Question of the Week: Imagine your ancestors had social media. What would they post as an update?

+26 votes

We'll put this one in the "just for fun" category. :-)

There was one day my grandmother might have posted: "Helpful hint: If you're going to try out your granddaughter's bean bag chair, don't do it while everyone is gone. You might not get back out."

What do you think one of your ancestors might have posted?

Answer here or on Facebook. For a little extra fun, post the link for one of your favorite ancestors' profiles on your Facebook page or Twitter feed and ask your family and friends to come up with suggestions.

in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (420k points)
I have been reading letters to the editor and items in the Putnam County Tennessee Herald from 1911-1922. They shared births, deaths, marriages. Community events like the revival at so and so church, the all day singing last week. Shared who was sick and who visited with who that week. Who rode to Nashville for a visit.  Family reunions/birthday celebrations. Others who had moved west wrote home through the newspaper and told all about where they lived and other locals who had moved there. Men in the service wrote home about their station and activities. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
That is such fun! Trying to put words into your ancestor's mouth - and figure out how they would react to what was happening in their lives at a specific time. I could go all through my tree!!!
I have many Royal Ancestors in my trees, and many different last names, surnames, changed names of all of these Royals, they go back to King Merovich, 400 AD of Jerusalem, and he could not read or write, they probably would ask, how do I sign my name to my edicts I issue for my kingdom, as their court was the only ones educated in reading or writing, and soon, they wanted to become the King, and he was killed, and the mayors of the Palace were appointed by the Pope to be the King, thus came Charlemagne, descendants of these mayors of the court, but to be sure, he married a Merovingian Princess. He probably would ask how can I get educated?

Dona Floyd Kimmons
I got a lot of information when I was in high school from my grandmother who was born in 1906. What I have discovered over the years is how much she lied! A great-grandfather who beat his wives; a cousin who got a divorce; a child born out of wedlock, and a horrific murder. I suspect if my grandmother were making posts there would be a lot of blank spaces and false information. Now I know if there is a blank space in the family tree my grandmother started me out on, there is something worth digging for.
Absolutely nothing.  They didn't share family "secrets" with family.  They definitely would not share them with the world!
Abigail Overman-(Quaker Minister) Completed the two hundred mile ride on horseback through the NC wilderness from Cane Creek to Perquimans County with friend Rachel Wright to see if a new meeting can be set up here.
Not a damn thing!!! Too many skeletons in the closets!! LOL!
I suspect a great many of my forbears would reply, (if they actually replied at all): 'Much too busy with real life to respond to "social media", whatever that is. Elizabeth Clyne
PS: What am I thinkin? Got 12 chilin to round up, tatters and turnips to dig for supper and while I'm out thar, the whole patch needs weedin, the fallen fruits needs fetchin, the hens, pig and milker need tendin...............I could go on and on if I had another lifetime. I ain't actually writ this as I ain't lit'trit, bein a womanfolk. Just thinkin them's wicked thoughts if youse know what I mean. Elizabeth Clyne


We could all learn from that, Elizabeth!! haha!

23 Answers

+20 votes
Best answer
Hey guys, can you believe the census enumerator took my name down as "Zack Bashaw"? Last time they called me Zachariah Bacon.  It's like they don't understand a French accent or something. :-(  #censusfail

Zack Vachon June 21, 1860 at 10:17 a.m.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (941k points)
selected by Arora Anonymous
+26 votes
Posted on Craigslist in around 1730. Location - Virginia.


Note: I have a profile on Wikitree that includes an ad in a Virginia newspaper that basically says what I have written above!
by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (255k points)
What a great find, Bart!
That is great, Bart.  An incredible find, as Julie said.  A keeper.
+23 votes
Facebook thread:  Amos Sargent.

Amos: Hey, guys. I just signed up to fight the hated British! Who's with me?

Benjamin Smart: I'm in! Got my musket ready for those guys!
Richard Tandy: Yeah, I'm in!
John Smith: Got it covered
Peter Hunt Jr: Let's do this!
Daniel Bailey: On my way!
Isaac Fellows: I'm so gonna do something!
Matthew Stanley: Let's show 'em we got what it takes!
William Taylor: Aww, yeah!
Joseph Fisher: See what you started?! You let everyone in, Amos!
Amos: They're all just excited. Let's go, guys!

Three days later....

Amos: Umm...Has anyone seen Isaac?

Isaac: Dude, I served for three days on a ship and got a little sick. I marched to the drum and the captain threw me overboard.
Matthew: That's because you drank too much whiskey.
Isaac: I SAID I WAS SORRY!!!!!!!!!!
Matthew: At least I made Captain before you did, Private.
Isaac: Don't rub it in!

And scene. =)

I wish I had access to the program that actually makes fake Facebook posts. Here are some twitter ones.

@DionisStevens: I don't care what Goody Prince says. I have the best damn beer in town!

