Stormy Weather: Events that Changed the Fortunes of our Ancestors by Wayne Shepheard

Webinar: Stormy Weather: Events that Changed the Fortunes of our Ancestors
Speaker: Wayne Shepheard
When: Saturday, October 8, 2022 at 11:00am Eastern

Program Description:
Storms have always been a normal component of weather phenomena. Some had catastrophic results, causing significant damage and death. Other were minor but still impacted the fortunes of people. Our ancestors were not immune to either and, in their lifetimes, may have experienced either type, possibly resulting in momentous changes to their lives and livelihoods.

During the Little Ice Age (1300-1850) some very large tempests raged across regions around the world. They were most felt in areas when large populations existed, of course, as they are today. Few storms experienced in recent decades have matched the ferocity of some of those recorded in the past, though. The climatic conditions of that cool period fostered the development of a greater frequency of such events than in centuries before and after.

Associated with storms, of course, are floods, which also wreaked disaster on communities. Events that originated offshore often had devastating consequences to villages along seacoasts from storm surges. Storms that attack coastal areas bring with them flooding from surges, especially severed ruing high tides. Infrastructure in towns that front the oceans may be particularly vulnerable to winds and waves. Winter storms bring a different perspective when large volumes of snow may block transportation avenues. Cold weather is always more deadly than heat spells and storms which occur during the winter also have the impact of reduced temperature, in addition to whatever physical destructive forces they my bring.

This presentation will review the timing and location of some major storms, and a few minor ones, that may have touched families in the past and influenced decisions about employment and migration.

Speaker Bio:
Wayne Shepheard has pursued family history research for several decades, on his own behalf
and for others, exploring families in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. Following
a long career as a geologist in the oil and gas industry, Wayne now pursues genealogy as a hobby
and as an occasional, professional consultant.

Wayne volunteers as an Online Parish Clerk, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He is the
author of more than 40 articles published in family history journals and magazines and has made
presentations related to a variety of subjects to many groups. He writes a regular genealogical
blog, Discover Genealogy ( set up to tell stories, relate experiences
and pass along tips discovered during his genealogical studies, and which also offers, from time-
to-time, examples of how people and communities were impacted by Mother Nature.

Wayne published a book relating natural phenomena to family history titled, Surviving Mother
Nature’s Tests: The effects climate change and other natural phenomena have had on the lives of
our ancestors (April 2018).

VGA Members can register for this webinar via the Zoom link in the Upcoming Webinars area of the Members Center. Please contact if you have any questions.


  1. Greetings! Just missed this boat. Reading about it’s opportunity late on 10/08/22. I see a notation that a recording may be available; how can I obtain access? Thank you.

    • The recording has been posted. 🙂 It is available to VGA members for 6-months in the Past Webinars area of the Members Center.

  2. Just wanted to apologize for the imperfect sound. It seems that my headphone mic was not working properly during recording of the talk so the webcam mic was what picked up my voice. I think you will be able to understand everything but it’s not as good as I would have like it to be. Wayne Shepheard

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