"We don't talk about them!" Every family history has its "black sheep", those individuals who flouted the conventions of family and society to live their lives according to their own rules. Sometimes they were people who fell into difficult situations through no fault of their own; often they were not spoken of in family conversations, and have been "edited" out of family papers and photographs. Worse still, they may have suffered loss of contact with relatives, detachment from children, humiliation in the press, damage to career, income, and to their psychological and physical wellbeing, or even death. Such individuals are now referred to by historians as "transgressive" - in that they crossed lines of acceptable behaviour at the times in which they lived.
Using a wide variety of archival resources, we will rebuild the lives and experiences of these family history outcasts, and place them firmly back in the context of society and family. Examples of groups we will look at are: illegitimate children and their mothers; sexual transgressives; runaways and travellers; divorcees and bigamists, and others in "innappropriate" marriages; law breakers such as petty thieves; and more.
This course is suitable for any family historian (any level of experience) who is interested in this aspect of research, and will also be of interest to anyone with a general interest in social history. No knowledge of social history is assumed.
The tutor is a highly experienced, successful and published social historian with a particular interest in the lives of those on the sidelines of history, who has been teaching family and social history since 1988.