Historical Context

The phrase "historical context", when used in genealogical circles, means knowledge about the culture and history of a specific place in a specific time. Historical context allows genealogists to understand why their ancestors did what they did and wrote what they wrote, especially if that behavior is markedly different from today's norms and might be easily misunderstood. Choices made about where to live, what occupation to take up, who to marry and what to name a child are general examples of behaviors that may require historical knowledge about the place and time in question in order to be understood.