Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):
1) Was there a relative that was a big help in giving you family information? Who and how was he/she helpful?
2) Share your response in a comment on this blog post, in your own blog post (and provide a link in a comment on this post), or on Facebook or Google+.
My thanks to Jacquie Schattner for providing this challenge via email.
When I started this journey in 1988, I thought I knew a lot about my Seaver family because I had visited with my aunts and uncle several times. I really didn't know much.
Three aunts and my uncle made audio cassette tapes with me talking about the family and their lives. My Aunt Marion had a typescript that she passed to me that she wrote in the 1950s while a schoolteacher in Massachusetts. She copied it out of the Westminster, Massachusetts town history book, and I eventually found out there were errors in it.
My Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth made tapes with me and told family stories.
The big prize was my Aunt Geraldine's audio tapes - she made four of them in 1989, each an hour long, and it took me 40 pages of single-space typing to transcribe it all. She made notes before she taped, and provided the names, dates and places for the Seaver, Hildreth and Richmond families and the stories. Gerry had been her mother's youngest child and her mother's caregiver for the last 20 years of her mother's life. She was clinical in her observations, which I appreciated, but she knew her observations might hurt the feelings of her siblings and wanted me to keep them private until they had passed away.
Gerry was also the "family secret keeper" - she kept in contact with everyone (her five siblings, their 11 children and 20 grandchildren) and tried to visit each family occasionally. Gerry married Jim in 1970 and they had no children of their own, but Jim had three children by his first wife. When she died in 2007, I asked if I could have her Seaver photo albums and family papers, and the cousins agreed to that. She had at least four photo albums with sparse notations in the margins that I have scanned and filed. She also had some framed photos (including a Civil War era Union case ambrotype of Isaac and Lucretia Seaver) and some family papers (e.g., her mother's coroner's report, family obituaries, etc.). I scanned and digitized those too.
My Aunt Geraldine was a gem!