That moment when your heart skips a beat, your hands tremble and you breathe just a little faster. Sounds like love doesn't it? But I'm talking about the most exciting, thrilling moment you experienced in your genealogy research.
Have you had one of those moments? Mine was when I held the original document from 1808 for my 4th great uncle John Peer. I had hunted for this document for over 20 years. It was listed in an index to wills but was not found on the microfilm reel for those wills. The wills were in alphabetical order but John Peer was not there under any variant spelling. I double-checked, triple-checked - could it be Beer? Leer? Pierre? Pear? Peare? Bier? Biere? and on and on it went.
After a few years of mulling over this, repeatedly asking Archive staff for help but finding they were as puzzled as I was, I decided I would search the entire microfilm one document at a time. That took me a few years to finish as I could only periodically get to the city where the Archive was.
Finally one year I finished the entire film without finding the entry. I reported this to Archive staff and asked if I could search the original documents in storage. That wasn't an idea that staff liked, and they insisted I must have overlooked the will in the microfilm.
A few years passed and finally I talked to a sympathetic archivist who helped me fill out a request for the original wills in Box 23 (which contained original "P" wills). Two days later I was given the box and I carefully looked through it.
There it was. John Pierre. A document (not a will) dated February 9, 1808. As I gently lifted it out of the box, my hands shook. I could hardly breathe.
And there was the proof I had been looking for - that John was my ancestor Levi Peer's brother.
9 Feb. 1808: Petition of Levi Pierre [sic] "..that John Pierre, your Petitioner's brother, died as your petitioner believes, without a last will and testament, your petitioner being the older brother and next of kin to the deceased..."
Anyone who is not a genealogist will likely never understand the excitement and anticipation I felt holding that document.
What was your most exciting genealogy find? And how did you feel when you found it?