Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Randy Seaver Presents at the San Diego Genealogical Society

The San Diego Genealogical Society was fortunate to schedule Randy Seaver for yet another 2 great presentations to go along with the yearly Ice Cream Social. Randy, who we are privileged to have as a member of our Society, is a nationally known Blogger, Genealogy speaker and Webinar host. Once again I found Randy to be a very informative and engaging speaker.

Randy’s first presentation was entitled Randy’s Top 10 Genealogy Tips.

I have been doing genealogy since before computers and sometimes wonder if there is something new I can learn from a speaker.  As usual, there are ALWAYS new things to learn and new tips to try. Sometimes we get going with the ways we typically research or the sites we typically use and we miss other possible sites or other options within our familiar sites. Randy started by reviewing why he chose these tips, both free and paid genealogy resources as well as Genealogy search processes.

Randy’s tips ranged from better search techniques, such as; beginning a search in Ancestry by first going to a specific person in your tree versus the general ‘search’ location to techniques to better use hints/matches found within various collections. Randy also identified the best collections for finding digitized records, such as; books, newspapers, BMD records, locations where our ancestors may have lived/settled, and finding information about living relatives. Randy discussed the wealth of information on Find A Gave, beside birth and death information, and the importance of remembering to research the FAN (Family, Associates, Neighbors) Club of our ancestors.

I decided to try out several of Randy’s Tips to see what I could find:
  • First, I thought I would try Randy’s tip about searching for information in Ancestry from a person in my tree to see what information might turn up that I didn’t expect or hadn’t thought to look for and found the following City directories on my great-great uncle Jacob King:

I had previously looked in US City Directories under the ‘Search’ and ‘Card Catalog’ but these records hadn’t shown up. This is great information for plotting Jacob’s movements over the years.
  • Next, when looking for digitized books I generally use Google Books or Internet Archives but I didn’t know that if I look in FamilySearch under ‘Books’ I could search for Family History books. I found the following right away that will help me on my ‘Luce’ family line:

This will be a big help in finding family histories others have published without going to local libraries or historical societies that may be thousands of miles away!

Randy’s second presentation was entitled Using Collaborative “Big” Trees.

Randy discussed exactly what ‘collaborative family trees’ are and why you might want to contribute to one or all of these four main ‘big’ trees: WikiTree, Geni, Ancestry and FamilySearch Family Tree.  Afterwards he went in depth about each of these trees and discussed the main features as well as the benefits and drawbacks of using each one. I was surprised to learn that the FamilySearch Family tree has about 877 million profiles.
Randy concluded with explaining why he uses collaborative family trees. In looking at my own practice I currently use Ancestry and MyHeritage to post my public trees. I can see the benefits of having my profiles in some of the other “big” family trees and will definitely work on doing that in the future.

With the digital age things are happening so quickly and it is very difficult to keep up with new sites and new features. Thank-you Randy for expanding our minds and giving us a new perspective!  

Don’t forget to check out Randy’s blog at Genea-Musings and follow him on Twitter for more great tips and the latest information available on various genealogy websites, as well as, what he has learned about his ancestors.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. Thank you for the excellent summary. I'm glad you had some success. Try mining databases! That's a great photo too.

  2. Thank-you Randy! I can't wait to try out some of your other Tips. Glad you like the photo :)