The 65th Carnival of Genealogy asks us to write about one of our genealogy happy dances. You know, that moment when you practically danced around a research library or hugged the mail carrier.
This post is about my first research experience and the moment I knew I was addicted. I had interviewed a couple of relatives and collected some names. I had written some letter without much response. I knew a bit about my Pacheco and de Braga relatives. I knew that they all lived on E. 25th Street in Oakland.
I had fooled enough. It was time to do real genealogy research. I signed up for the National Archives microfilm rental program. My first films arrived in my mailbox a week or so later.
I went to my local library and asked the librarian for assistance. I’d never loaded a microfilm onto it’s reader before. For those of you who have had this experience, you know that even for the most experienced it can be anxiety producing. I’ll never forget the time I was rewinding a film, went too far, and it flipped off the spindle and rolled across the Family History Center floor. LOL
After getting my film loaded, I read the words “1910 US Federal Census”. It gave me goosebumps.
Then the work began. I rolled through that film for an hour or so. On and on and on and on. Street after street after street.
And then, there it was E. 25th Street. I followed the numbers until I saw what I was looking for. John Cosma. And then further down…Manuel Pacheco…and then best of all…Theodore P. Smith. These three families were my people. MY PEOPLE! It gave me chills. They really did lived there. There they were.
I made my copies, then rolled on. I printed out several pages so I could review them at home.
Later, I assessed what I found. Not only did I have John Cosma and family, Manuel Pacheco and family, and Theodore P. Smith and family, but I had my Great Great Grandfather, Jozimas de Braga, the Andrew Medeiros clan, some possible Costa’s, and a slew of other possibilities. I kept looking at those sheets, amazed at the fact that my Pacheco’s really existed. I played with them for days, writing up family group sheets, pondering what the facts told me.
With all genealogy, I had as many questions as answers. Where was Joseph De Braga, the Benito Family, Tony Correia, and Tony Souza?
I knew I had more work to do. This taste of doing real research made me yearn for more. I was completely hooked!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com