Friday, January 26, 2007

How in the world did this happen to me?

I've given a lot of thought to the people who have helped me get to where I am in my genealogy research and the genealogy community. I finally realized it was many people, and that without each contribution I wouldn't know as much as I do, or even be doing the research today. The ones that stand out (in no particular order):

1) My uncle Edward R. Seaver (my father's only brother) took the time to sit with me for two hours on a rainy day in Leominster, Mass. in July 1982 and patiently answer my questions about the family, including his childhood and life story. Who, what, when, where. We went through the photo albums and family papers that he had. I was smart enough to make a cassette tape of the conversation! Over the next few years, he encouraged me to look deeper into the family history, and occasionally sent "goodies" to me - the prize being the Civil War pension file of my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (my only Civil War soldier).

2) My aunt Marion (Seaver) (Braithwaite) Hemphill (the oldest of my father's siblings) put together a Seaver genealogy when she was a schoolteacher in the 1950's, using published sources and her own family knowledge. I made several tapes with her over the years. She loved reading my yearly family newsletters and gave me some unique family pictures.

3) My aunt Geraldine (Seaver) Remley (the youngest of my father's siblings) has been a fount of knowledge about the family. She made three hour-long tapes in 1990 telling everything she knew about the extended family and her own life. She lived with her mother until she died, and knew all the family secrets. I still visit Aunt Gerry (she lives in Maine) and we talk about the family, look at pictures, and share great memories.

4) My mother, Betty (Carringer) Seaver, saved all of the "treasures" handed down from her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, including pictures, family papers, family Bibles. She was an only child of only children, and the stuff just accumulated (thank goodness!). In the years before she died, we would sit and go over a handful of photos trying to identify people and times, or just talk about the kind of people her parents and grandparents were. I found things in the closets when we sold the house that are priceless - the account books, the land deeds, the wills and other papers.

5) The patient staff people at the San Diego Family History Center, especially Ray Dawley. They taught me the ropes for several years, and I was a willing student. I went almost every Saturday from 1988 to 2003 - ordering microfilms, reading and copying records, etc. I think that access to primary information in original records on microfilm (e.g., probate records, land records, town records) has been the most help in my genealogy research in proving relationships.

6) My wife, Angel Linda, who has encouraged and supported me all these years - knowing that this is a wholesome hobby/obsession that will promote family interest and unity. We usually take a genealogy vacation every year and she is really good at finding folks hiding in graveyards, and she loves meeting and talking with cousins and other researchers. She doesn't really like repositories, so she usually goes shopping or sits by a pool and talks to people when I go to a library on our trips.

7) A number of researchers who were on the Prodigy computer service in 1992-1993. The names I recall include Linda Turcotte, Carrie Cote, Dot Griebel, hmmm, a blank mind - I know I've left important people out here, sorry about that. The Massachusetts genealogy board was real active and many in this group lived in Massachusetts and helped many of us find records, took pictures of gravestones, etc. It was a wonderful group of people - when we all left Prodigy, we stayed together via a round-robin package of papers for over two years. Many went on to other computer services. It was great to be in a community of active researchers with similar interests.

8) My colleagues at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society. I started attending meetings in 1993, and have given about 15 presentations to the society since then. We have a wonderful group of people who have become friends and colleagues, and the group is growing. We started a research group in 2003 (my first year on the Board) and that has helped many of our members solve some of their research problems and also become better researchers. Leading the research group led me to hunting for genealogy news, thereby reading blogs, and voila, here I am, with one of my own.

One of my favorite sayings is "There are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain." This certainly applies to family relationships and genealogy research.

How about you? Think about who has really helped you in your genealogy journey, and blog about it. Then submit your post to the Carnival of Genealogy at by January 31.


Craig Manson said...


I have been thinking for awhile now about some folks I met in Monterey nearly 40 years ago. Herb Seaver was a teacher at Monterey High School and his twin children Jack and Mary were among my classmates. But I can't find them in any records. (There is a Herbert Seaver, born 1879, in San Ramon, on the 1880 census.) Do you know these folks?

Miriam Robbins said...

Randy, you certainly have been blessed with family members who shared their memories and memorabilia with you, as well as some great support groups!