This is my first post using the series of daily blogging prompts available at GeneaBloggers.com. When I saw that one of the prompts for today was “Thankful Thursday,” I just had to write this one because it’s so easy.
I’m thankful for the Internet.
I have a disability and some related health problems that make working and even getting out of the house occasionally quite a bit more challenging than they would otherwise be. Going to genealogy conferences, the state archives, the local genealogical society, or even the county courthouse to do research would all require some careful planning and forethought. With a computer and an internet connection, however, many of the challenges of logistics and transportation: “How am I gonna get from here to there?” are substantially reduced, if not completely eliminated.
On sites such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org I can surf through millions of records and discover surprising things about my family from the comfort and privacy of my own home and easily integrate my findings into my genealogy database software. I can upload my family tree, complete with notes and documentation, to the Web so that family, friends, and other researchers can see what I’ve found no matter where I am and no matter where they are. Via e-mail I can communicate with genealogists across the country or around the world. If I listen to genealogy podcasts, I can get tips and advice from experts in the field, almost as if I were fortunate enough to hear them speak in person. Barriers of time and distance seem to shrink when I use the ‘net. While I know that nothing can take the place of a face-to-face meeting with another human flesh and blood human being, and that not every record I might need will be in an online database somewhere, I also know that the internet and its resources give me powerful tools I’ve never had before. For that I am profoundly grateful.