Gratitudes for Thanksgiving 2015

As I was sitting in a car being driven through Chicago en route from Rhode Island to Minnesota, reading compiled military service records and pension files for five Civil War veterans pulled from the collections of the National Archives by a researcher in Washington, DC, and sent to me electronically, I was struck by the large number of quite wonderful things that enabled me to peruse those records in my mobile setting. As a result, I wrote this post.

I am grateful for

  • The automobile that enables me to travel comfortably where I want to go, on my own schedule.
  • My daughter who is driving the automobile safely and carefully though traffic and who curated the playlist we are listening to though the car stereo.
  • The mapping software that is cuing us through the sound system to follow the correct route.
  • The mobile hotspot from my cellular provider that is connecting my iPad to multiple servers all over the world.
  • The iPad whose clear, bright screen allows me to read the CMSRs and pension records, zooming in and out as needed, and which is now allowing me to write this blog post on its built-in keyboard.
  • The easy-to-use WordPress software installed on my website that is allowing me to type and edit as I ride and will shortly publish this post for readers to discover.
  • The Dropbox software that allowed my researcher in Washington to create a link for me to access the files containing the hundreds of record images she created at the National Archives from my iPad or any other mobile device or computer I wish to use.
  • My researcher in Washington, Pamela Loos-Noji, Ph.D., who promptly provides me with high-quality color images of records I need, complete with proper citations.
  • My friend Angela Packer McGhie who introduced me to Pamela.
  • My teacher Elizabeth who showed me how to search broadly, wring information from records, analyze it, correlate it with information from other records, and create conclusions. The CMSRs and pension records I am reading were created by FANs of my primary research subject.
  • The archivists at the National Archives who preserve and care for the records in their custody and make them available to the public.
  • The Pension Office officials and clerks who created and preserved the records I am using. Every time I use a pension record I am awed by the meticulous attention to detail and research reflected in these records.

These are some of the many things I am grateful for as I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving 2016. What are you grateful for?