@AbigailEmerson: Guys, my sisters are crazy. One of them escaped Indian custody and is hailed a hero and another one committed infanticide. Father says I should just lay low. That Samuel Smith guy looks kinda cute. I should settle with him.

@ExperiencePutnam: I am sorry for what my father did during the witch trials. God, I wasn't even born when that happened....
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (557k points)
Really creative, Chris!! lol

The funny part is Amos Sargent and Joseph Fisher probably knew each other as his daughter Sarah married Joe's son, Lewis.

That reminds me.  Years later....

Amos Sargent Facebook:

Getting stuff together for Sarah's wedding. Can't believe the wagon trail going to the fish market. When are they going to create some kind of a signal system to ease traffic. Come on....

Sarah: Don't worry about it. Just get to the church on time, dad.

Amos. I'll be there. I gotta tell Lewis what his dad did in the war.

Lewis Fisher: Tell me what?!

Joseph: I finally get to say this. I PLEAD THE FIFTH!!!!!!!!

Hi Chris,

I couldn't get it all done... this is SO not getting my Data Doctor work done lol. But here ya go:

I put the link above also - where it says 'here'

Its not blurry there...
That is awesome! Thank you!
+18 votes
On the macabre side: my engineer ancestor Pierre Robillard might have posted a selfie with the big wheel for the bellows at the foundry in Skilån in the beginning of April 1659 with the caption: "Almost done. I'm so proud!" He was crushed by the wheel he had constructed and buried on the 17th.
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (481k points)
I'm the lucky owner of a small diary kept by my great grandfather Gustav Lindström from the beginning of 1882 up to 10 October of that year.

I don't think he would have posted about his correspondence with his beloved Augusta, who was away, studying to be a teacher, and then, after the summer teaching school in a village 50 km away - they would have been Skyping in private.

Actually, he might have made solemn reports about the weather several times a day on Twitter: temperature, wind and rainfall.

Or he could have Instagrammed the progress of his little hobby project building a miniature schoolhouse after visiting Augusta.
Eva!!! I'm laughing and crying at the same time over Pierre!
Me too Julie
Really?  He was crushed, Eva?  Oh my.  ;(
Crushed or squashed - there is no full incident report, just five words in the death book (which rarely gives causes of death then and there, but does in this case).
Sad and ironic, Eva!! :(
+19 votes
Durned carthorse kicked me in the shins again.  If he does it once more, I swear I will go and buy one of those newfangled 'horseless carriages' you hear about.
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
So funny, Ros!!
+17 votes
Olof Uhrväder, POW in Copenhagen after the battle of Gadebusch 1712, posted in 1718:

"Still alive! Bloody Danes only allow us 15 minutes of crappy WiFi. Per year."
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (481k points)
+15 votes
Have to have some women, too, don't you think?

Here's Anna Rosina Vieweg, just arrived from Sachsen to Skinnskatteberg in 1753 with her master smith husband and a bunch of children:

"Praise the Lord, we are all hale and well after an exhausting journey. Lodgings reasonably clean, but I will put the girls to work on an extra round of scrubbing. Cabbage patch behind the house looks promising. Will go looking for the brewhouse by the stream, where they tell me we do the laundry."
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (481k points)
Get those kids ta scrubbin'! Love this, Eva!
+16 votes

Pretty sure none of my ancestors would've used Facebook. They would have called it a waste of time. 

From what I know they were all very ambitious and expected their kids to be absolute geniuses. My dad was forced to help his parents build a house by the age of 13 while also going to school and a music school, where they practiced absolute hearing and blind instrument playing. His grandma's cousin was a literature professor and polyglot.

My mom had straight As in school and went on to study engineering, because her maths teacher told her she wouldn't make it and she wanted to prove it to her that she would.

Sometimes I feel like I have to catch up with them, haha.


by Evelina Staub G2G6 Mach 1 (15.6k points)
+19 votes
My paternal grandmother's FB relationship status: "It's complicated."
by Sharon Casteel G2G6 Pilot (124k points)
Ha!  Love this, Sharon. Same could be said for my ancestor, Ruby Pendergrass!! LOL
I have a few that would have used that lol
Yes, she must have lead an interesting life. Curiosity made  me look up her profile.
Same for both of my maternal grandparents this one :)
My maternal Great Grandmother as well. She married 3 times, had kids by all 3 husbands, my Grandpa by the middle one! Her relationship comment would have been "its complicated"
+14 votes

I'd like to think that my great grandfather, Harry Rich, would have loved social media. He was an entrepreneur and consummate salesman. He started his own sweet shop and tobacconist in 1923 so would have used Facebook to advertise. Knowing him he'd have run competitions to win things from the shop as well. He'd have been addicted to solitaire and would have liked West Ham Football Club and jazz music. He would also have used Facebook to stay in touch with his family, especially his brother in Australia.

by Susie MacLeod G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
What's not to love, Susie?  :)
+15 votes
My 6th great-great grandmother, Phoebe Belcher Clay [[Belcher-174]], in preparations for the upcoming holidays would have tweeted to her family.  (17 kids and 62 grandchildren)  "If I hear ONE complaint about the burned marshmallows on the sweet potatoes, you are toast. I brought you in to this world, I can take you out.  Next holiday, you cook. Love you guys!"

