Ontario Ancestors Conference 2022 The Ontario Genealogical Society Virtual Conference 2022, June 24 – 26, Ottawa
The Ontario Genealogical Society Virtual Conference 2022, June 24 – 26, Ottawa

June 26 – 1:00 PM – Stream A – Natural Phenomena and Their Effects on the Lives of Our Ancestors

Summary 

The presentation offers perspective on how natural events and conditions of the physical environment controlled the lives and livelihoods of people in the past. 

Outline 

In almost any scenario one can imagine involving people and communities in the past, the physical environment has played a major role in living conditions as well as in how the basic necessities of food, shelter and employment were obtained.  
Some commonly-occurring events, such as storms or floods, have caused damage and death in just hours; others, such as climate change, have played out over centuries. Many incidents concerning natural phenomena have disrupted normal activities, significantly altered lives and livelihoods and, in many instances, forced people to change their way of life and/or move. 
Stories about the places of habitation and circumstances in which people lived, their responses to natural phenomena, and how they adapted to environmental changes are part and parcel of the construction of complete family histories. 
Examples of natural phenomena include:  

  • fast-moving events – storms, floods, earthquakes and disease epidemics; 
  • slow-moving events – river system changes, coastal margin modifications, drought, famine and volcanic eruptions; and 
  • long-term changes primarily brought about by climate change. 

The talk will have many examples of a variety of events, from many parts of the world and many time frames. 
Social and political events can often be correlated with natural changes or events which may have caused upheaval and unrest among people. Migration of families, on a local scale or involving whole communities, happened when people could no longer support or feed themselves in areas devastated by natural changes to the environment. 
The presentation will offer a perspective on how natural events and conditions of the physical environment controlled the lives and livelihoods of people in the past.  

The presentation offers perspective on how natural events and conditions of the physical environment controlled the lives and livelihoods of people in the past. 

Wayne Shepheard – follow this link to listen to a video interview with Wayne, and discover more about what’s in store from his talk.