Two years ago (nearing the end of my very first year of blogging), I wrote “Things I’m Thankful For on My Genealogical Quest”. Nothing has changed since then – I am still very thankful for each of those things that have been helpful to me as I research my family’s history! You can read the specifics about what they are and why I’m thankful at the original post. I’m still very thankful for those things for all the same reasons. But, there is even more to be thankful of! In the spirit of gratitude as we celebrate Thanksgiving, and in keeping with the genealogy theme of this blog, I’ve found Ten More Things I’m Thankful For on My Genealogical Quest:
1. Ancestry.com – Genealogical records are now available on many different online sites, but the biggest of these – at the moment, anyway – is Ancestry. I found many of my original discoveries at NARA, but thanks to digitization efforts and Ancestry’s interface, I can find them again and so many new discoveries easily and quickly. The subscription costs more than I’d like to spend, but so far it’s been worth it to have easy access to so many records (and I could access the free version at the library if I wanted).
2. Digital cameras – what does this have to do with genealogy, you ask? Today’s digital cameras can do so many things. Not only can I use it to photograph the family houses, cemeteries, towns, and workplaces – as well as all the new cousins I’ve met – but I can use the macro feature to photograph documents, microfilmed images, and even other photographs. Don’t leave home without it!
3. Genealogical Societies – Genealogical societies are one of the best sources for locality-specific or ethnicity-specific information. I found a lot of unique record sources through the Polish Genealogical Society of America’s databases, resources, and publications.
4. Genealogy Conferences – I attended my first one this year, and what fun it was! Not only is a conference a great opportunity to increase your knowledge about a myriad of research-related topics, but it’s also a chance to make new friends that love genealogy as much as you do!
5. Genealogy Blogs – While I included “the geneablogging community” in my last list, this time I mean the blogs themselves versus the bloggers. I’ve learned so much from genealogy blogs! Blogs are a wonderful and free resource for learning about research methods, records, online tools, and more. Even a “personal” family history story can benefit you if you recognize a technique someone else used in their research that you hadn’t thought about.
6. The COG – The COG, otherwise known as the Carnival of Genealogy, is the biweekly/monthly opportunity for genealogy bloggers to write posts on the same theme. Everyone writing on the same topic? What sounds like a recipe for boredom becomes a delicacy of creativity! Especially in the hands of the COG-chef herself, Jasia, who organizes the entries and somehow keeps coming up with interesting topics after all these years. I started blogging after reading other bloggers’ COG entries, and many of my fellow bloggers have said exactly the same thing. I am thankful to participate in it, and I’m thankful to read all of the other entries. And I can’t wait for the special 100th edition in December!
7. Genea-friends who help me research – They shall remain nameless because they’d be embarrassed otherwise (you know who you are), but there are at least a half dozen genealogy bloggers that have helped me with research. These tasks have included such things as traveling to a distant library to find some obscure book, looking up a record on microfilm, copying pages out of reference books, looking up an online record that I don’t have access to, and providing me with free translations of foreign-language records. Do they do these things because they love research so much? Well, that might be part of it – but they do it because they are my friends. Some I have met in person, and some I am still waiting to meet. But I love them all – not just because they do such nice things for me, but because they are simply wonderful people. I am so grateful to have great friends!
8. Genea-friends – The research they do belongs in a special category, but so does the friendship. I met several friends this year that were previously just email addresses, Facebook friends, and bloggers. Now they are dinner and travel companions and the nicest bunch of people I ever met. And the funniest! Here’s to more good times! [Photo above is from an actual genea-friend dinner this year.]
9. The Immigrants Came Here – While I included this as a part of thanking my ancestors in the last list, I have to reiterate how grateful I am that eight individuals made the life-changing decision to leave their homelands forever and travel to the United States. Because of them, I am an American. And for that, I am very thankful. I am very proud of my ethnic heritage and I love learning about the countries from which they came. But I love my country, and I am thankful for all of the blessings and freedoms that I have because of where my family moved.
10. My parents – I’m very thankful for my parents and for the fact that they are still here to continue to tell me the stories about their parents and grandparents. I’m taking notes so that their grandchildren will know those stories, too. I love you, Mom & Dad – thanks for all you’ve given me!
~ Happy Thanksgiving! ~