Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dancing Fool

It doesn't take much to get me to do the Happy Dance. Give me a new little scrap of information and I'm on my feet.

I think the first time was when I first got internet access and discovered that many of my ancestors had already been well researched. To be able to just sit in front of the computer, wait a half hour for a page to load and have three generations added to my tree was magical. It was probably a year before I learned that everything I had found wasn't quite accurate!

In some of my early research I was floored to learn that some of my ancestors had actually made it into history books. It didn't matter that they didn't get a good write up, only that they were there. I danced again when I discovered that a cousin actually wrote history books.

The most interesting experience I've had that led to the dance was when I was photographing monuments in a cemetery and was approached by the caretaker. He asked if they were my people and when I said, yes they were cousins, he said they were his daughter-in-law's people too. He took my name and phone number and within days I was in touch with previously unknown cousins.

My best dance was last year when I traveled to Michigan to see the letters that my family had donated to the University of Michigan. I was totally unprepared for the size of the collection and the treasures that the letters held. The letters themselves still cause me to get on my feet occasionally as I continue to discover new little bits of my ancestors lives.

Most recently I found myself twirling around the living room when I discovered that another collection of letters, written by my great-grandfather during the Civil War, were donated to Western Michigan University. I will be returning to Michigan in April to retrieve these letters and dance a little more.

This was written for the 65th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: The Happy Dance, to be hosted by Becky Wiseman at kinnexions.

Carnival poster courtesy of footnote Maven.



How exciting to know that there are letters preserved from the Civil War written by your great grandfather. It must be taking all your will power not to jump into your car and head West!

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

As exciting as I'm sure my trip to see the letters in April will be, I'm really excited about jumping in the car and heading south to Florida and leaving the cold behind for a week. lol