Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Thankful for These Genealogy Resources

The topic for the 13th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy is "What Research Resources are You Thankful For?" Submitters need not have Central or Eastern European ancestry to participate. While I will not be sharing specific resources--such as books or websites--or tips, I would like to highlight four assets that have enriched my research life and brought me unexpected resources and treasures.

My local genealogical society - the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society is a research resource unto itself...a living, breathing resource. If I get stuck on a problem, or need to know where to look, or if someone comes to me with a question I can't answer, then I go to my fellow members at EWGS. Many of them are people who've been doing research longer than I have been alive...the hard way: in dusty repositories, by snail mail, and through cranking through thousands of rolls of microfilm. They know what puzzling legal jargon or Latin terms mean, or whether something significant is meant by missing information in a document. Furthermore, our society librarians and historian know where to find just about anything hiding in Spokane County, whether it's in the courthouse vault or in an index in an obscure book in the genealogical collection of the public library. My life is enriched by these warm, caring people, and I can't imagine a finer society anywhere!

The Family History Library and Family History Centers - Imagine doing research without the existence of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or its branch libraries, the Family History Centers (wouldn't it be awful!) The LDS Church takes seriously its mission to provide resources through the FHL and FHCs, and considers this a way of blessing the inhabitants of the globe. I couldn't agree more! For people like myself who live far from our ancestral locations, obtaining records via microfilm at a Center or being able to visit the Library is a wonderful experience. I frequent my North Spokane Stake FHC so often that I am on a first-name basis with many of the volunteers and consider the director a personal friend. We share our research successes and challenges and always look forward to the newest wonder available through the Record Search pilot site. I receive the gift of hope whenever I research at my local FHC...hope that the records I order and view will provide the next piece of evidence for which I've long been looking!

The Internet - It's so wonderful to be living in this time in history! Thirty years ago as a little girl--or even 15 years ago--I could not imagine the daily wonders I discover online. And to the people behind it all, whether volunteers or paid employees working to provide research lookups, transcribe data to a genealogical subscription site, scan images of books to be viewed online, or use their amazing intelligence and gifts to create wonders like the many faces of Google, I'm tremendously grateful that I am able to access all this information and knowledge!

My family - I've been honored and privileged to be recognized as the family historian and archivist, a responsibility I take seriously. Entrusted by family members with the care of photographs, documents, and mementos from the past, I strive to take measures to preserve and catalog them to the best of my ability so that future generations will know, memorialize, and understand those Who Came Before. I've been touched that my family blesses me with these dear treasures!

As a family historian and genealogist, for what are you thankful?

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