Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Dear Randy: "How Do You Manage To Do All You Do?"

New Genea-Musings reader Barb says in a Comment to Monday Genea-Pourri - Week Ending 6 December 2020:

"Wow, I am stunned at how much you accomplished in a week! I was busy working on a variety of genealogy-related things, but my list of accomplishments is much shorter than yours. How do you manage this? Perhaps my question should be, "How do you keep from falling down deep rabbit holes that eat up all your time and attention?" There's just so much to learn, so much to discover! (I'm new to your blog. There's a wealth of information here!)"

Thank you, Barb, for the comment and compliment.  

The simple answer is "I have a lot of free personal time (being retired and isolating at home) and work at my genealogy 50-60 hours a week."  

1)  I choose to work on genealogy rather than spend a lot of time watching TV, social media, reading, shopping, walking or cleaning out the garage.  It's challenging and rewarding and fun for me.  Linda is happy to sit in her recliner and watch TV all day long while playing Yahtzee, Sudoku and word puzzle games.  Her mobility is limited (walker and wheelchair) and she has Alzheimers but is still relatively coherent.  I shop, cook, do laundry, clean and drive her to appointments, and do some gardening.  We stay home now more than before due to COVID-19, and we don't see our daughters and grandchildren much now due to COVID.  Hopefully, that will change.

2)  It all depends on attitude and priorities.  At age 77, my priority is to get my family tree, and resultant genealogy reports, into the genealogy world to help my descendants and relatives know about their ancestry, and to help other researchers learn about our common ancestors.  I've been working on this for 33 years now and I'm not finished.  I will never be finished, of course.  

3)  The overall goal is to leave finished genealogy research for my ancestors and my wife's ancestors to our family so that they know how they got to this point in time on the theory that "the best thing you can do for your children is to give them roots and wings."

I want to leave family history books for our ancestral families, with photos and stories of recent generations, and genealogies for earlier generations.  The books may be digital in ebook form (on platforms like, FamilySearch Books, and Forever) or published (in libraries and archives).  The books will be generated by family tree genealogy or publishing software.  

4)  I want to leave my family trees on Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast and FamilySearch, and also contribute information to the FamilySearch Family Tree, as part of a legacy.  In addition to my own ancestral research, I have researched my wife's ancestry, my grandchildren's father' ancestry, and persons with the Seaver/Sever/Sevier(s) surname, the Carringer surname, the Auble surname and the Vaux surname.  All of the research is unfinished, of course.

When I started writing my blog, a professional genealogists told me "You need to search for original records, cite your sources so you know where you found them, transcribe important documents so you don't miss anything, and write biographical sketches so that you know what information you already have."  I have tried to do that.  

5)  To get as much done in the shortest possible time, I set goals years ago to write about the following on my Genea-Musings blog:

*  Create an ancestor's biographical sketch once a week.  Hence, the 52 Ancestors post on Friday.

*  Transcribe a significant record (e.g., probate, deed, pension file, etc.) for an ancestor once a week.  Hence, the weekly Amanuensis Monday post.

*  Find and describe at least one new ancestral record once a week.  Hence the weekly Treasure Chest Thursday post.

*  Show a family photograph and talk about it once a week.  Hence the weekly (Not So) Wordless Wednesday post.

*  Find and publish a news article about a Seaver once a week to enhance my profiles.  Hence the weekly "Seavers in the News" post.

*  Watch at least one full-length webinar or YouTube video every week to enhance my genealogy education.

*  Keep track of what I have done in a journal - hence the weekly Monday Genea-Pourri post. 

6)  To contribute to the genealogy community, I also write about:

*  Best of the Genea-Blogs on Sundays.

*  Genealogy News and Education Bytes on Tuesdays and Fridays.

*  New and updated record collections on Findmypast (on Friday), Ancestry (Saturday) and FamilySearch (Saturday), and occasionally MyHeritage.

*  Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is a challenge for readers to learn something new or to tell a family story or experience.

I am also Newsletter Editor and moderator of the Research Group and DNA Interest Group of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, and participate in San Diego Genealogical Society meetings.  I speak to societies occasionally, but have cut back on that because of the travel and COVID restrictions.  We used to go every year to RootsTech and Genealogy Jamboree.

7)  To "grow" my family tree, I search every week for entries for my surname studies and for descendants of my 5th great-grandparents (which helps to identify common ancestors of my DNA matches) and add them to my RootsMagic family tree.  Once they are added with events and sources, I TreeShare them with my Ancestry Member Tree and add or share them with FamilySearch Family Tree profiles, then use the Record Hints to find more information.  I make a GEDCOM file occasionally and upload it to Findmypast and MyHeritage on a yearly schedule.  

8)  I follow the "Seaver CHUNK Theory of Creating Stuff" - do a little something every day or week or month, and in a few years you have a lot of stuff created.  To date, I have over 60,000 persons in my family tree and have written about 360 ancestor biographies, 560 record transcriptions, 699 Treasure Chest records, 646 Wordless Wednesday photos, 696 Best of the Genea-Blogs posts, etc.  

9)  I love - and look forward to - falling down research rabbit holes;  they keep me digging in the records and freshens my research.  Sometimes it's only an hour and I can add another family or branch to my tree, or help someone else.  Sometimes it takes days or weeks to solve a thorny research problem - which feeds my blog with fresh fodder and perhaps creates a presentation.  Rabbit holes are FUN, and we all need fun in our lives!

10)  There is a daily and weekly rhythm to my genealogy life.  I choose to do this because it also keeps me informed about the genealogy world, educated as to current and best practices, and I am able to contribute to the genealogy universe.  It keeps my mind working too, but I sit in my desk chair for far too long every day.  


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Susie Q said...

Hurray for the horse guy!!! There is a picture of my brother same age but not the same horse from early 1950's. Makes genealogy universal.

iamstevie23ami said...

WOW --- just talked about you, Randy, this afternoon to friends about how inspiring you are... I am so PROUD to learn how you and I are related and the thought you and I share bits of genetic material and imagine how we go back into the foggy mists where our ancestors were working so hard to survive and make life better and better... now we need to focus on the mental, consciousness, moral, empathetic, and loving aspects to our heritage... food for bodily survival was primary.. now food for the mind and soul for humanities' survival must be made primary.... thanks for being, and thanks for being "you"...

Unknown said...

Dear Randy
I am envious of your typing and time management skills. My wife commented the other day that I looked exhausted. I said I am, I just read one of Randy's transcriptions!!

Please know that your loyal readers and all the others you help along their genealogical journey appreciate all that you do and accomplish.

Pete Small

PS - It was me who asked about your shirt in that 1967 photo :-)

Betsey Cotter said...

I am guessing you have a lot of small trees of Seavers & variants which you occasionally are able to join to your own family IF/WHEN you identify a common person in two trees. How do you identify the common person? Do you keep all the names from all the trees in a database and scan periodically for duplicates?

I guess the unlying question is how data is managed in a one-name study.

Betsey Cotter

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Betsey,

I keep everything in RootsMagic, and if I find a new Seaver/Sever/etc. person I add them to the RM database, do some research for ancestors and descendants. Sometimes I get lucky and find that one of them is in my tree already. The Person List in RootsMagic shows names and birth years so when I've created a duplicate I can usually find it and merge the two profiles.

For a one-name study, the standard database has been a spreadsheet or a card catalog with names either disconnected or connected. I don't do that - I just use my RootsMagic file with all of my research in one file. That way I don't have to put profiles or tree branches into more than one tree. You can go to the Guild of One-Name Studies to see what they recommend at