Sunday, February 01, 2009


I think most genealogists have at one time or another experienced the Genealogy
Happy Dance, that moment when you find some long looked for information or when
you discover something you didn't know at all about your ancestor(s). Reactions
range from exclamations of "Wow!" or "YESSSS!" to outright cheers. In my case,
it's usually a "Wow" while inwardly I'm doing a mental Snoopy Happy Dance, because
truthfully, if I actually danced it would be a sight so dreadful to behold, Western
Civilization as we know it would come to an end.

My first Happy Dance occurred the night I discovered a treasure trove at
of Revolutionary War Pensions Files for John Ames and Asa Barrows which led to
even more files for my Barker, Coburn, Upton, Hastings and Houghton ancestors. It
was the first time I'd found records that contained written memories of my ancestors.

My Aunt Dot has been the provider of my two biggest Happy Dances. First there was
the folder she gave me with pictures of my Grandfather and Great Grandfather West
and pictures of Great Grandmother Lottie Barker and her four sisters. There was also
Pop’s WWI discharge papers from the Army and a copy of a certified abstract of Arvilla
Ames' and John C (Cutter) West’s marriage record. The best part for me were the thirteen
handwritten pages with memories of her and my father's childhood in Maine, stories I'd
never heard before.

That Happy Dance was surpassed last August when Cheryl and I visited Dot and her
family in Ohio and they surprised me by giving me the West Family Bible. This on top
of the photographs of Pop in uniform and of the Barker Family reunion. That was my
Biggest Happy Dance moment.

My latest Happy Dance has involved the information I've found about Simon Willard
and just last night something I discovered over on Googlebooks about Thomas Sawyer
Junior which I'll be posting later.

Of course, being that they were from the Puritan era, the Happy Dances I did for those
were danced deep in my subconscious. I don't want them spinning over in their graves,
after all, over their descendant's outrageous behavior. (Bad enough I was born a Papist!)

But when I find something more about my Mom's Irish ancestors, you can bet my Happy
Dance will be an Irish jig!

Written for the 65th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.


Apple said...

As many times as I've done the dance I am also looking forward to my chance at the Irish jig!

Becky Jamison said...

Your accounts of your Happy Dance ocassions was fun to read! You've had some terrific finds!

Colleen Johnson, CMJ Office said...

Isn't it funny how we're all waiting to dance a jig!

Andrea Christman said...

Oh--I am so happy to hear about another lover! Isn't that a great site? I loved hearing about your discoveries leading up to your happy dances! I wish I could take either my or my husband's lines back to Revolutionary War times, but the earliest I can go back in the U.S. is 1844 or so. Congratulations on your findings!