Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Ancestors, You and Technology

I don’t know how Randy Seaver picks so many fun topics for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun on Genea-Musings, but he does. This week, the topic has multi-parts and spans hundreds of years:

For this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – please address these issues:

  • What technology changes did your ancestors see?
  • What technology changes have you seen?
  • Did your family own one of those early changes? – such as television
  • Do you like or dislike technology?
  • What do you think has been the best technological change in your lifetime and historically?
  1. In terms of technology changes, my great great grandmother, Sarah Moriah Crouse, probably saw the greatest number of technological advances, as she was born in 1833 and died in 1930.

Sarah, seated, not long before she died

Sarah was born in Keswick, a small village in New Brunswick, Canada. Life there was primitive by today’s standards and probably even by the standards of the “big city” of Calais, Maine, where she moved before the age of ten.

She saw the birth of the Industrial Revolution, trains that crossed the continent, homes with electricity in them, automobiles and airplanes for travel, telephones, sewing machines, washing machines, electric irons, modern stoves with ovens and cook tops and so much more.

My great grandfather had a car, but I have no idea when he first bought one. As he had a general store by 1930 and perhaps used the car for deliveries, I believe that Sarah might well have enjoyed a ride in it.

2. In my own lifetime, change has come even more rapidly, but I don’t believe the advancements are as extreme as what Sarah saw happen. Most of the technological changes during my life has been related to modern comforts and ease of doing things, not as much connected to vast improvements in living conditions. Airplanes became jets; pushing buttons opens the garage door, starts a car and dials a smartphone.  Hotels use electronic room keys. Computers have led to internet connectivity through desk tops, lap tops, phones and tablets, enabling communication and education from home. We recently looked at appliances, some of which can now be controlled through cell phones. Digital cameras and webcams provide instant communication and sharing with anyone in the world with the same devices. Television shows can now be watched at any time and viewers can even “rewind” a show if they missed something or want to see it again.

3. I don’t know when my parents or Nana bought their first televisions, but we had one before I turned 5 in the mid 1950s.

Nana had a similar, if not the same, television upstairs from us.

My maternal grandfather actually owned a car dealership that went bust. His mother was the cause of a car accident about 1925, so the family evidently owned cars fairly early on.

4. For the most part, I love technology. Everyone who knows me knows I hate cell phones, but aside from that one quirk, I love computers. I have no understanding of how they technically work, but have developed skills using various devices and programs. I actually learned how to set up my WordPress blog without any help from my husband. He was very impressed!

However, when technology doesn’t work, I feel like throwing the computer out the window. Technology outages affect the telephone, the internet, air travel, online purchases and appointments.

5. I would have to say that I believe the best technological change both historically and in my lifetime is one and the same – the internet. It has taken over every facet of lives around the world and, for the most part, in very positive ways.


2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Ancestors, You and Technology”

  1. Great post. Your great-grandmother was like my grandmother, who lived to 99. In that long lifespan, lots of things can change.

  2. What an interesting post, Linda. A lifespan of 100 years, especially crossing the 19th and 20th centuries, makes for lots of interesting changes and advancements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.