I am thankful for a lot of things this Thanksgiving week, but this is a genealogy post, so I’m going to focus on that side of my life.
I’m grateful for….
The many online resources that those aforementioned cousins didn’t have access to when they started their research decades ago. FamilySearch. Reclaim the Records. State archives. Library and university archives. Digital books. Special thanks to the employees and volunteers who spent hours and hours and hours creating searchable indexes.
Having DNA samples from my great-aunt and uncle who have since passed on, as well as my mom and her brothers (and on my husband’s side, my mother-in-law). Having a sample from a generation or two further back is such a blessing when trying to figure out which side of the family one of my matches is on. Sometimes they match people I don’t. I am confident their donation of spit and cells will help me solve some family mysteries and break through brick walls.
Access to the Ancestry Library Edition at home. Yes, the coronavirus pandemic is dreadful, and I’m tired of it (as we all are), but the one joy I’ve gotten from it is being able to look stuff up on Ancestry from home at any hour of the day or night. This will not last forever, and believe me, I’d rather be rid of COVID, but for the time being I’m taking great pleasure in the research opportunity.
Never-ending online seminars and webinars. I’ve watched quite a few from the Florida State Genealogical Society and Family Tree Webinars. I’ve also enjoyed talks presented by the Southern California Genealogical Society and the Georgia Genealogical Society, and probably a few others. I’ve seen many presentations advertised that I cannot afford, but all the ones I’ve mentioned here will allow you to watch the event live for free, and FTW gives you up to a week to watch the recording. I have learned so much.
Kinfolk and cousins who’ve done exhaustive research and built accurate and documented trees before I ever got into the hobby. I stand on their shoulders as I strive to add additional sources and take us back another generation or two. In some cases, I found their work after I had done some of my own, and it allowed me to “validate” what I had done beyond simply reviewing the records.
Stories and memories from my mom. I’m so glad she’s still here at age 83, and that I’m able to share some of my genealogical findings with her. It’s amazing to look at old black and white photos with her and have her describe the colors and fabrics of her outfit. Of course, one of the many downsides of this pandemic is that I have a new (now 10 months old) digital recorder that I bought in order to record her stories, but I’ve been trying to reduce my time around her to protect her from potential exposure. There have been many times on the phone that I’ve opened a document and started typing her stories as she tells me. I just have to keep up. I definitely don’t want to lose all those memories when that terrible day comes that I lose her.