We often see the Victorians as moral, hard-working and responsible whatever their social class or station.  As I research my various family trees this is certainly not true.  Families show the range of  behaviours and problems that we see in out own society.  Women have children outside marriage, relationships break up although divorce is not accessible until the 20th century.  Crime, drunkenness and bad behaviour are common.  Relationships are complex, and surprisingly varied.  One of the really major issues is, as I have already noted, literacy – it is rare in the 21 century for someone to be unable even to sign their name.  We need to understand the past, not as a golden age, but as the same complicated, flawed world that we live in now.  To understand the past is a way of  dealing with the present.


About jenjen999

I am a family historian with an interest not only in direct lines but in the social background and historical setting of the families I research.
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