In the
AfriGeneas Spotlight

Eric Thomas

Eric ThomasPassionate About Computing and Genealogy

Always On Call for AfriGeneas

Need a password? Who you gonna call? Problem posting? Who you gonna call? Inappropriate messages need deleting? Who you gonna call? Need to subscribe/unsubscribe? Who you gonna call?

He manages 50 AfriGeneas mailing lists on Yahoo. He manages 65 mailing lists on the AfriGeneas server. He manages the main mailing list at MsState.edu. He keeps the meeting rooms and chat center functioning and user friendly. He is a broad shoulder to lean on. He is the mechanic under the hood keeping the AfriGeneas engine running smoothly.

Call him Eric . . . ET . . . Admin Assistant . . . The Help Desk.  Eric Thomas answers to all of those names, often concurrently. His arm is easy to twist and consistently remains twisted. 

And what a sense of humor! Eric knows every smiley on the internet.

Eric Thomas became actively involved in genealogy in the early 1980's. He began experimenting with his Atari 800XL home computer with graphics for video recording and with online Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) that dealt with genealogical research. BBSes predated the World Wide Web and all networked computing had to be done with very slow modems that connected one computer to another via regular telephone calls which often involved very expensive long distance phone calls for the connections.

When Eric discovered genealogy software in the 80's, he was up and running with this new way to collect and file all of the data gathered about his ancestors and family. In 1983, he incorporated a basic family tree chart in a video presentation that he produced for family members. This was done with the Atari computer before graphic programs were available to the consumer for their home use.

He also began frequenting genealogy BBSes and about 1990 he became a regular visitor to Tracks, a BBS that that Valencia King Nelson operated out of Anniston, AL. He has been affiliated with AfriGeneas and its precursors ever since. According to Eric, "It's been a long and gratifying relationship for me with Valencia's BBS and AfriGeneas." 

In addition to his work with AfriGeneas, Eric is a founding member and past two term president of the Sacramento African American Genealogy Group (SAAGG).

One of his most memorable experiences as president of SAAGG was a research trip to Salt Lake City:

"In March 2003, SAAGG took 18 people by Amtrak train from Sacramento to Salt Lake City in March 2003 for three days to research at the Family History Library. Several researchers found information that they had been seeking for years. All found the experience well worth the effort and expense. All arrangements were handled by SAAGG, and because of this, SAAGG was able to secure discounted prices for all services. The FHL staff was very accommodating and helpful. The train ride was easy on everyone and an interesting change-of-pace from an airline. At the monthly meeting prior to the trip, SAAGG members viewed a video purchased from the FHL detailing how to plan and effect research at their facility, which was immensely helpful to the participants." 

Originally from Philadelphia, Eric now lives in Sacramento, CA. He is twice retired from careers as a computer programmer and from the Sacramento Fire Department. He has one son.

Eric Thomas is very modest and prefers to work behind the scenes. We are proud to shine the September AfriGeneas SPOTLIGHT behind the scenes on Eric as he takes a curtain call. 

Applause! Applause!

  

15 Oct 2004 | 06 Aug 2006
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