Living History


For almost forty years, I’ve been chasing my ancestors around America. They’ve led me on a merry chase through hundreds of years of history. And maybe because I’m a history geek at heart, it’s never been enough for me to just find the names and dates of those who came before me. I knew there was more to the family history than researching through documents, books and an occasional visit to a graveyard.

No – I want to know more about how they lived, why they lived where they did and more about their lives and the times they lived in.

I expect that’s the best explanation I can give you as to why I’ve added living history as a complement to my passion for genealogy. “Living history” is a term often used by museums and historical venues to describe people who portray the persona or lifestyle of someone in past times.

To me, living history is not just an opportunity to dress up in period clothing but a way to bring history forward into the present so others can experience it in a unique way that helps them better understand the past.

Like these folks below from Wm. Booth, Draper – a provider of goods and gear for those who reenact colonial times. Imagine! They’ve created an entire business around living history.

kalamazoo living history fair Living History

I dipped my toes into living history last year when I started exploring the idea of pulling together a colonial outfit to wear occasionally to meetings of Ezra Parker Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution where I’m a member and to celebrate the 4th of July.

Here’s my colonial outfit thus far -

colonial shift Living History

Colonial shift or chemise.

colonial stockings Living History

Silk stockings.

colonial shoe Living History

My “Anna” shoes from Fugawee.com – a provider of period shoes.

colonial outfit Living History

My short gown and petticoat.

colonial linen cap Living History

Linen cap.

colonial straw hat Living History

Straw hat.

As I worked on my own colonial outfit, I learned about a chance to become a historical presenter at the The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s a museum and living history venue where they have a colonial farm from 1760 Connecticut. Like a bee to honey, I was drawn to Daggett Farm and as luck would have it, I’m now stationed there for the entire Greenfield Village season!

I’ll be sharing the stories and lifestyle of Samuel and Anna Daggett while, at the same time, living their history.

I’ve already started this great new journey. Here I am back in the 21st century after my first day at Daggett Farm.

karen at home Living History

Back in the 21st century, relaxing after spending the day at colonial Daggett Farm in Greenfield Village.

If you’re in the area, be sure and stop by the farm for a visit. If you come during late morning or mid-day, you’ll find us cooking and eating a meal like the Daggett family would have enjoyed in 1760.

But if you can’t join us, I’ll keep you posted on the comings and goings on the farm right here on Extreme Ancestry. See you soon.