As a genealogist, we have so much to be thankful for. The one that top my chart is online genealogy.
I have the opportunity to work as a volunteer at a local Family History Center. My children are older and my eldest two are old enough to watch the others while my hubby and I serve together. However, many individuals are not this fortunate.
Career, childcare, and other commitments prevent many individuals from using Family History Centers or genealogical libraries. As such, having the ability to access so many important records online is such a wonderful blessing. Any time, any where access to archives enables amazing discoveries to occur by those who are younger and younger. Otherwise, genealogy would have to be reserved for only the retired or stay-at-home mothers with all their children in school the entire day.
Additionally, online access to record sets makes genealogy more affordable. You don’t have to be independently wealthy or have a surplus of cash to access records. Ordering microfilm at $5.50 a roll in the hopes of discovering one or two names is exorbitantly expensive. Today, for about $14.00/month for MyHeritage.com or $20/month for Ancestry.com (check for current subscription prices as they may have changed), you can access numerous record collections and store your tree online. For those where this is still not affordable, FamilySearch.org is free and has access to all those microfilm records are digitized!
There still is a need for boots-on-the-ground genealogy but, now our research trips can be focused on the harder to access record collections (like church and court records). As ecclesiastical and government archives realize the value in digitizing the collections, more may be placed online and that’s something to truly be thankful for.
Someone will quip that, “Not everything is online you know.”
Reflexively, I’ll respond,“You’re right. It currently is not online. But, I can’t wait for it to be.”
What are you most thankful for in genealogy today that has improved from 5 – 10 years ago?