By Janet Curley
In a previous post, I mentioned the Joyous Dance of Genealogical Discovery, or JDOGD for somewhat shorter. The JDOGD is an interesting phenomenon… and like the mating dance of the blue footed booby – a rare sight. I challenge anyone to photograph or videotape a genuine JDOGD in its natural setting. Consider that a genealogist does her work in libraries, probate courts, cemeteries, city clerk offices, churches and in the company of her loving but skeptical family. These are not the places for an NFL touchdown gyration, no matter how subtle.
No. The JDOGD is often an internal celebration. And because our minds have infinite capacity, it can be an epic festival with a parade of dancing dead relatives, finally relieved from obscurity. One can almost feel the gratitude from antiquity. They are no longer forgotten and you, the mild mannered and ever so quiet family historian, have freed them. Their stories can now be told. You… are a hero! Babies are thrust into your arms for kissing! Pioneers approach you with treasures from far off lands! A pickpocket steals your watch. A drunk bumps into you with a muttered apology. And your many times great grandmother beholds you with misty eyes that remind you of your father.
The family is back together, thanks to your tenacious efforts!
And so, Reader, in front of the dusty microfiche machine, our intrepid genealogist leans back in the rickety school chair in silent victory and hits ‘print’. Yup, you have just witnessed the JDOGD. That is all you will ever see. It doesn’t make for viral YouTube videos. But, know in your heart, that the genealogist in front of you is really Ferris Bueller atop a float surrounded by her dancing dead relatives singing her heart out….