Buried in Snow

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We have been buried in snow in Boston–receiving 90+ inches of snow since the end of January. We broke all kinds of snowfall records, as well as extreme cold records. Roofs have collapsed, public transportation has failed in an epic manner, and even with modern conveniences such as snowblowers and heat, people in Boston are snow weary.

I have thought a lot about my ancestors and how they dealt with extreme weather. They didn’t have modern conveniences. Elizabeth Shown Mills has pulled together a list of articles on 3 other cold and snowy winters.

In the winter of 1717, so much snow fell in New England that people referred to it for years as the big snow. Puritans even cancelled church for two weeks in a row. Mail was delivered by young boys on horseshoes.

1816 is referred to as the year without summer. Snow fell in Vermont even during the summer. The winters of 1812-1816 were all very cold in New England and was one of the reasons for migration to Ohio.

On the other side of the country, the Northwest experienced 4-6 feet of snow around Puget Sound in 1916.

Boston.com put together a history of snow removal from Boston streets, from the times of carriages and wagons through trains and subways. Like today, people had to get to work, and many would have to walk miles to work in dangerous conditions on those rare occasions when the subway shut down.

How did your ancestors deal with extreme temperatures and precipitation? How did they keep warm, and how did they clear away the snow? Did weather, such as the type experienced in the year without a summer, play a role in the decision to move to more temperate climes?

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About bridgingthepast

Welcome to Bridging the Past. We help genealogists connect to their colonial New England ancestors by sharing with them information about the lives of their ancestors. What did they eat? What did they wear? What was a typical day like? Did my ancestor fight in a war? What was life like for that ancestor, and for the loved ones he left at home? Why did they move? Was it part of a larger movement? By answering these questions, and many more, you can bring your ancestors to life and feel closer to them. We design lectures to answer these questions and give genealogists the tools and resources to personally connect with their ancestors by fleshing out the lives of their ancestors so they are more than names, dates and places on a piece of paper.
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