As I sit on the hotel room floor, trying not to disturb those of my family who are still sleeping, I am especially grateful for technology advances that allow me to have flexibility of where I am working. This reminds me of my first indexing experience. I had a 20+ hour project that I had to design and complete – I chose indexing! (I was 16 at the time.) I was sent a box of documents that needed to be entered into a computer program. At the time it was amazing that we could take these documents and put them on the computer so they could be obtained by disc as opposed to flipping pages by hand. Now, looking back I am amazed that documents were sent to me with the trust that I would take care of them and the program we used was very basic yet somewhat complicated. Today we have a software program – also basic yet complicated, and yes, there are a few things we could improve on – that you can download to your personal computer, allowing you to download records that are saved in files so no one has to touch an actual physical record. We are able to enter data that then becomes an online aid for others searching through records. Wow!
Technology is high on the list but doesn’t come close to the hug I just got from my 5 year old daughter. I am grateful for my family. At times we don’t always get along but we are constant, a source of love, entertainment and comfort. My ancestors endured many trials coming to a new country, and others, who had lived here for centuries had to deal with those who came to their country. They were tough men and women who no matter how hard it got kept on going. I like to think I am a little like them and that they have passed down more than just genetics.
This year has been tough for my family as we lost my grandpa – that same 5 year old daughter and he were buddies spending many hours laughing together, playing games and passing down a legacy of finding joy amidst the sadness. Although a time of sadness it was wonderful to see my cousins and to spend time catching up. What can we do to remember him? Keep his life and stories alive – work on our family history. Isn’t that one of the reasons we like to research our families? To find out who they were, which is then reflected in our own lives.
So, as I sit and ponder about all I am grateful for I realize how blessed I am. A strong husband (meaning he can put up with me and still smile), four beautiful children (a constant source of on the job training), extended family (near and far), my home (warmth, protection, Hotel Fechter), a job I love (I am truly blessed to be part of Ancestry and part of a wonderful Project that allows me to interact with all of you!), modern conveniences (electricity, flushing toilets, computers, internet, smart phones, ovens, etc), and freedom (I have lived in two countries that have both provided the freedom to come and go as I please, say what I want, and practise the religion of my choice).
As many of you go about a regular work day those of us in the U.S. will likely sit down to a dinner with family and friends to celebrate all that we are thankful for. (And yes, I did celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving back in October – who can resist celebrating twice!)
If you are feeling nostalgic you can read my first Thanksgiving post here.