I have to admit to being a bit behind the times when it comes to watching The Hunger Games, but to be fair, I’m a rather obsessed genealogist and I spend an inordinate amount of time living in the world of my ancestors. But in seeking some common ground with the hubby, I settled in a few weeks ago to watch the first movie in the trilogy, and I rather enjoyed it.
Like family history, the movie takes you to a world that while similar in some ways, is very different than the world we live in today. We can use maps – like the one here - to figure out where the characters in the story would live in the futuristic world of The Hunger Games, but to really get a feel for the place, we need a little more of the backstory.
So where do we find that backstory when we’re searching for our ancestors? First we need to pull all of the clues from the records we find on them. Organizing details into timelines can help give us a little perspective. (Here’s a guide to creating a timeline.)
But perhaps one of the best ways to get the full story is to remember that they didn’t live in isolation. They lived in a community and interacted with other people. They were impacted by historical events. When we look at their lives in a more three-dimensional way, like we would a movie, and we learn as much as we can about that backstory, well, that’s when things get really interesting. It’s also when we start to find new clues that help us take our research further.
We’re launching a series of research guides that we hope will connect you with resources that can put your ancestor’s story in perspective. While Panem’s District 10 ranks among the poorest of Hunger Games’ Districts, the real state of Texas is rich in history and family history resources, so to get you started, check out our free guide to research in the Lone Star State. Happy searching!
About Juliana Smith
Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 16 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.