Report of the Council of Hygiene and Public Health of the Citizens of New York
 
Healing: treatments, medicines, surgery
• Resources
• Case Study: History of Dental Care
 
Disease and epidemics
• Resources
• Case Study: A History of the Yellow Fever: The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, in Memphis
 
Mental health
• Resources
• Case Study: Nellie Bly, Ten Days in a Madhouse
 
Mortality: Death and Burials
• Resources
• Case Study: London mortality rolls 1657-1758
 
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Websites
 

Module 5
Work, Wages and Economy
Websites
 
Economy: Prices, Cost of Living and Salaries
• Resources
• Case Study: Lawrence Family, 1930 Washington State, United States
 
Occupations, working conditions and the labour movement
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Businesses and employers
• Resourcesv
• Case Study: Ford Motor Company
 
Social Welfare
• Resources
• Case Study: Bond Family, London England, 1890
 
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Websites
 

Module 6
Community, Religion and Government
Websites
 
Community
• Resources
• Case Study
 
Fairs and Markets
• Resources
• Case Study: Toronto Industrial Exhibition
 
Celebrations and holidays
• Resources
• Case Study: The Christmas Tree
 
Education, language and literacy
• Resources
• Case Study: Corporal Punishment in English Education
 
Religion, church, faith and persecution
• Resources
• Case Study: Puritans in Rhode Island
 
Crime and punishment
• Resources
• Case Study: Arthur Sydney Williams, 1900
 
War, Revolution and Unrest
• Resources
• Case Study: 1773 Boston Tea Party
 
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Websites
 

Module 7
Game Changers
Websites
 
Emigration
• Resources
• Case Study: Scotland to Canada 1803
 
Inventions
• Resources
• Case Study: George Eastman and Kodak
 
Transportation
• Resources
• Case Study: The Wreck of the Sultana
 
Communication
• Resources
• Case Study: Spafford Family Tragedy & the 1873 Telegram, ‘Saved Alone’
 
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Websites
 
 

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