In response to the editorial, "Our view: Don't let local history slip away," which included the following: "most of the people doing this work today are in the final chapters of their lives, and as they look around them, it's hard to find a reason to be optimistic that others will step up to take their place."
I agree, the future of our local historians hard work is frighteningly uncertain. It seems that, as more people spend their time on work, travel from city to city, and consume instant corporate entertainment, they have less time and interest in local history. However! To the people who guard our history from the ravages of time, I implore you! Hold on, just a little bit longer!
Living on the cusp of two information-era generations, I get the rare chance to look at both sides objectively. When older people see children with their faces glued to their smartphones, they may think of them as insular and irreverent. I agree, but only to an extent.
As the newest generation matures into adulthood, some thirst for what they never had. For some it's freedom. For others it's knowledge. Some crave tradition and belonging. Some even foment jealousy at the earlier generations. The information-era moves too fast. It breaks too many things. They search the internet, the grand human conscious, for belonging. They look for answers in each other, but also their past.
Like them, I searched the internet for information. Specifically my ancestry. Using nothing but my ancestry, the internet, and much luck, I traced my paternal lineage all the way back to the 1500s. From there I could find the exact square mile my ancestors came from. It was invigorating! I could reach out into the past, all thanks to one self-made historian on the other side of the world, who revealed all his hard work to the internet!
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Now I'm not saying "get with the times" and put all your pictures and documents onto the internet. Indeed, nothing can replace going to a museum, seeing your great grandfathers tools, or your great grandmothers house. What I'm trying to say is, hold on, just a little bit longer!
There's a new generation coming, and the internet is making them addicted to the consumption of knowledge. With reverence to history, they herald a renaissance of record keeping. Best of all, they will be eternally grateful for your patience and hard work.