Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Greatest Achievement

This week’s topic on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver is an interesting one.

1) We all need to pass on family stories to our descendants.  Some of the questions can be difficult to write about.  Let’s try this one:

2)  What will be the greatest achievement of your life?  Is it behind you, or still ahead of you?

Randy is right and some questions can be difficult – like this one. I’ve thought about it and decided to take the easy way out and stick to genealogy accomplishments. 🙂 That’s partly because my brain doesn’t think about me having accomplished “great” things and partly because I am in the midst of breaking through two big Loyalist Carlisle brick walls and my brain doesn’t want to think about anything else. 🙂

Therefore, genealogically speaking, I think my greatest accomplishment has been my goal to unravel all the early Williams families of Cumberland County, Virginia and take them forward in time to the end of the Civil War.

I worked on the family tree for over twenty years, all in the “old” days when communication meant letter writing and the telephone. I came into contact with many Williams cousins through the decades and they all encouraged me to write a book, which I did: The Williams Family of Cumberland County, Virginia and Their Westward Migration. I love the old style titles from the 1800s, so I added the subtitle: Being the History of the Descendants of Roger Williams and Brothers, Thomas and Matthias Williams from 1720 to 1865.

I self-published and didn’t want to be one of those people with 1,000 copies sitting in my garage, so I went to a small publisher in Mentone, California that specialized in smaller jobs like dissertations.

I ordered just enough copies to cover pre-orders and several to donate to libraries, which ended up being about 70 copies. I also charged just enough to cover my costs and rounded up a dollar.

After all was said and done, I think I made something like $1.28 per copy for 20 years of work, which was a complete labor of love.

I’m very proud of my book, as it has hundreds of source citations (footnotes, as they used to be called!). The NSDAR genealogists have even steered Williams applicants to me for help with the line and I have been told by anonymous people that my book is an accepted source for documenting society applications.

That is the highest compliment I think I could be paid!

Randy, thank you for this week’s SNGF – sorry I took the easy way out!


4 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Greatest Achievement”

  1. Congrats on finishing your research with a book that will be valuable for the Williams families for many years. When did you finish it? How long did it take you to complete the book part – writing, editing – after your research?

  2. Writing a compilation like that is a mighty accomplishment. I could do the same and write about my genealogical accomplishments of becoming certified (Dec 2018) and writing a 3-generation book (self-published in 2010)–though now I look back and could have done a much better job at it. Congratulations on your book and best wishes on your next.

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