Family tradition here, burnt marshmallows on the sweet potatoes.  We carry it on each year, with pride, laughter, and great finesse.  :)  Have it down to a science now.
by Betty Tindle G2G6 Mach 8 (81.5k points)
edited by Betty Tindle
What a wonderful family story Betty! And tradition
M. Silva, my brother cooked Thanksgiving dinner last month.  I asked him if he would like me to watch the sweet potatoes and marshmallows so they didn't burn.  He said, "No, I got it, they won't burn.".  I told him, "It only takes a second.".  He insisted.

They burned.  LOL
Too funny!
+15 votes
I have a letter from my grandmother at age 7 or 8 that was sent to her grandmother who travelled from Sweden to Kenya in 1919 to visit her son. If it had been facebook messenger instead:

@granny Oh, Granny, can you bring us some oranges on your way back?!
by Maria Lundholm G2G6 Pilot (167k points)
+12 votes
My greatgrandmum would have posted in the last days of September 1943 a picture of her two oldest sons and probably only the smiley :'( :'(, when she got within 3 days the message that her oldest son died in Russia and his brother was MIA. We actually don't know until today if the younger one survived or not.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
How very sad, Jelena, can't even imagine never knowing.
+11 votes

Facebook message on my Mom's page from my Dad Nov 19, 1945 :  Nell - arrived in Halifax this morning and arranging train reservation to Winnipeg - will let you know when I should arrive. Love to your mother- see you soon, Kelly. (he was a Gunner in the RCA)

Facebook: From Grace Cameron to her sister Mary April 10, 1911: I'm in Saint John, NB on my way to join you and Neil. I'll arrive by train in a few days, Have Neil check the schedule.

Facebook Ada Mosson to Annie Mosson, her mother-in-law September 19, 1908: Will and I with the children, William and Edith have arrived in Quebec. Never again will I travel with such small children - and with a rocking horse as well! Can't wait to get to Manitoba!!!

Facebook from Great Uncle Charlie Cameron - to me! (may as well cross up the generations while we're at it!!!) Linda - get lots of ice cream in, and tell those kids down the hall I'm on my way. We'll have an ice cream party at your apartment. I'll arrive by train in a few days - meet me at the Via Rail station.


by Linda Hockley G2G6 Mach 1 (12.5k points)
edited by Linda Hockley
+11 votes
My answers may not be as creative as all of yours, but I should like to think that my ancestors would share the photo albums I have posted with all their pictures. Each family name has its own photo album, but some families are so big they have two! Facebook is the easiest way to preserve family photos, and make sure far flung cousins have copies. It also helps ensure photo survival by posting them online. If something happens to my house, I can download all my pictures again from facebook!

Sharon Troy Centanne
by Living Troy G2G6 Pilot (156k points)
+8 votes
While Facebook would not be possible without modern electronic devices, it would probably remain unused by my ancestors who lived within a short distance from home traveling on foot or in open carriages (or sleighs at this time of year.)  I suppose it would be the same sort of information exchanged in conversation with neighbors met on the road, or while pausing briefly to say hello as they passed friends sitting on their front porch.  In Puritan New England, those reporting trivial or mundane events risked being perceived as idle hands doing the devil's work.
by AL Wellman G2G6 Mach 1 (12.4k points)
edited by AL Wellman
+10 votes
Facebook from Great Aunt Jane Sprinz to her middle son, Sydney May 22, 1914, a day out from England aboard the ship Commonwealth, with a maid (my assumption that it was his mother's maid): Not funny Sydney!!! You may have thought it was smart to run off with my maid, but what am I to do now? And what were you thinking??? How can your father and I hold our heads up in London, when everyone finds out you ran off to Australia - with a MAID!!!
by Linda Hockley G2G6 Mach 1 (12.5k points)
+9 votes
One of my ancestor's was Augustine Warner who was George Washington's grandfather and history mentions George Washington waltzed in Warner Hall Plantation so my question would be:

Help, Augustine. is in need of a private dance lesson.  Does anyone have any suggestions?
by Carol Sullivan G2G6 Mach 2 (29.3k points)
haha!!! Love it.
+10 votes
In 1903 my grandfather arrived from Italy:    Just left Ellis Island.  The Streets are not paved with gold; they are covered in horse manure.
by Angela Grassi G2G6 (6.9k points)
+9 votes

Long live "Mother Ireland"!!!!!!

by Mary Alvarado G2G5 (6.0k points)

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