Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a time for gathering with family and friends to give thanks for all of the blessings we enjoy. As a genealogist, I find particular meaning in this holiday.
My earliest immigrant ancestors arrived in Quebec in the early 17th century. My husband’s earliest immigrant ancestors arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in the latter part of the 17th century. I’m thankful for the courage and stamina of these ancestors who braved long voyages in frail ships with the ever-present dangers of illness and death to settle in untamed lands and start their lives anew.
I’m thankful, too, for all of those who laid the groundwork for finding our ancestors, the men and women of decades past who transcribed millions of records by hand.
I give thanks for those who are visiting cemeteries with digital cameras to record gravestones before the inscriptions fade away.
Local genealogy “buddies” and distant cousins around the world deserve thanks for attentive listening, probing questions and locating obscure records.
I am grateful for all of those volunteers in genealogy societies who contribute their time, experience and expertise.
Thank you to everyone who brings us new online databases and the means to access them, especially those who are busy digitizing and indexing records for FamilySearch.
My husband and I joined a couple of close friends for a Thanksgiving picnic in sight of the Golden Gate Bridge, surrounded by a typical group of San Franciscans, people of every race, myriad ethnicities and languages, and various religions. As a genealogist, I’m grateful for this daily reminder of our immigrant heritage.