Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm thankful for my ancestors, and repositories, and the internet, and ...

There are two Thanksgiving memes going around the genealogy blogosphere this week, and I'm late for one of them.

Julie Cahill Tarr, who writes the GenBlog by Julie blog, started a Thanksgiving Meme and Game of Tag on her blog asking readers and bloggers to write a blog post telling two things that we are thankful for, and to tag one more blogger to pass it on.

Elizabeth O'Neal is the carnival-mistress for the 13th Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy:

Even though I don't have any known Central and Eastern European ancestors, Elizabeth said that "Even if you don't have Central or Eastern European ancestors, please feel free to share a resource, tip, or process that you think might be helpful for people doing research in those areas." So I'm going to add my seven cents here anyway:

The Genealogy Research Resources that I am thankful for include:

1) The family records left, intentionally or not, by my packrat Vaux/Smith/Carringer/Seaver/Richmond ancestors - four generations of "stuff" including family Bible records, family letters and papers, many photographs, etc. I seriously doubt that, without these resources, my Geneaholism would be as grave as it seems to be.

2) The LDS Family History Library and the San Diego Family History Center microfiche and microfilms. Without these resources, my pedigree chart would have many more blank spaces on it. I spent almost every Saturday from 1988 through 2002 at the San Diego FHC, mostly working in the microfilms of land, probate and census records.

3) The Internet. I started working on the Internet in 1992 when I subscribed to the Prodigy network. I made many contacts, especially in New England, and mourned when I left Prodigy in 1995 or so. But then the Web really opened up for genealogists in the late 1990's - and research on the Internet replaced my frequent trips to the FHC (in retrospect, not a good thing!). The Internet permits me, and others, to do the "search" part of the research process much quicker than before.

4) My genealogy society programs and colleagues. I started joining societies soon after I started doing genealogy, but didn't become really active until 2002 when I retired (the first time). It's been fun being part of the CVGS leadership team, and organizing the Research Group to help others with their research. The local societies have provided opportunities for me to make presentations on a variety of genealogy topics.

5) The "conventional genealogy world" of organizers, authors, and professionals. This side of genealogy has many more participants than the Internet side, and they have done so much to grow this "hobby" into a "profession." We see it in many of the indispensable "how-to" books written over the years, the published magazines, the professional organizations, the national, regional and local genealogy societies, the national and regional conferences, etc. Many of these "conventional world" people have crossed over into the "technology" genealogy world and work in both arenas.

6) The "technology genealogy world" of genealogy software companies, commercial and free web sites dedicated to genealogy research. More and more "conventional" content is becoming available in digital format, with indexes, over time. This benefits all researchers. This "technology world" is still in a growth mode and will continue that way for a long time.

7) Genealogy bloggers and readers. Some bloggers have been doing it for years (e.g., Dick Eastman) and some started just last week. All have something to say. They often provide the services of the "canary in the mineshaft" alerting the genealogy world to a problem, or of the "town crier" telling about a significant advance in research capability. There are many excellent writers of genealogy blogs who are probably the genealogy magazine writers and society officers of tomorrow. Many young people are writing genealogy blogs and they will form the foundation of the next generation of genealogy leaders. I am really thankful for readers of genealogy blogs, and appreciate their feedback.

I know that's more than the two items that Julie asked for, but I don't follow restrictive directions well, as my devoted readers know.

So what are you thankful for?

Oh - I tag David who writes the Family History Tracing blog to write about what he is thankful for in Julie's meme.

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