Contraptions that Change Genealogical Research

This is the handout from a talk I gave a few times. Knowing history of items as well as civilizations can help open our minds to what life was like for an ancestor and allow us to think about their life more the way they might have.

ContraptionInvented / PopularizedImpact on Genealogy
Smoke Signals  
Cave Paintings  
Papyrus4000 BCLed to paper
Ink2500 BC 
Sailing Ships1000People could travel more
Printing Press1450Documents & Books are printed; multiple copies can be made quickly
Trains1804People could travel more; farther; quicker
Steamships1830’sPeople could travel more; farther; quicker; safer
Fax Machine1843Quicker communications
Telegram1845Quicker communications
Typewriter1868Standardized typeset; New Technology
Telephone1876Quicker communications; New Technology
Electricity1879Easier to do things at night; schedule changes
Unions1880Shorter work day; more social time
Mimeograph Machines1884Broader communications
Automobile1886People could travel more; farther; quicker
Ball Point Pen1888Neater handwritten pages
File Cabinet1890’sChanges how things are organized
Point and Shoot Camera1900Photographs for the masses
Airplane1903People could travel more; farther; quicker
Radio1920’sQuicker communications
Computer1930’sShift from farming to offices
Television1940’sQuicker communications; New Technology
Interstate Highway System1950’sPeople could travel more; farther; quicker
Transistor Radio1954Quicker communications; New Technology
Scanners1963Digitization of documents
Personal Computer1977Quicker communications; New Technology
The Internet1989Quicker communications; New Technology