"When I was little our family often went to France."
Translation:Когда я была маленькая, наша семья часто ездила во Францию.
Both Nominative and Instrumental are used after «был»/«была» in the past and future tenses. I personally tend to use Instumental everywhere, but both are possible.
Rosenthal's style guide (§ 177.3) recommend using Instumental for changeable things:
- она́ была́ ма́ленькой 'she was small' (but she's expected to grow up),
- она́ была́ певи́цей 'she was a signer' (but she might decide to do something else later),
and Nominative for permanent things:
- она́ была́ китая́нка 'she was Chinese' (and this fact doesn't change with time)
However, this is a prescriptive rule that doesn’t reflect how we actually speak. This sentence on Duolingo actually breaks this rule. :D
That's how I would say it. «Когда я была маленькой, наша семья...».
Note that comma is required because it's a complex sentence, that is, sentence-in-a-sentence ('I was small' is a sub-sentence, 'our family went' is main sentence). Russian generally requires subsentences to be separated from main sentences by punctuation.
so ездила is feminine because its subject семья is feminine, enough it implies multiple people are going somewhere?
Почему не принимается 2й вариант, тот который "... наша семья часто была во Франции". Вполне себе годный вариант.