This particular challenge takes me back to the days when I was a young girl getting my start in genealogy by watching my parents.
They did it the old-fashioned way - they still remember relatives born in the 1800's, and had first-hand knowledge of their stories, their recollections, their pictures, etc. I would sit and listen and try to imagine myself living in their lifetime. It seemed so far away...
My parents and I spent hours in courthouses, cemeteries and libraries. My spelling and my handwriting was better than theirs, for I had received more education than they ever had the opportunity to obtain. I would emerge from the dungeons of the courthouses covered in grit - and I LOVED it! Some of the grit was the same grit ancestors had touched!! I would run my hand over documents where their signatures were still visible, and wonder what their hands may have looked like.
But, nothing beats a cemetery. As I state in the opening pages of my blog, I was in cemeteries when my mother was still pregnant with me. My favorite picture is one where she is standing sideways on a bridge after a July 4th picnic. She is getting ready for some cemetery transcribing just four days before I was born!