Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why I dance, genealogically speaking

Happy genealogy dance...what does that mean?  To me, it means almost any new discovery about our ancestors, or something new I've learned that helps me understand what I found.  Specifically, I do a happy genealogy dance when I:

  • Go to a repository, especially a courthouse, and find new records 
  • Am able to extend an ancestor's history back another generation, or 10, or 20
  • Connect with a cousin who has information or pictures that I don't have, and they're willing to share
  • Am able to help someone with one of their genealogy puzzles, or get someone started for the first time
  • And of course, when I actually find information that I've been looking for, sometimes for years.

Some examples of happy genealogy dance days, which I'm sure I'll be writing more about:

  • The day I figured out that Barack Obama, then a US Senator just starting his run for the presidency, was a distant cousin of my husband's

  • The day I finally found marriage records for Archibald Allen, which proved his wife's name, told me where they were married, and led to his father's will which led to his father's will and the names and ancestors of their wives.  Even more exciting was actually going to Harrodsburg, Ky and finding wills of two of my great great great grandfathers, researching in a building that was there when my ancestors were there, and actually holding in my hand a document signed by my third great grandmother and my second great grandfather.  

  • Several days when distant cousins, or people who were researching distant cousins, contacted me and gave me information that led to days and weeks of exciting discoveries.  I've received pictures, copies of wills, names and dates, and other information that I would never have found without their help.  I don't have permission to publish their names, but I hope they someday read this blog and realize that I am talking about them.  

  • Coming across ancestors who are actually famous such as Roger Williams, Myles Standish, William Brewster (I grew up knowing about him, actually).

  • Learning bits and pieces of the lives of ancestors who were not famous. They often served in wars, or did the work that kept the country growing (or fed), and finding even a little bit about them is priceless.

  • Looking at a page in my tree and realizing it said some of these people were born in castles, which eventually led to more lines to the Plantagenets, Tudors, Stewarts, Capets, and other royal lines than I can count. I don't feel special because I know most of the English speaking world descends from these same lines, but it's much more exciting to read history and realize that that's my "grandpa" or "grandma" they're talking about. 
In the weeks to come, I'll be writing more about happy genealogy dance days.  If you care to join me for some of these dances, I'd be honored!