Friday, March 30, 2007

I practiced Geneaholism yesterday

Yesterday had all the marks of a great Geneaholic day. I was on the computer by 8 AM, read my email, read my politics web sites and genealogy news, and posted a note on Genea-Musings. I received three queries through the CVGS web page recently, and I worked on them for awhile.

My plan was to go to the Family History Center and read the microfilm that I ordered a month ago. I got there at about 10:15, and immediately realized that I had left my RI Probate notes at home. I decided to read the first three volumes of Westerly (RI) town records on the film anyway, which include probate records. I remembered that I was searching for Champlin and Kenyon probates, and reviewed my ahnentafel for the names and death dates. The original records have a lot of bleed through, cramped writing, and some blotches and dark pages. After an hour of scrolling through the film, I had identified the important pages and took the film to the microfilm scanner/printer. I scanned and saved 24 pages and copied them onto my flash drive for printing at home later. I ordered two films on the Bresee family and headed for home, eating my lunch (an apple and cookies) on the way.

When I got home, at 1 PM, I checked my email again, grabbed some baloney for lunch, and wrote a blog post about my concerns with FamilySearch Indexing. Then I remembered that Thursday at 1 PM is the time for Family Roots Radio, so I tuned in at about 1:30, just in time to hear the end of the Dick Eastman interview. I listened to the rest of Kory's program, then listened to the program from the week before, featuring Leland Meitzler. Afterwards, I blogged about that too.

While listening to the programs, I worked on finding Minerva. One of my colleagues at CVGS had talked about her Minerva --?-- problem, so I decided to see if I could find a Minerva, age 7, in Indiana in the 1860 census, with a father born PA and a mother born IN. There were 116 Minerva's, and I checked all of them for their parents birthplaces. There were 12 with the father born in PA, but only one of them had a mother born in IN. I'm not sure that Solomon and Juliet Dye are the right parents, but they might be.

My colleague had stated that Minerva (--?--) Crosby had died before 1930. I found her in the 1920 census in Riverside CA with her husband Thomas, so I checked the CA Death Index (at for 1905-1929 and found a record for Minerva Crosbie that was probably the right Minerva. I emailed my colleague with this find, which was new information for her, and suggested she obtain a death certificate - it might have Minerva's parents names on it. If not, then she should check her children's marriage and death records, and may be their Social Security applications, to see if her maiden name is listed.

Feeling pretty good about that, and since my wife had come home and wanted to check her email, I went in and read the rest of the newspaper while watching the news. We had dinner, and afterwards I came back to the computer after 6 PM and did a bit of research for a future post for April Fool's Day. Then it was time for Survivor Fiji and CSI, and I started my latest Catherine Coulter FBI novel. See, I do have some semblance of a life!

CSI was too gruesome, so I read the book, did the dishes, and checked my email, political news, and blog news one more time before going to bed at about 10:30.

Whew - about 10 hours of genealogy. Cool. That's pretty typical for me - I usually spend at least 6 to 8 hours each day doing something genealogy related, unless we are away from home. That will change soon when the Padres season starts and we either go to the games or watch them on TV.

Keen observers will recognize that I didn't really advance my own genealogy research during the day, except for copying the data at the FHC. I didn't enter any data into the computer, or search for information on the Internet. That's the main behavior that I need to change - do more to advance my own research in order to meet my goals for the year.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I Didn't Feel a Thing!

I haven't posted for a week - life has been busy here with the two grandsons and their parents here last weekend (put them on the plane on Tuesday) and on Wednesday we went north to visit my granddaughter and her parents.

While I was at their house, I did a bit of genealogy research, but was unable to log into the wireless network and therefore could not easily access my genealogy files. I did make one or two posts a day at Genea-Musings, but did no real research.

It is apparent that one tonic for Geneaholism is to spend more time with your spouse, friends, children and grandchildren. When the little ones are as fun, and as cute, as my three are, it is easy to do this.

We got home on Sunday afternoon, and I had to spend several hours getting ready for the CVGS meeting today - making a flyer, program agenda, and editing the speaker's handouts to minimize page count. I also posted twice to the blog. I still didn't do any real research, but I feel the NEED for it soon - I have films at the FHC waiting for me - maybe tomorrow!

What tonics for Geneaholism do you have?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Discovered at last

Jasia at the Creative Gene has discovered my new blog tonight, and earns the grand prize of a beautiful suitably inscribed certificate to proudly display on her wall at home, or anywhere else she chooses to place it. Now I have to come up with the certificate!

She even broadcast her find to the genealogy blogging world, and this site received a few more visits today (11 so far) than yesterday (1).

That means that I have to delve into my geneaholic personality more and post about it. Maybe some day-by-day accounts of my genealogy escapades will work.

Today was easy - I had an hour online after I woke up from my nap before lunch
and I posted two notes on Genea-Musings. Why did I have a nap before lunch? Because we had the grandsons overnight by ourselves. I got the 1 year old who wakes up frequently in the night. So I got about 6 hours in three sessions, and stayed home from church to take a nap. Then tonight, I spent about an hour going through the 1790 census records on Ancestry to find Bresee (and variants) families in New York, plus email and reading my favorite blogs and sites.

Blogging will probably be light all week - the grandsons go home on Tuesday and we go to my granddaughters house on Wednesday until Saturday. Life is fun - the Geneaholic is learning to spend time on productive and fun things outside of genealogy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Feeding Geneaholism?

