Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thankful Thursday: I'm Glad I'm Modern

“Count Your Many Blessings” is the title of a hymn I am fond of.  “Name them one by one” it continues.  I know, there are some days when you’re really not sure you have any blessings.  But apply this hymn to genealogy and family history, and immediately you can “count them one by one.”

Imagine trying to do all this research in the 1800s, or 1700s, or 1600s – or earlier!  No computers (well, that’s obvious); but have you thought of the other things there wouldn’t have been?  Would you have had the disposable income to allow you to purchase entrance fees for places which held records? Some of those places (such as great houses) would have been thriving anyway – so I somehow doubt that you would have been allowed access to any records, because they were current.  If you are a woman: would you have been allowed to travel by yourself?   If you were married: would you even have had the time? Would you have been able to read and write?

I am so grateful that I have been born in these times.  Women are more independent, there is more disposable income around (well, I won’t get into that one LOL), technology abounds – and I know how to use it, even if my budget means I can’t afford most of it.  I can read and write!  I’m not sure I could have coped with daily life in some of my ancestors’ eras – let alone been involved in genealogical research.

What are you grateful for?


  1. You mentioned it, Ros, but my first thought was being able to read and write. It wasn't so very long ago (when one considers more than just a century or two) that women were forbidden and/or discouraged from reading and writing. Then, with regards to having the time to travel, these days we can travel so fast. A 3-hour trip now would have taken several days before automobiles. And some records we have now weren't kept 100 or 150 years ago, birth and death records, for example. We live in a great time with wonderful, wonderful blessings. (That's one of my favorite hymns, too!)

    1. I found an interesting bit of trivia the other day. When a couple got married, if the bride could write, but the groom couldn't, she would often sign with an 'X' so as not to embarrass him...

  2. Thank you for this thoughtful contribution, Ros. I know the hymn, too and you are absolutely right that we have so much to be thankful for. We can often look back at the past through rose coloured spectacles, but do we always picture ourselves in some grand house with grand clothes, when in reality we were more likely to be the skivvy "downstairs" or married with a child every year and trying to cope with all the domestic tasks. I cannot think how my great grandmother managed in what seemed like an small terraced house with 8 (surviving) sons and one daughter. I am so thankful for the period of my life where I have benefited from the NHS, grammar school education, and free university education. And where would I be today without my computer and the Internet?. . . . .

    1. A friend of mine and I were visiting a small town recently, where her ancestors had contributed a park bench. I said that *my* ancestors were probably servants to hers! I think I am probably right, too...



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