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            December, 2004

      Carol Sanderson, Editor
      Charles Hansen, Technical Advisor


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 Thanksgiving and Christmas
- by Charles Hansen

        Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. was first celebrated in early colonial times in New England. After the first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists in 1621, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Native Americans. The Pilgrims held their Thanksgiving in 1621 as a three day "thank you" celebration to the leaders of the Wampanoag Indian tribe and their families. It was their good fortune that the tradition of the Wampanoags was to treat any visitor to their homes with a share of whatever food the family had, even if supplies were low.

        After the first New England Thanksgiving, the custom spread throughout the colonies, but each region chose its own date. In 1789 George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed November 26 a day of Thanksgiving.

        Thanksgiving Day continued to be celebrated in the United States ondifferent days in different states until Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book, decided to do something about it. Finally, in 1863, President Lincoln issued a White House proclamation calling on the "whole American people" wherever they lived to unite "with one heart and one voice" in observing a special day of thanksgiving He set the last Thursday of November for that purpose. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt advanced Thanksgiving Day one week. However, since some states used the new date and others the old, it was changed again 2 years later. Thanksgiving Day is now celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

        Since Thanksgiving is just past I feel that as genealogists we have a lot for which to be thankful. Those original colonists kept wonderful records, so if your ancestors came to New England you can probably find them easily. We also néed to be thankful to all the people that have made those records available to others, by preserving, copying, indexing, printing and posting not only New England records but records worldwide. The wonderful people at the LDS deserve a huge "Thank You" from all of us. Local genealogical societies also do a lot of record preserving, copying, printing, and even posting those records on-line.

        We should also be thankful for all the people teaching seminars every year,so we can all learn to be better genealogists. There are local, state, regional and national seminars and all are wonderful ways to learn to be a better genealogist. Most are put on by volunteers. We should also be thankful for all the volunteers who help genealogists in so many ways. They may be found answering queries publishing bulletins, extracting records, running websites, helping people in libraries and archives, and running chat rooms. Thanks for all the help.

        Christmas comes this month and we can wish for:

  • great Christmas newsletters that list all the new marriages and children born during the year, but we will probably read about Aunt Minnie's gall bladder surgery,

  • new genealogy software, and a lot of new or updated genealogy programs will arrive in time for stocking stuffers,

  • clear and concise queries, those without any dates or ages are very hard to research,

  • that all the photographs we have taken will have all the people identified and a date so our descendants can figure out who are in the photographs,

  • good sources in any new data we find and for new cousins to share our databases,

  • the data to blow a huge hole in our brick walls,

  • but most of all we can wish for another year of good health so we can continue on researching, volunteering, teaching and web hosting.






 Holiday Thoughts
- by Carol Sanderson

        This is the time of year when I start thinking of what greetings I will send for the Holidays. I am writing this before Thanksgiving but you will be reading it afterwards.

        This year I am particularly thankful to be home again. It was a long seven weeks in the rehab center. My leg is healing well, they tell me, and I am thankful for that. I think that after that, I am most thankful for all my friends, especially my cyber family for their prayers, support, and just knowing that they were there for me. Other friends and family close by have made things easier for me also. Thank you, everyone.

        Charles wrote of Christmas wishes. I have some too. I wish for all of you:

  • the ability to continue your research with renewed enthusiasm

  • to find ways through your brick walls...by sharing information with others and also by working collateral lines. Siblings of your ancestor may have the vital information you are seeking

  • to listen for your ancestors as they call to you. Yes they do in many ways as they want you to find them. They will often point you to clues as to ways to find them

  • the joy of finding new cousins among the living and with them perhaps new ways to go back more generations in your search.

        I, along with all of the other contributors to this site in whatever way, wish all of you

  A Healthy, Prosperous and Joyous Holiday Season!


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