Saturday, August 5, 2023

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Who Has Helped You the Most With Your Family History?

               Calling all Genea-Musings Fans:
It's Saturday Night again -
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along - cue the Mission Impossible music!):

1)  Ellen Thompson-Jennings wrote 
Who Has Helped You The Most With Your Family History? on her Hound on the Hunt blog this week.  That is a great prompt for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  Thank you, Ellen!

2)  Write your own blog post, or leave a comment on this post, or write something on Facebook.

Here's mine:

When I started my family history research in 1988, I had no idea what to do with the boxes of photographs and letters and newspaper clippings that I received from my mother.  There were sporadic visits to New England to see my father's siblings over the years, and they encouraged me to sort out my grandmother's story that we were descendants of Peregrine White, born on the Mayflower in 1620.  

I started going to the local libraries (Chula Vista, San Diego, SDGS, and Carlsbad) that had significant genealogy books and periodicals and searched for my family surnames.  However, the major help was found at the San Diego Family History Center, then on 10th Avenue in Hillcrest, where I was introduced to the FamilySearch state guides and to the FHL microfilm collection, especially the census records.  I went there every Saturday and got to know the nice LDS brothers and sisters who staffed the center.  

I had an IBM PC since 1983, so I adopted Family Tree Maker early on, then online bulletin boards, and Prodigy.  A new computer in 1992 brought more capability and Windows, so I could work faster and more efficiently.    

In the early 1990s, I got on the Prodigy network with a dial-up modem and found a wealth of cousins, especially in New England, who were willing to share knowledge and advice.  I also started attending CVGS and SDGS society meetings each month and heard many excellent presentations about resources, repositories, software, reports and charts, etc.  

We made several trips to New England from 1990 to 2007, and I visited the New England Historical and  Genealogical Society several times.  They had many surname and town record books, so I generated a lot of xerox copies for my ancestral families.  I used that information to order microfilms at the Family History Center that extended my family lines and provided a wealth of Seaver data.  

My family tree grew by leaps and bounds and by 1998 I had a lot of data from all of those repositories to fill out my pedigree chart and many surname binders with copies from books nd periodicals.  Then the Internet came along with databases and learning centers and I kept at it.  I can't identify one or two people who helped me the most.

I started doing genealogy presentations for CVGS in about 1996 and for SDGS in about 2004, and many other California societies over the years.  

I continued attending CVGS and SDGS meetings and the speakers offered plenty of new information and introduced me to the world of the NEHG Register and NGS Quarterly and I realized that I needed to up my game relative to standardizing my family tree dates, places and sources.  I studied the Genealogical Proof Standard and tried to follow those principles.  I obtained the book Evidence! Explained in the early 2000s, and decided to use the source templates in my database.  I switched to RootsMagic in about 2006 and used free form sources that mimicked the EE templates.  I also started blogging in 2006, and that provided a window to expand my knowledge as hundreds of geneabloggers wrote posts.  

In 2008, we started going to the SCGS Jamboree, the NGS and FGS conferences, and then the RootsTech conference and genealogy cruises with notable speakers, all of whom I respected and even worshipped.  

I think that the most influential person for me is Elizabeth Shown Mills because the GPS and EE molded my research over the past 20 years.


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2023, Randall J. Seaver

Note that all comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately.  

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, or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at


Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Here's mine. I had lots of mentors.

ByAPearl said...

Here is mine.

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here's mine. One for each side of the family tree: