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The Genealogy Scream

Scream We've all experienced it. Beginning and seasoned genealogists do it as a reaction. It happens day or night. Other people hear it but don't understand it. It is often followed by the genealogy happy dance.

The Genealogy Scream comes in different forms. Sometimes it's a silent "YES!". Other times it's an audible "Hallelujah!". For some, it's a fist-pumping "hoo-hoo-hoo". When it happens in a library, other genealogists don't mind hearing it, because they've been there too.

I guess some Genealogy Screams are not filled with excitement.... "Where are you in the 1830 census!!!???" or "I thought you were born in Germany. That's what the Internet said!!!"

Wherever or however you experience your Genealogy Scream, it's something that all genealogists have in common. Our friends may not understand it, our families may be annoyed with it, and even our neighbors may tire of it, but genealogists share a bond. When nobody else cares, we know we can find another genealogist that does. I always look forward to genealogy seminars because I can finally talk with others who are actually interested in what I have to say.

Think back to either your first or your most recent Genealogy Scream. What was it like? Was it followed by the Happy Dance? Was anyone else around? If you did not have anyone else to share it with, we'll listen. Write your comments below.

...and here's to many more Genealogy Screams and Happy Dances....


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Where are Henry's bones?
Henry is my 1st cousin twice removed.
I knew all about his father and mother. His father was easy and a gift to genealogists as he had the unusal christian name of Hotspur. Henry his son started life in 1860 in Pinner in Middlesex, England. He grew up and went into his father's business and became a Master Butcher. He married in 1883. He had 8 children. The family moved away to Brighton, Sussex, England for a time but returned to Pinner in the early 1900's and took over the father's business before his father died. Family legend has it that Henry absconded with the local Sunday school teacher in about 1913. He was never seen again by the family. He left the family in financially poor conditions. The family business in Pinner failed. His wife Katharine destroyed the family bible containing the family history and all family references and photographs to Henry. Where did Henry go, die etc?. Last week after two years of searching I obtained his death certificate. "YES". NAILED IT. He died in 1935 only some 5 miles away from Pinner in Ealing, London. As often happens this death Certificate now asks other questions that need answering. Off we go again!!!! Don't you love genealogy - I do.

Actually, I cried! A previously long locked door suddenly opened up thanks to the world of the internet. After giving up on a "dead end" trail 15 years ago, I thought I'd give this ancestor one last chance to see if we could go beyond her Australian life and find out more about where she came from. Googled her maiden name, "Dance" and the spine started to tingle as a huge site popped up all about the Dance family from the Forest of Dean in England. I scrolled though this fabulous site hopefully and then, suddenly, there she was! That's when the tears started as I looked at never before seen pictures of her lovely face.
It was midnight but luckily, thanks to living half a world away from my cousin and nearest remotely interested person, I could catch her at breakfast so we could weep together!

it happened yesterday trying to find ancestors' Civil War service records at NARA. I "scored" five for five, confirmed a few legends and made some interesting discoveries. Banner day!!!

After finding a copy of my Dad's birth certificate, I embarked on a journey to discover his birth family. His birth name was Jerold Dean Kislingbury and his father was listed as Walter J. Kislingbury. I went to the genealogy library in Salt Lake City and searched, but had no luck finding the name. I returned many times to the library, but always went away in dispair. One day I returned to search some more. The attendant suggested that I try the Arizona census. I told her that I had looked there but had found nothing. She suggested that I try again. So I grabbed the 1920 Arizona Census tape and went to work. As I wound the microfiche tape through the reader, I began to feel a strange feeling of excitement. I continued to wind, reading the names as they slowly passed by my eyes. Suddenly, there the name appeared before me...Walter Kislingbury. I first looked at the name in disbelief, then my heart jumped out of my throat, I screamed and did the HAPPY DANCE as I knew I had found my grandfather. From there I located people currently living in Arizona with the Kislingbury name and found that one of them was my Dad's aunt. I went to visit her and learned from her a treasure of information about the family. Later, on the Internet, I also found a cousin in Rochester New York who had been researching the same family and had placed her findings on a website that I was able to access. Researching this family, I have had one occassion after another to participte in Genealogy screams and happy dances as the information has flown to me little by little over the years revealing my exciting and colorful ancestors!

I can remember my very first genealogy happy dance and tears. It was the summer of 1999, just a few weeks after I had begun my research for the very first time. I was trying to find information about my ggrandfather's parents & siblings - he'd never spoken about them to his wife or children, so they were all a big mystery. My cousin had given me info that had enabled me to obtain his CW pension and military papers from NARA and once I received those and read that he'd been born in Monroe Co KY, it was off to the internet to try to find a census for 1850 in Monroe Co KY. I couldn't believe my luck when I found that it had been transcribed and posted on the Monroe Co USGenweb site. I began to feel a tingle in my spine and almost right away, up popped the Wheeler name - many times over! I did a genealogy happy dance/wiggle right there in my seat and I remember tears running down my face as the full impact of what I'd just found hit me. Not only had I just found my ggrandfather, but I'd found his father and several siblings, all living very close together! That moment is forever imprinted on my mind and one that I will never forget!

My "Genealogy Scream" was "What are you doing here" Back in 1996, my wife and I were in Canterbury "Township" NH trying to find information on my mothers family. The area in Canterbury was the Hackleborough School District where we found the gravestone of my G-GF. While looking around the site way in the back I came across a stone "Mrs Sarah Parratt". My scream-"What are you doing here".
She was my Great Great Grandmother, maiden name BEMIS,and should have been around the Springfield, VT area. Some one else has to be looking for her since she is the link in the Parratt, Pickard, Emery, Brown and other families.

I'm still waiting for mine this year! It is exciting and addicting though.

Using genealogy techniques, I was searching for my husband's birth family. We had the name of two generations his mother and and her parents. In social security records I discovered that the grandmother and her second husband had died within two months of each other in a small town. We visited the town historical society and they suggested we ask at the funeral home. There we were warmly welcomed and given their books to examine. In the grandmother's obit we found his birth mother's married name and where she lived. We did a quiet little scream and happy dance. End of story my husband was reunited with his birth family at age 64 and his mother was still living although she died a few months after they met. She was very happy to be found. He now has 5 half brothers and sisters and we are enjoying getting to know them.

One of my favorite "screams" was on a trip to Mobile, AL, my husband and I went to the cemetery where his gggreat-grandparents and family were buried, and were lucky enough to find headstones for all, but on one of the stones was that his gggrandfather had died in East Orange, NJ (we currently live in NJ), I would have never looked for him here, as he lived most of his life in Alabama (orignally coming from Massachusetts) It appears that he was visiting a son, when he passed away....I had no idea that any of them had ever lived in NJ! Another headstone informed me that one of his son's died in England.

In April 2010, I ordered copies of death certificates for 6 of my great uncles/aunts who died in Cook County, IL. I was happy to receive 5 documents, but disappointed that the last one -- Uncle Ulysses Carter was "not on file". Ulysses did not have any children and I didn't have any additional information from family members to go on. The Clerk did, however, provide a note saying that there was information on a person with the same name who died in Kankakee County, IL. I knew that Ulysses was buried in Cook County, so I contacted the cemetery who provided the name of the funeral home. I called the funeral home and they confirmed that Ulysses died in Kankakee County, IL.

I ordered the death certificate from the Kankakee County clerk and was surprised to find out that he died in a hospital after a long illness.

This was a major "YES" moment for me. I look forward to many more.

My most memorable scream came when I found one of my maternal great-grandmother's parents and siblings. Emma Fisher Hughes was the mother of my maternal grandfather. All we knew was that she married my great-grandfather, had five children with him, and died in Enid, Oklahoma. She had another daughter who was born before her marriage to my great-grandfather. In my family, there were rumors of an illicit love child and that my great-grandmother came into the country illegally.

Far from the actual truth. A chance posting on a genealogy forum for her birth name got me in touch with a descendant of one of her siblings. Emma Fisher Hughes was born Didame Imogene Fisher to Abraham Fisher and Phebe Grinnell Ennis Fisher, in Illinois. Didame was her birth name, but no one called her that apparently. By the time she married my great-grandfather, she had been married once before to a man named James Clark. I have since been able trace her father back a generation and her mother back several.

Now, if my great-great-great grandmother Lucinda would cooperate I might scream again.

Do not Genealogy Screams come in different tones and pitches? If so, I have them all the time, recently thanks to two great finds that may help others who need obscure stuff from the British Isles, and who have yet to discover them.
The first is FreeBMD -- http://www.freebmd.org.uk/. For a couple of years I've been searching for a relative with the unhelpful name of Robert Cox, whom I even knew years ago. Owing to FreeBMD's simplicity, in no time I found what more sophisticated and expensive sources seemed unable to reach. Hooray! For some, FreeBMD's very simplicity may be off-putting, but it's still well worth bearing in mind. And, it's free!

My second find is the Ireland censuses of 1901 and 1911, referred to elsewhere in the Newsletter -- http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/. With the Irish diaspora said to number about 70 million people, they will be a great help to many genealogists all over the world, including me with my Irish grandfather and his extensive clan. To the great credit of the Irish authorities, the service is excellent and -- Scotland, please note -- it's absolutely free.

Several years ago I was sitting in a genealogy library...everyone quietly working. Then suddenly a squeal went up-people at a table were almost jumping for joy! The rest of us looked at each other, nodded and smiled- that 'smile' only other genealogists can truly understand.
One of my first great moments was in a library-found our connection to the Randolphs of Virginia-the start of an incredible genealogical journey!
'Don't remember a scream but the exclamation: "Yes!"
Its those Aha! moments that keep us going.

One of my first experiences a number of years ago happened in a village in England called Great Bardfield. I knew my grandfathers family (Willis) came from Great Bardfield, Essex. I was visiting UK from Australia and decided one day to visit the village to see what I could find. I found the local church and did what we all do went to have a look around the graveyard. There was a person there tending a grave and we got talking. I explained I was from Australia and what I was looking for. He directed me to a house in the village where a Willis lived. The lady that answered the door indicated that they had moved into the village only fairly recently, but pointed me in the direction of another Willis who had been there a lot longer. I found my way to his home and after explaining my reason for knocking on his door and gaining his confidence that I was not about to rob him he let me in and we had quite an enjoyable conversation. Then came the Genealogy Scream moment. He eventually explained to me that in his younger days he had been the clerk up at the local church for a number of years and whilst there he had hand extracted all the Willis families from the parish records back to 17th century, births deaths and marriages, went to a cupboard and extracted his records and allowed me full access to what he had done. I spent the next couple of hours making a copy of them. I have great memories of that little village

My most memorable "Ah-ha" moment came between Christmas and New Years about thirteen years ago. I had only been doing genealogy research for about three years at that point. I have a rare spelling of a name I had always thought was Irish. (I have met all living people with the spelling, except for a few in California and a few baby cousins.)

I received a large manila envelope from an Ohio address I didn't recognize. Inside was a letter from a retired lawyer in Ohio, who had been working on his family's genealogy for a very long time. He was letting me know that he had found one of my queries on a genealogy bulletin board and wanted to let me know that we were many times removed cousins. The spelling of my 4x great-grandfather had changed when he enlisted in the 72nd PA during the Civil War. Shortly after the war, he had moved his family to Nebraska. He had enclosed an extensive family tree which took me back one more generation, but also brought me forward to present day. Based on they way they spell it, I now believe they came over from Scotland, but did not originate there.

Since then, I have filled in a few gaps and communicated with several of the distant cousins. Too bad I lost the retired lawyer's address in a move ten years ago. I would love to share what I've found with him.

My cry of "I thought so" came when I used the UK 1911 Census to find my g-grandfather and his second wife and to discover that there were three children - my grandmother had had half brothers and sisters she never new about. She had been left an "orphan" at 11 years of age in India - her father had gone back to the UK from India in 1899 leaving his 18 year old wife and his 3 year old daughter behind (I have the marriage and birth certificates). My g-grandmother died at age 25 and my grandmother was put in a convent school in Calcutta until she was 18. I would love to know why they were left behind! His Army papers show them crossed out "divorced" written beside them and the record of a new marriage in Scotland in 1902 - he was 35 and his new wife 25, so I thought there probably would be more children - and I was right. Interestingly they were all good Roman Catholics!

I had a YES moment this week. I plugged my 2d great-grandmother's name, Anna Barbara (Lilli) Roth, into a newspaper database just to learn how the file was organized. Out popped a 1965 obituary for her youngest son, Frank, who had died 20 years after the sister I'm descended from - all I'd ever known about him was his name. In the obituary was his father's birthplace in Wuerttemberg which I have been looking for for years and confirmation of my theory that he had left abruptly in the 1840's due to political activities.

My second Genealogy Scream came when my wife and I were looking in the Pearl Cemetery, Swanders, OH. where we had found many of her families. A County truck passed on the highway, then returned. The driver asked who we were looking for and then refered us to the house about a quarter mile away across the field, advising that the old cemetery sextent lived there. We knocked on the door and elderly lady answered asking who we were looking for in the cemetery. When told that family of Hunt was one, she said that she was a Hunt and asked us to come in. After some conversation, we found that she was the sister of my wife's great grandmother. The Scream "WOW" from my wife. The families; Swanders, Hunt, Forrar, Conyers and about half of the older part of the cemetery.

Back in 1985 I was looking for my husband's grandfather's (William B. Brown) parents. From a small scrap of paper left my my husband's aunt I found that his mother's maiden name was George Ann Hampton. We were told that my husband's great-grandfather had changed his last name from Winn to Brown. The scrap of paper has his g-grandfather as James Winn/Brown. It said that they were from Dover, Missouri. While at the LDS Library in Salt Lake City I found a history of Lafayette County Missouri. I looked for Browns and nothing matched. I looked for Winns and there he was. James Monroe Winn with wife Georgia Ann (Hampton). There children were listed. The girl's names matched the list I had, but my list had no brothers for William, though there were several listed in the book. But none named William. After much research I found that William B. Brown was born Albert Sidney Johnston Winn. I have since been able to prove that William and Albert were the same person and that my husband does carry the Winn DNA. Finding his family was one of my many Genealogy Scream moments.

Something was not quite right with a birthplace for one child in my husband family and eventually I worked it out late at night, and I woke my husband up to tell him the news, I was happy, he wasn't. (He supports me, just tells me to keep it until morning, who can do that with a breakthough).

I had been researching his family for a while now, and several trees that I had found had one of his great uncles being born in NSW, Australia. What didn't seem right was that two boys, born three years apart were registered at the same time on the BDM and the rest of the children were registered in the same year of birth. I started to wonder if one they were twins, or just maybe Tom was born before they emigrated. With Tom having the name HOWELL as a middle name, I searched on the England BDM site around the same years and YES I found it, sent off for the certificate to confirm. I have since told others about it but they have not updated their trees. Also everyone else has the Mother last name wrong, and I now know the correct one.

My "ah" moment came when I found the reason for my gg-grandmother giving birth to her last child in Philadelphia when she was living in Hawthorne, NJ. I did a search and my distant cousin had put a posting up that had my gg-grandmother's name along with her siblings. Turned out that her brother lived in Philadelphia and she went to visit him before she had her baby. Mystery solved and have lots of new cousins now.

My "Happy Scream" and I do mean "Scream" came after more than 10 years of chasing after my great grandfather Allen. I was at the Salt Lake City Family History Library searching for him. After more than 10 years and now a week more of hunting with no luck I was tired and said "You can stay wherever you are I'm through hunting for you". In order to retain the desk I was working on, I grabbed a beautiful blue Allen book off the shelf and put it down on the desk when the book flopped open and there was my grandmother Allen with her father. What a scream I let out and of course had to rush off to tell the girls I had come with about my good luck after all these years. Naturally I now have another dead end but it was worth it and am off and running again. To continue on my good fortune on my grandmother and great grandfather I was able to find the last book available and bought it as I am also trying to get all of my family books. I only have a few that are not copies and my Allen Book is one of them so I feel the 10-11 years of hunting was well worth it.

I've had so many "aw!! happy dance moments' over the years I've been working on my family history. I still have a brick wall. My G-Grandfather and his brother left Sweden and Destination: Ong NE
Record Date: 24 maj 1888 (24 May 1888)
I have not been able to find them arriving in any U.S. port...
If I ever find them, you will hear my happy scream and dance all over the world.

My first Genealogy scream was my very first ancestor that I found, My 3rd Great Grandfather Charles Dudley BOYETT who served in the Confederate Army 53rd Partisan Rangers....I cried and screamed at the same time.

My first happy scream came when I received, in the same post, birth certificates for my two paternal great-grandfathers. My grandfather had told me when I was a child that they were brothers, but my father in his later, forgetful, years had denied this. The certificates proved my grandfather to be correct: they had the same father but different mothers. Holding those certificates (the first I had bought) in my hand I yelled ou "YES" then burst into tears (to the consternation of my husband). I felt so close to these men I had never known, yet so frustrated that I couldn't tell them how I felt. The first happy scream of many.

My first YES!!! with hand clapping and my heart pumping and tears running down my face - was when I found my maternal gran and her brother a few years ago (whilst alone in the house in my office upstairs) - having been denied the chance to research MY family by my now ex husband who decided he could research his which was more important despite him having a large family already! I grew up with no aunts, uncles, cousins etc due to my mum being an only child and my father's brother died during the war. Little did I know that both sets of grandparents /great grandparents were from large families.

My most recent 'Whooo Hooo' AND 'Hallelujah' was finding a hole in my 'brick wall' on my paternal grand's side when I found her mother's Maiden name quite by chance when I looked 'outside the box' having been told they were born in Ireland - I now know this to be false as they were born in the UK but to an irish family - and subsequently have been contacted by three LIVE cousins whom I never knew I had due to not having any siblings of her known to me due to this brick wall! We've only known each other a few days yet we feel like sisters sharing our families tales and experiences - our respective relatives who were first cousins also lived very near to each other too and we never knew. I now have the names of so many more people in my tree and look forward to finding more 'LIVE' people to contact and react with.

Long may Legacy and other such systems exist!

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