Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Ancestors, You and Technology

Hey genea-folks, 
it's Saturday Night again, 

 time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Julie Goucher, on her Anglers Rest blog, has a long-running weekly blog theme called The Book Of Me.  One of her weekly prompts is about Technology.  We'll use that this week!

2)  For this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - please address these issues:

  • What technology changes did your ancestors see?
  • What technology changes have you seen?
  • Did your family own one of those early changes? - such as television
  • Do you like or dislike technology?
  • What do you think has been the best technological change in your lifetime and historically?
3)  Answer the questions, and share your work on your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or on Facebook or Google+.

Here's mine:

a)  The technology changes that my ancestors saw depends on the generation and the times they lived in.  For instance:

b)  My great-great-grandparents, who were born between 1815 and 1845 and lived into the 20th century, saw tremendous changes in modes of travel -- from horseback and buggy and sailing ships  to trains and steamboats and automobiles.  When they were born, light came from the sun, candles and gas lamps, and many lived to see electric lights.  Communication went from letters and town criers to newspapers and telegraph and telephones.  

c)  My great-grandparents, who were born between 1845 and 1870, and lived into the first part of the 20th century, saw the mass production of automobiles and the use of airplanes for transportation.  They saw the use of more electrical machinery to mechanize work and the invention of radio, television and movies.  They grew some of their own food, or bought it from local farmers and ranchers.

d)  My grandparents, who were born between 1875 and 1900, and lived well into the 20th century saw even more changes in transportation, household appliances (refrigerators, washing machines, etc.) and communication devices.  The space program, early computers, routine airplane travel, etc. were introduced.  My maternal grandfather, Lyle Carringer, loved everything new and technological.  He was an early adopter of automobiles, refrigerators, radios, televisions, etc.  

e)  My parents saw all of those things mature, and be made into commodities.  The digital revolution started and gradually replaced analog devices.  Space exploration became commonplace.  However, I don't recall them being early adopters of new technology.  My father worked an adding machine, but neither he or my mother ever sat at a computer.  In this generation, leisure time became available because of household and workplace inventions that made tasks easier to perform.  My parents rarely took vacations away from San Diego, and my mother flew on an airplane twice in her life.  I don't think my father ever did.  

f)  I was born in 1943, so I grew up with electric lights, radio, television, refrigerators, grocery stores, and telephones (my home's number was ATwater 1-4182).  In my generation, the computer became ubiquitous, more powerful and smaller in size.  I wrote software for work and play in FORTRAN starting in 1966, and bought my first PC in 1983.  The hand-sized smart phone I have is more powerful than the Space Shuttle's computer from the 1980s.  The biggest technological advance I've seen is software development to address almost every educational, entertainment, and economic need and the ability to communicate over the Internet in real time.

g)  I consider myself to be a relatively early adopter of technology - I tend to buy the second version of devices after the bugs are wrung out of the first version.  I love almost every aspect of it.  I work 8 to 12 hours a day using digital technology to learn, to research and to write.  I can do every task much faster on the computer than 30 years ago, and therefore can make more misteaks in a shorter period of time.  I can also do more tasks in a given period of time using digital technology, and can be more productive.  The drawback is, of course, that I have a sedentary lifestyle and my body mass and health status reflect that.  But it is so enticing to sit here in the genealogy cave and tap away on my keyboard and see my words in print immediately after I hit the publish button.  

h)  The best technological development in my lifetime has been the digital computer in all of its' forms - from the mainframe to the smart phone.  No doubt.  It has affected communications, entertainment, and economics tremendously over the past 70 years, not to mention genealogical education and research.  

i)  The best technological development in history?  For me, it's a tossup between the printing press, the electric light bulb, the automobile, the airplane, and the digital computer.


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I have done some of Julie's Book of Me before but not this one. Glad to catch up.

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here is my link. I think my 2x great grandmother saw the greatest advances in her lifetime, as she was born in 1833 and died at age 97 in 1930.

Nancy said...

I finally published my post. It's at

Thanks for the Saturday night fun, Randy.

Nancy Ward Remling said...

I concentrated on transportation.