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Here at Ancestry.com we spend a lot of time looking at the past through genealogy records and family history research. We spend a lot of time looking to the future, developing new technology and making plans for the business. As we take a few days off to spend time with family and other loved ones this Thanksgiving weekend, I hope many of us will reflect on our gratitude of the moment.
With that in mind, I asked several of my colleagues what they were thankful for and what they felt their ancestors were probably grateful for during their lifetimes. Here are a few of their responses:
“Nothing beats a big, bear hug from my kids. I think my ancestors were grateful for full bellies, warm beds, and a good crop. (Yes. I come from a big line of Midwestern farmers.)”
Laurel, Product Management
“I am thankful that I get to wake up every morning surrounded by my wonderful family. My ancestors were probably most thankful for the ability to celebrate Thanksgiving in freedom. They were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine and suffered horrible anti-Semitism and lived in constant fear while in Eastern Europe; that all ended when they immigrated here.”
“I am grateful for some things that I think people take for granted, things that our ancestors didn’t have, basic technology that makes our lives so much easier like electricity and ease of transportation.”
“I was not able to be with my family last year and it will be nice to spend Thanksgiving with them again after a long time apart. Sadly my younger brother is deployed to Afghanistan so we will be missing one family member, but I am thankful that he is safe and should be home for next Thanksgiving. I recently found a family connection on Ancestry and I was able to read a history written by my great grandmother that I had never seen before. She mentioned being grateful for good friends and neighbors several times in her history. She lived on a ranch in Alberta and I am sure she was very grateful to have people she could count on in such a remote area.”
Elizabeth, Public Relations
“I am thankful for time to rest and relax with family and friends. I believe my ancestors were thankful to come and live in a free country.”
“I’m thankful for toilet paper because the Sears catalog sounds really uncomfortable (but it is searchable on Ancestry.com). I’m thankful for washers and dryers because beating a nice sweater with a rock seems really wrong. I’m thankful for the highways, electricity and everything else that makes it possible for me to live in a high mountain desert and eat vegetables that I didn’t have to grow myself. I’m thankful my kids have minds of their own, even if I don’t always like what goes on in there. My ancestors were likely thankful for boats that returned to the homeland (mostly my great-grandfather who returned to Italy because America wasn’t all he thought it would be) and inadequate identification verification (mostly my grandmother who changed her birth certificate to say she was older so she could get a job).”
“My early Quaker ancestors were seeking relief from oppression in England for not conforming to the Church of England. I am certain they were thankful to God for their newly-found freedoms in the Pennsylvania Colony. As am I.”
Lisa, Content Acquistion
“Maybe I have a simplistic view, but I believe that my ancestors were thankful for the same things we are – healthy, happy family and food on our table with a roof over our heads. Not overly complicated, just time to spend with one another and a successful year. Usually we are caught-up in our everyday lives, and throughout the year we struggle, we have our joys and disappointments; this is the time of year to look back and just be thankful that we made it through it all. I imagine that our ancestors were just like us. Different problems and joys, but still thankful they just made it through.”
Sabrina, Document Preservation
“My wife winning her fight with breast cancer.”
Brandon, Product Management
“When I was a little girl we lived on the streets in Los Angeles. Shortly after that my mom left and we were placed in foster care. Being homeless is not fun, so this Thanksgiving I am grateful to be on the inside of the window with people who love me. I am grateful for simple things; toothpaste, toilet paper, hot and cold running water, deodorant, a nice warm bed and lots of blankets. I have many blessings!”
Crystal, Document Preservation
“I am grateful for my health and my family! It’s great to feel good again and I’m grateful everyday! I think my immigrant ancestors were extremely grateful for our great country and the opportunities they were given!”
“What am I most thankful for?
- Modern advances in the areas of communication (TV, computer, internet), travel (airplanes, cars), and day to day living (microwaves, washer/dryer, air conditioning).
“What do I think my ancestors were most thankful for?
- Modern advances in the areas of communication (telegraph, typewriter, photography), travel (ships, trains), and day to day living (matches, sewing machine, clocks).
“Hmm. No matter how much we think things change, some things never change.”
What am I grateful for? I’m grateful that I get to work, every day, with such wonderful, thoughtful people who are so very interested in helping us all discover, preserve and share the stories of those who came before us.
From our families to yours, have a wonderful, safe, gratitude-filled Thanksgiving!