I don't like throwing away anything. Everything has historical value to me - even my utility bills from when I was first married. My wife finally convinced me to get rid of them last year, but I scanned a few, just to keep the evidence of where we lived. One thing I won't part with is my archive of emails - I have them all (except for the spam of course) - from my first email sent on August 28, 1998 to the present. There's a lot of history in the 8GB of correspondence - I wish my ancestors would have started using email a lot sooner....
This week I decided to import my personal email account and all 13 1/2 years of emails (received and sent) into Gmail. Fortunately Gmail will still let me use my personal email address to send and receive emails, but I will also get the benefits that come along with Gmail. It's taken several days now to import everything, and it's got several more to go.
During the process I've had the chance to re-read some of the very first emails I sent. Naturally, many of them relate to genealogy. I even found emails about two genealogy-related job offers - one I declined and the other I accepted (and here I am today...). You might not find them as amusing and memorable as I did, but I'm happy I kept them - it has helped to document my personal story. Here are a few of the early emails I sent.
The first email I ever sent (August 28, 1998)
Drew - Will you let me know via email if you got this message. I sent it on the 28th. Thanks, Geoff Rasmussen
My first genealogy-related email ever sent (September 1, 1998)
Dear Bill, School has started up again here in Provo, so my genealogy time has dramatically decreased, however, I wanted to write you a quick note to express my appreciation for you posting your Smart genealogy on your web page. It is very clear, and easy to understand. Just a couple of months ago, I only knew of Sarah Smart as being born about 1830, nothing else. I have loved getting to know my ancestors and enjoy corresponding with distant cousins such as yourself. I do have a few dates that you didn't have, and when I get reorganized here I'll pass them along. Until next time, take care, Geoff Rasmussen
Realizing that email is way better than snail mail (September 6, 1998)
Aunt Jessie - All of the gedcoms worked perfectly! Thank you so very much. I love email - it's so much faster! Geoff and Tanya
Canceled my 1-month free Ancestry.com subscription (September 7, 1998)
I am writing to cancel my 1-month free subscription. When I was told that it was free, I didn't know that you would charge me for that month. Please cancel this and refund my money. Thank you. Geoffrey D. Rasmussen
I guess I asked for Family Tree Maker software for Christmas (October 25, 1998)
Mother, Tanya has come up with this Christmas list that you wanted. Geoff: Family Tree Maker, 2" white binders, 3" electrodes and battery charger.
My response to my very first spam email received (November 6, 1998)
Please stop sending me these kind of messages, and messages talking about the rat extermination problem. Geoff Rasmussen, BYU student.
I wonder where I would be today if I accepted this job offer (January 24, 1999)
[To Mom] I attended a national genealogy conference yesterday - my boss paid for it. I got to meet some of the BIG names from all over the country. An important person who works at Ancestry.Com wants me to work for him, being the head acquisitions manager, traveling all over the country to see what's available. I'm going to get graduated first, but they offered an internship for me. I'll be touring their place in the next few weeks.
My very first email about Asa Clark Brown (January 28, 1999)
Carol, It is true that Asa Brown and family were found in the 1850 Census of Neshannock, Lawrence, Pennsylvania. Doesn't give any clues about possible parents. I'll try to remember to send you a copy with the others. Geoff
My first genealogy business idea - I think someone else took my idea (February 9, 1999)
I'm thinking about starting my own business. Searching census records, digitizing them, and distributing them through a web site. Just a beginning thought.
Thinking about having our first child (February 9, 1999)
We've been reading baby books, and really are concentrating on what we eat.
My first email (a small portion of it) sent to Legacy and the resulting job offer from Dave Berdan to work for Legacy (March 5, 1999)
For your info, I am the computer specialist at the BYU Family History Center. Also, I am a genealogy major. You might understand my difficulties in finding just the right family history software program. I own just about every one there is, and must make a decision about which one to use. I am heavily experimenting with Legacy 2.0, which I enjoy very much…. [listed a couple of bugs I found, and sent a bunch of suggestions]
Dave’s response (March 9): Want a part time job demonstrating Legacy to all the bookstores in the Salt Lake / Provo valley???????
My response (March 10): Yes, I'd be very interested in demonstrating Legacy in the bookstores around here. Send me some information if you'd like.
And the rest is history....
What about you? What do you do with your emails - save 'em or keep 'em? Any suggestions for me on my new adventures with Gmail?