This weekend will be a real test of my ability to feed my geneaholism. My daughter and my two grandsons are coming to visit and my time to do genealogy research, and blogging, will be limited to nap times and late evenings.

I call the boys, and my granddaughter, the "14th generation" when I post about them, since they are the 14th generation from the immigrant Robert Seaver who settled in Roxbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634.

See you next week!

Nobody has commented yet that they have "found" this blog...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Feeling Guilty

A real Geneaholic will always bite off more than s/he can chew. For instance, my genealogy "life" currently includes:

1) Finding primary information material in original sources for my ancestral families (for instance - vital, probate, land, military, church records). I usually try to work on one locality at a time in order to make complete surveys of the available data and not have to order microfilms more than once.)

2) Entering all of the biographical and record material into my databases. I have a fine stack of papers waiting to be abstracted or transcribed.

3) Reading the magazines and journals I receive and try to apply lessons learned or information gained to my own research.

4) Listen to genealogy podcasts and downloaded conference talks, tune into Family Roots Radio each week, and check Roots Television occasionally.

5) Lead the Chula Vista Genealogical Society effectively at board meetings, Research Groups and program meetings - and attend committee meetings, Computer Group, and other functions. Keeping several balls in the air to make the society work seamlessly is almost always the norm.

6) Attend genealogy society meetings and seminars in San Diego when they occur.

7) Create presentations and programs for the local genealogy societies. I try to create three a year in response to perceived needs for program topics.

8) Help friends, colleagues or correspondents with their family history when or if they want help.

9) Write blog posts that inform, amuse, or stimulate my readers. I have used my blog posts to provide articles for the CVGS newsletter.

Why am I feeling guilty? Mainly because I don't seem to spend enough time on items 1 and 2. The rest of the items are part of my normal daily or weekly routine now, for better or for worse. I don't want to give them up. I like doing them. They makes me feel competent and admired.

I also feel guilty that I hide myself away in my genea-cave for several hours every night while my Linda watches TV or talks on the phone. She enjoys hearing about my genealogy journey and really enjoys meeting people and going to new places on vacation.

How about you - do you feel guilty doing genealogy research and the other activities related to genealogy? Does genealogy work interfere with your work or personal life? or Tell me about how you deal with this.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Signs of the Geneaholic

I know that there have been many humorous sayings, taglines, poems, and prose about being a Geneaholic.

Before I go find them and post them, I thought I would post my own "signs" that I am a Geneaholic.

1) I usually spend 6 to 10 hours a day on the computer doing genealogy work or research.

2) The most exercised muscles of my body are my fingers and my eyes.

3) Instead of counting sheep when I'm sleepless, I recite my ancestry. I can usually go 6 or 7 generations on both my father's side and my mother's side. I do this trying to put my grandchildren to sleep, also.

4) My ahnentafel is about 70 pages long (single-spaced, space between generations, 15 generations).

5) My genealogy cave is jam packed with paper. I have notebooks crammed full of secondary source material in bookcases. The genealogy periodical collection is about two feet high over a 10 foot length of bookcases. There are deed abstracts and copies of probate records piled up in the closet. The "to file" pile is 18 inches high.

6) I have about 20 different FamilyTreeMaker databases. I make a new one for each "client" I work for.

7) I have four different genealogy software packages on my computer, but I use FTM as my first choice.

8) I try to post 2 to 5 blog posts each day at Genea-Musings. I feel guilty if I don't!

9) I go to the Family History Center regularly and obtain more primary documents from microfilms, even though I have about 36 inches of papers waiting to be abstracted or transcribed.

10) I am drawn to New England, and go often. My cousins there don't understand why we come so's the cemeteries, of course! And the libraries, the museums, the history, and the homes.

That's enough for now - off the top of my head (which does not have much else resting there).

Cheers -- Randy

Friday, March 9, 2007

I am a Geneaholic

Welcome to my new genealogy blog - dedicated to defining, discussing, and perhaps recovering from, the dreaded obsession to ... genealogy research.

There are people, like me, who live, think and breathe genealogy all day long, almost every day. We love the challenge of being a family history detective - of finding and researching our own ancestors, and helping family, friends and colleagues find their ancestry. Some of us are professionals - take clients, write genealogy articles or books, or teach. I am not a professional in the strict sense of the term - but I aspire to produce an outstanding research product for everyone I work with.

What is the genealogy of the Geneaholic name?

Lee Anders had a blog by that name until recently. She was very kind to offer the domain name of to me when she decided that she no longer wanted to use it. Since I absolutely loved the name from the time she invented it, I leaped at the opportunity. The domain name is parked for awhile until I can put a web page together that does it justice.

Of course, a good web page needs a blog, so I decided to open this blog so that nobody else could grab it and hold it hostage. When the web page goes live, I will probably change the URL of this blog to a web page URL.

I have been genea-blogging since April 2006 at Genea-Musings -, and will continue that effort. If you are interested in genealogy research tips and ancestral stories, please come visit me at Genea-Musings.

Here's a contest: Who will find this blog first? And broadcast it to the genea-blogosphere? The prize? A beautiful certificate from the Geneaholic suitable for framing to recognize your abilities. What - you think I'm rich?