What Inspires Me

Pinder Lula Bell and son Howard West c1904.I pick up my phone early in the morning to begin the process of sifting through the news feeds for the latest in genealogy, family history, historical archives, and technology, and I’m inspired.

A news article catches my eye on the ease of web indexing with new technology, making it easier than ever for volunteers to use the web, a laptop, tablet, or even their smartphone to assist with indexing records on FamilySearch, and I’m inspired.

A photograph in the hallway is of my great-grandmother holding my grandfather, the only picture we have of her, and the clue that revealed her existence to me, and led me on the path to genealogy studies over a lifetime, and I’m inspired.

I walk into my office and see my family history chart, all color coded to match the file folder colors in the filing cabinet nearby, and I’m inspired.

On my desktop computer, the web browser is opened to an obituary in a newspaper of one of my ancestors, and I’m inspired.

A simple web search turns up several hundred possibilities that may answer a genealogy question for me today, and I’m inspired.

A comment from a fan of my family history site asked a good question about how to resolve four conflicting bits of evidence for a birth date of her great-ought grandmother, and I’m inspired.

A fan of this site asked me what the latest news was on digital book scanning for home offices, and I’m inspired.

A post by a fellow genealogist takes a moment to thank the volunteers that make our family history research possible today, finding, preserving, digitizing, transcribing, and indexing records, and making these available to everyone researching their family tree, and I’m inspired.

I walk up the long gravel road to the mailbox and find a personal thank you letter from my local genealogy group for being such a valuable member, and I’m inspired.

An email from a cousin in Wisconsin uncovers some family papers that might uncover more details in our research into our Norwegian family branch, and I’m inspired.

A friend swings by to drop off some supplies for an upcoming conference on writing I’m producing, and asks me if I’m still into this “family history thing.” We sit down and she says, “About my own family, I’ve been wondering…” and I’m inspired.

I am inspired by the big things in genealogy research and technology today, but it is often the small things, the things we tend to take for granted, that inspire me to keep going, minute by minute, hour by hour, year after year.

To all the small things, and the people who make them happen, I thank you. You inspire me.