I came of age in the time of campus protests, disco balls and tie-dye t-shirts. The phones in my parents house had rotary dials.We never owned a dishwasher (Dad: "Why do I need a dishwasher when I already have 3!") Our television would display every shade of black or white and required a pair of pliers, not a remote, to change the channels of which there were 3. Four if you count the public station. When I wanted to communicate with my parents from college I usually wrote a letter (remember those..paper? stamps?) because long distance collect calls were expensive. On the other hand my college daughter just picks up her cell phone. Anyway, you get the picture. I'm sure most of you have similar stories. Bottom line, I am old enough to still marvel at technology that sometimes seems almost magical.
But I came of age, in the genealogical sense, in the Internet age. My research is mostly online. I store it on my computer with a specialized genealogy database. It is double-click, drag and drop instant gratification. I admit it. I am spoiled. So my hat is off to all of you who were researching your families before computers and cell phones took over our culture. I would like to think that I would have eventually found genealogy without the technology but frankly, I doubt it. To have to send a letter for every record then waiting weeks and months for information that would only maybe take me back one generation on just one family line.... well, I don't think I would have had the attention span. I would probably have collected a couple of records, filled out a family group sheet or two and then been distracted by basket weaving or something.
So I have nothing but admiration for my genealogy "elders". I just doesn't seem right that those of us who came so late to the party, should have it so easy. You have spent decades collecting information that nowadays can be obtained in a few hours on the Internet. That kind of dedication requires a strength of character and commitment that is becoming as rare in our society as the milkman. Or transistor radios. Or vinyl records. Okay, now I'm really getting depressed.
Welcome to the future!