Sunday, February 20, 2011

Technology - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History #8

This weeks topic for 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is Technology. What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What type of technology do you enjoy using today and which do you avoid?

Color Television. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this topic. 

Just like most technological advances, Color TV existed long before it became mainstream. There were a few shows broadcast in color starting about 1953 and when Bonanza premiered on NBC in 1959 it was in color even though most everyone who had a TV at that time probably still just had a black and white one. At least that was the case here in small town Kentucky. 

I don't remember exactly when we got a color TV but I remember when my parents' friends got one. We all went over to their house to watch it. My guess is that was somewhere between 1961-1963. I remember a room full of people anxiously waiting for, what else, Bonanza to start. Everyone was so excited and so amazed at how great it looked. No doubt Bonanza was responsible for selling many color televisions but I bet it didn't look quite a great as we thought at the time.

Technological advances really exploded after my childhood. I remember the first time I heard about a VCR. It was sometime in the mid-1970's and a friend at the office called the only store in town that had one to check the price. It was $2,500.00. I'm not kidding. (And no, I didn't buy one for several more years.) My first VCR was a Betamax with the remote attached to a cord. I got a cell phone after the smaller ones came out. By smaller, I mean it wasn't a bag phone but it was still bigger and much heavier than cordless land line phones are today. It had a flat fee of something like $25 a month plus you paid for every call and it often didn't have a signal. Calls in my area (which was pretty small) were $.25/minute. Then there was also roaming fees and long distance charges. Needless to say I didn't use it much. My first digital camera was one megapixel. I don't think I ever took a shot with that camera that I didn't also take with my film camera. 

Genealogy is definitely the reason for many of my tech toys and most of the software I use. I wanted a GPS to mark cemeteries and historic family sites. The fact that it could help me find my way around was a secondary benefit. Without genealogy I would probably just have one computer and I surely wouldn't have four scanners.

I haven't really avoided any kind of technology but item that I don't have is an e-reader. There was a time when I would have loved one of those but I rarely read a hard copy book anymore (unless it's a genealogy reference type). If I'm sitting down with time to read, I'm usually doing something genealogy related. These days I get most of my "reading" done in the car with my iPod and books from

I couldn't have imagined back when we were all sitting around watching Bonanza in color for the first time that I'd someday be walking around with a phone/computer in my hand so that I could be in constant contact with not just family and friends but the world. 

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History is a series of weekly blogging prompts created by Amy Coffin of The We Tree Genealogy Blog to encourage researchers to write about their own lives. Details can be found at GeneaBloggers

TV Clipart courtesy of


  1. OMG - "color TV" was the first thing that came to my mind, too - and we also went to a neighbor's house to watch Bonanza!

  2. Us too, Bonanza. The first color show I saw was Peter Pan with Mary Martin. Linda, there are good memories here, thanks. BTW, my first camcorder cost $1,000.

  3. I bet Bonanza was the first show many people saw in color. I didn't even think about camcorders. It would take a book to talk about all the advancements we've seen.

  4. plain old black and white tv was the first thing that came to my mind. lol.