Saturday, October 8, 2016

Which Relative Gave You Family Information? -- Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

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.

Here's mine:

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!


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at


Shirley Ann Rankin said...

Hi Randy,
My grandmother knew everything about the family. She lived to be 93 years old. I made a trip to see her a few years before she died. I brought my genealogy binder with me and I was able to ask her questions and show her what I had collected so far. This is when she told me she had lived in an orphanage for a time when she was very young. It was in 1930 at the beginning of the great depression. My great-grandmother, Martha, had become a widow with six children under the age of nine. She gave the two youngest to relatives to raise, and her four older children, including my grandmother, went to the Catholic orphanages in St. Louis. My grandmother and her sister went to the Girls orphanage, and their two brothers went to the Boys orphanage. A couple of years ago I finally got the papers from St. Louis, and it confirmed everything she had told me. The buildings that were the orphanages are still standing in St. Louis, and they are now used as schools. After two years, the four older children were able to return to their mother, but the two infants that were placed with relatives never did. One of the boys was living with an abusive guardian, and continually ran away. Very tough times for the family.

Janice Harshbarger said...

I've done a very few smart things in my life. One was filling out my wedding album, which contained spaces for family members back to great grandparents, for both my husband and myself. That information was pretty much what I had to go on, when I started looking for more data almost 40 years later. I did find a very few letters with some information, and later I found a letter from a relative who had written me at the time of my marriage. But mostly, I've done what I've done based on those trees which at least gave me names and vitals for my and my husband's great grandparents. I'm so glad I asked even those very basic questions, way back then!

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

Here is mine this week:

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

Yikes when I checked that link it didn't work. Let me try again.

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

Sorry I can't get the link to work but it does bring you to my blog and you can find the entry listed as the most recent post on the right where the blog entries are listed.

Janice M. Sellers said...

Three relatives get credit for helping me with important family information:

Seeds to Tree said...

My father’s mother who lived to 99 wrote to our relatives in Europe helping me with information on the family. She let me interview her for hours. Her stories were fascinating.

Nancy Ward Remling said...

I had two people that were very helpful in getting me started: