Wit And Wisdom
Genealogy Humor
"He who has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family
was begot by a flash of lightning."
 Old English Proverb

"We are the children of many sires, and every drop of blood in us in its turn ... betrays its ancestor."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

I Am Addicted To Genealogy!

When you are in a different city do you look through the phone book to find people
that have the same surname as one of your ancestors?

Do you get excited when you drive by a Cemetery?

Do you talk about your deceased ancestors as though they were still a live?

Does your librarian or the person that works at the archives know your whole life story?

Do you check the obituaries everyday?

Does your spouse call the library to see when you are coming home? 

Do you spend your vacation tracking down ancestors in county courthouses?

Do you keep pictures of tombstones or long deceased ancestors in your wallet?

Can you remember the date an ancestor died but you can't remember to feed the pets?

Instead of an emergency kit in your car you have a research kit.

Does your boss call the library or archives to see when you will be coming back from 
your lunch break?

If you said yes to one or more of these you are an addicted genealogist.

You Know You're An Addicted Genealogist When:

When you brake for libraries.
If you get locked in a library overnight and you never even notice.
When you hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery.
If you'd rather browse in a cemetery than a shopping mall.
When you think every home should have a microfilm reader.
If you'd rather read census schedules than a good book.
When you know every town clerk in your state by name.
If town clerks lock the doors when they see you coming.
When you are more interested in what happened in 1895 than 1995.
If you store your clothes under the bed and your closet is carefully stacked with notebooks and journals.
When Mitchel, Davis, and Tenney are household names, but you can't remember what you call your dog.
If you can pinpoint Harrietsham, Hawkhurst, Kent on a map of England, but can't locate Topeka, Kansas.
When all your correspondence begins "Dear Cousin."
If you've traced every one of your ancestral lines back to
Adam and Eve, have it fully documented, and still don't want to quit.

More Definitions of a Genealogy Addict:

Your kids think picnics in cemeteries are normal or that EVERYBODY does it.
You're the only person in the bridge / poker club who knows what a Soundex is.
"It is only a few miles down the road" means at least 50.
Some of your best friends live over 200 miles away.
You have more pictures of tombstones than of  the kids.
"I need to spend just a little more time at the courthouse" means forget the cleaning, washing, dinner, chores; the day is shot.

The mailman can't believe that you got this much mail from someone you don't even know.
You explain to mother why you can't go 25 miles for Sunday dinner, but can go 100 miles to check out another cemetery.
"As soon as I check out this census record,  I'll fix dinner" means "call the local pizza parlor."
Your neighbors think you are crazy, your friends wonder, and YOU know you are.
You can't drive past a cemetery without wondering if your ancestors are buried there.
You have to watch the credits of a movie to see if any of the surnames are ones you are researching.
You ask all the people you meet, what their grandparents surnames are.
You move to a new town and the first thing you look for is a historical or genealogical society in the area.
You go on vacation and beg your hubby to please drive 80 miles out of the way so that you can try and find your granddaddy's grave in 100 degree heat.
Youthful fantasies of traveling to exotic places are replaced with plans to get to those little towns with graveyards, or larger towns with Archives!
Your fear of snakes and bugs is overshadowed by the need to get through those brambles to that old gravestone.
Old friends who knew you before you were into genealogy begin sending clippings about dead or live people with your surnames (and you know you have been talking about genealogy too much!)
You worry about the roof's leaking only if the drips threaten your genealogy section.
When you can recite all the counties of a State you've researched but where you've never lived.
When you find your ancestor's execution by hanging or burning at the stake, far more interesting than the mass-murder that just took place next door.
You're not invited to family functions because your relatives are tired of filling out family group sheets.
When you read the New Testament in Sunday School and find yourself comparing the pedigrees in Matthew and Luke.

Grandma's Apron

When I used to visit Grandma.
I was very much impressed,
by her all-purpose apron,
and the power it possessed.
For Grandma, it was everyday
to choose one when she dressed.
The strings were tied and freshly washed,
and maybe even pressed.
The simple apron that it was,
you would never think about;
the things she used it for,
that made it look worn out.

She used it for a basket,
when she gathered up the eggs,
and flapped it as a weapon,
when hens pecked her feet and legs.
She used it to carry kindling
when she stoked the kitchen fire.
And to hold a load of laundry,
or to wipe the clothesline wire.
She used it for a hot pad,
to remove a steaming pan,
and when her brow was heated,
she used it for a fan.
It dried our childish tears,
when we'd scrape a knee and cry,
and made a hiding place
when the little ones were shy.
Farm produce took in season,
in the summer, spring and fall,
found its way into the kitchen
from Grandma's carry all.
When Grandma went to heaven,
God said she now could rest.
I'm sure the apron she chose that day,
was her Sunday best.

Author unknown


Ancestors of so long ago,
I'll search until I find.

Till I can prove and clearly show,
that you are truly mine.

I'll follow behind your trail of tears,
the hidden footprints of time.

Covered and buried throughout the years,
and continue each mountain to climb.

I'll search every faraway seaside shore,
and every valley below.

I'll unlock each and every door,
as my own teardrops flow.

I'll unearth the buried History of you,
and your own Ancestral kin,

I'll search for that all important clue,
and open my heart to let you in.


If we hunted and traced right down til the end,
and searched each corner and around each bend,

till our search is finally over and done,
would you not find you're Eve's daughter and Adam's son?

Deduction would lead me to believe,
this would lead directly to Adam and Eve.

So the tree I'm building will not start with me,
#1 is Adam & Eve on my Ancestral Tree

I have to wonder how far I'll get,
but all you folks there's no need to fret,

for I've deduced you're a brother and sister of mine, branching from life's Ancestral vine.

My hunt and search must be over and done,
for I have found Eve's daughter and Adam's son.

I'm My Own Grandpa

Many, many years ago
when I was twenty three, 

I got married to a widow
who was pretty as could be.

This widow had a daughter
who had hair of red.

My father fell in love with her,
and soon the two were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law
and changed my very life.

My daughter was my mother,
for she was my father's wife.

To complicate the matters worse,
although it brought me joy,

I soon became the father of
a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became
a brother-in-law to dad.

And so became my uncle,
though it made me very sad.

For if he was my uncle,
then that also made him brother

To the widow's grown-up daughter
Who, of course was my step-mother.
Father's wife then had a son,
who kept them on the run.

And he became my grandson,
for he was my daughter's son.

My wife is now my mother's mom.
And it surely makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife,
she is my grandma too.

If my wife is my grandmother,
then I am her grandchild.

And every time I think of it,
it simply drives me wild.

For now I have become
the strangest case you ever saw.

As the husband of my grandmother,
I am my own grandpa!!!

I'm my own grandpa
I'm my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But really it is so
I'm my own grandpa!

By Moe Jaffe and Dwight Latham

"Top Ten Ways To Tell You're a Genealogist"
10 You talk about towns no one has ever heard of.
9   You take a trip to Salt Lake City in winter and don't ski.
8   You read EVERY Roots-L Posting.
7   You never leave home without $4 in quarters.
6   You call ATM's "stamp machines".
5   You've memorized the counties, their seats, and their addresses for three states.
4   You KNOW that people who have been dead for 200 years are laughing at you.
3   You visit cemeteries carrying food and cosmetics.
2   You check out office supply stores "just looking".
1   You've changed computer programs three times this year


I walk along paths alone,
and stumble through shaded pasts.

I search until I'm shown,
a link to me at last.

Buried in ages gone by,
lost in time and space.

And I constantly ask why,
They've left without a trace.

Was life so insignificant,
I'd hate to think this true.

Is your life truly unspent,
without any memory of you.

Are you just a block of stone
in a cemetery somewhere?

Only a name and date is shown,
and no one seems to care.

Flowers no longer bloom,
by the graveside where you rest.

And there is no more room,
for future kin to nest.

But I shall search and find,
and seek your faceless name.

For you are one of a kind,
My surname is your fame.

AND on the eighth day God said, "OK, Murphy, take over."

Murphy's Laws of Genealogy

The records you need for your family history were in the courthouse that burned.

John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as immigrant ancestor, died on board ship at the age of twelve.

The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated when the platform collapsed turned out to be a hanging.

Records show that the grandfather, whom the family boasted, "He read the Bible at four years and graduated from college at sixteen," was at the foot of his class.

Your grandmother's maiden name for which you've searched for years was on an old letter in abox in the attic all the time.

When at last you have solved the mystery of the skeleton in the closet the tight-lipped spinster Aunt claimed, "I could have told you that all the time."

You never asked your father about his family because you weren't interested in genealogy while he was alive.

The family story your grandmother wrote for the family never got past the typist. She packed it away "somewhere" and promised to send you a copy, but never did.

The relative who had all the family photographs gave them to her daughter who had no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.

A great-uncle changed his surname because he was teased in school. He moved away, left no address, and was never heard from again.

Brittle old newspapers containing the information you desired have fallen apart on the names and dates and places.

The only record you find for your great-grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff's sale for insolvency.

The portion of the index you need is continued in the next issue, only the publisher died prior to publication.

When you find the obituary for your grandmother, the information is garbled. Her name is exchanged with her daughter's, the whereabouts of her sons is unknown, the date for her father's birth indicates he was younger than she was.

The vital records director sends you a negative reply, having just been insulted by a creep calling himself a genealogist.

The document containing evidence of the missing link in your research invariably will be lost due to fire, flood, or war.

Your great, great, grandfather's obituary states the he died, leaving no issue of record.

The town clerk you wrote to in desperation, and finally convinced to give you the information you need, can't write legibly and doesn't have a copying machine.

The will you need is in the safe on board the "Titanic."

The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.

That ancient photograph of four relatives, one of whom is your progenitor, carries the names of the other three.

Copies of old newspapers have holes which occur only on last names.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, always rented property, was not sued, and was never named in wills.

You learned that great aunt Matilda's executor just sold her life's collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer "somewhere in New York City."

Yours is the ONLY last name not found among the 3 billion in the world-famous Mormon archives in Salt Lake City.

Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.

The 37-volume, sixteen-thousand-page history of your country of origin ISN'T INDEXED.

The critical link in your family tree is named "Smith."- - - - - - - -

Your families never had attics, much less Bibles or boxes full of photos.

All real library "finds" are made five minutes before closing, when the copier is broken.

The correctly shelved books and correctly filed forms are never the ones you need.

The person sitting next to you at the research center is finding ancestors every five minutes...and telling you.

The e-mail address that bounces is the one from a person who listed your exact names. If you find a working address, you aren't related.

Your microfilm reader is the one that squeaks, has to be turned backwards, and doesn't quite focus.

Your cemeteries have no caretaker or records archive.

Alternate spellings and arcane names were your folks' favorite pasttimes.

Your ancestors only knew three names, and used them over and over in every collateral line.

Your sister neglects to mention that the date she gave you, which you have researched, and sent to other researchers, was just a guess with no foundation, and she guessed because she "didn't like leaving that line blank."

Your mother neglects to mention that,"Oh, yes, we knew they changed their name.

The blot on the page of the census covers your grandmother's birthdate!

The only overturned, face-down gravestone in the cemetery is your great-great grandfather's!

You finally find your ancestor's obituary in an old newspaper and all it says is "Died last week."

You finally get a day off from work to travel to a courthouse -- and when you get there it's closed for emergency plumbing repairs.

People who depend on their family tree for status
should shake it first.

Twas The Day Before Yesterday

TWAS the day before yesterday and all through the branches,
NOT a name to be found, none of my ancestors.

THE Journals and Bibles were dusty and worn,
WHY should we care, these kinfolk are gone.

THE pictures of children and family, long ago dead,
ARE scattered, crinkled, and crammed under beds.

DAD in his chair, and I with a book,
HAD just settled back to give the TV a look.

WHEN out on the street there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.

ON the way to the window I tripped with a crash,
I tore open the curtains and looked through the glass.

THE sun in the sky was nowhere in sight,
THE clouds were so gray, it could have been night.

WHEN what to my wondering eyes should appear,
THE Mailman with packages, letters and cards of good cheer.

THE driver was grumbling while sorting his letters,
I knew in a moment, things had to get better.

THE size of one letter stood out from them all,
A distant cousin was asking about family, one and all.

THE names of Grandpa and Grandma, Great Grandparents all,
NEXT came my Father, my Brother, and Uncle Paul.

FROM cousins and uncles to aunts and nephews,
NIECES and in-laws, just to name a few.

SO thru the  many journals and photos, and stuff I possessed,
MY search for my ancestors slowly progressed.

WHILE up the family tree I gradually climbed,
MY ancestors names, I was seeking to find.

UPON that tree I have carved many a name,
THE branches of which, will never be the same.

THE tree is now filled with many I've found,
BUT in the search for others, now I am bound.

THE ancestors whose names, I have  written with love,
THE Lord has gathered to take to His Father above.

WITH so many names yet to be carved on that tree,
I have little time to waste on games and TV.

GATHERING names, photos, histories and places,
REQUIRES a lot of love, patience, and God's good graces.

SOME were Farmers, Soldiers & such, Mothers & Fathers who struggled much.
SOME were Settlers, who traveled far, some Adventures, who followed the stars.

SOME were rich but most were poor,they came by ship, seeking more.
SOME died young, others old, many their stories yet untold.

I cried when I thought of those brothers and sisters,
FOR I am who I am, thanks to my ancestors.

MY family is but one branch on the Tree of Life,
A tree that grew strong through toil and strife.

ALONE, I'm just a bare twig or a stub,
TOGETHER we build a Family Tree of Love!

written by
Linnie Vanderford Poyneer
(written late one night after a long day of research)

Who Says We Are Not Relatives

24 Generations Starting With Yourself = 8,388,608 People

It is mind boggling as to the number of ancestors we could have in common

1    YOURSELF==Generation 1
2  YOUR  parents===2
4   grandparents===3
8    g grandparents===4
16    gg grandparents===5
32      ggg grandparents===6
64      gggg grandparents===7
128      ggggg grandparents===8
256      gggggg grandparents===9
512      ggggggg grandparents===10
1,024        gggggggg grandparents===11
2,048        ggggggggg grandparents===12
4,096        gggggggggg grandparents===13
8,192        ggggggggggg grandparents===14
16,384         gggggggggggg grandparents===15
32,768         ggggggggggggg grandparents===16
65,536         gggggggggggggg grandparents===17
131,072            ggggggggggggggg grandparents===18
262,144            gggggggggggggggg grandparents===19
524,288            ggggggggggggggggg grandparents===20
1,048,576              gggggggggggggggggg grandparents===21
2,097,152              ggggggggggggggggggg grandparents===22
4,194,304              gggggggggggggggggggg grandparents===23
8,388,608 people = 24 generations starting with yourself


The Census Taker

Author Unknown

It was the first day of census, and all through the land
The pollster was ready, a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride,
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side.

A long winding ride down a road barely there,
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting up through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her face
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place.

She gave him some water as they sat at a table
And she answered his questions...the best she was able.
He asked of her children; Yes, she had quite a few,
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.

She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red,
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
She noted each person who lived there with pride
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.

He noted the sex, the color, the age.
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page.
At the number of children, she nodded her head
And saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.

The places of birth she'll "never forgot",
Was it Kansas? Or Utah? Or Oregon, or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear,
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.

They spoke of employment, of schooling and such,
They could read some and write some, though really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job there was done,
So he mounted his horse and rode toward the sun.

We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
"May God bless you all for another ten years."

Now picture a time warp, it's now you and me,
As we search for the people on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow
As we search for that entry from long, long ago.

Could they only imagine on that long ago day
That the entries they made would affect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real?

We can hear, if we listen, the words they impart 
Through their blood in our veins and their voices in our heart.

Just Folks

I am like him, so they say,
Who was dead before I came.
Cheeks and mouth and eyes of gray
Have been fashioned much the same.

I am like her, so they say,
Who was dead ere I was born,
And I walk the self-same way
On the paths her feet have worn.

There is that within my face
And the way I hold my head
Which seems strangely to replace
Those who long have joined the dead.

Thus across the distance far
In the body housing me
Both my great-grandparents are
Kept alive in memory.

Edgar A. Guest 1934

The Bridge

The way I walk I see my mother walking,
The feet secure and firm upon the ground.
The way I talk I hear my daughter talking
And hear my mother's echo in the sound.
The way she thought I find myself now thinking,
The generations linking
In a firm continuum of mind.
The bridge of immortality I'm walking,
The voice before me echoing behind.

by Dorothy Hilliard Moffatt

Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.

Author Unknown

Why Me?

Why me,
This is a tedious task, much work.
Not a great tree, my family,
Not any kind of tree,
A spindly twig....
A stunted sapling of little importance,
No forest giant we.

A pause

Ethereal whispers
Persuasive, soft and still.
"Daughter, if you don't remember us,
Who will?

Dot Stutter,
Victoria, BC. Canada, 1996

The Last Sunday In England

The emigrants kneel in the old parish Church.
For the last time, it may be forever:
They scarcely had known that it would be so hard.
The ties of a lifetime to sever.

For the last time they look on the ivy-clad walls.
For the last time they hear the bells ringing.
'Twas there they were married, and now to that church
How fondly their sad hearts are clinging!

They listen once more to the good Rector's voice,
They will try to remember his teaching:
And hope they may never forget what he says,
As they look in his face while's he preaching.

That voice they have heard by the bed of the sick-
That face they have seen by the dying-
At the altar, the font, and the newly dug grave
The means of salvation supplying.

For the last time they stand where their forefathers names
They read on the headstones and crosses:
There are newly cut names: and others so old.
They are covered by lichens and mosses.

Then a last look they take at a green little mound,
Where one of their children is sleeping.
And gather a daisy that grows at the head-
Then turn away silently weeping.

The neighbors are waiting to bid them "God Speed"
To think of them each one professing-
At the gate of the churchyard the old Rector stands
To give them his fatherly blessing.

He placed in their hands the best of all gifts,
A Bible and Prayer book, at parting:
They could not say much, but he knew what they felt-
To their eyes the warm tear-drops were starting.

"Keep these in your heart" as he gave them, he said,
"And trust to the cross of Christ only:
Then the Lord will be with you wherever you go,
And then you need never feel lonely."

Author Unknown

Family Jewel

I hold in my hands a treasure so rare,
I close my eyes and imagine I'm there,
When she wrote each name with care,
Not knowing with me some day she'd share.
Could she have known what a jewel it would be?
That it would be something I waited to see?
That one hundred years later the Bible I'd hold,
That in it's pages more that God's story is told.
I imagine she was proud of her family,
For what greater gift could there be,
Did she imagine the family to come?
That I would be from the family of her son?
This family heirloom I will handle with care,
So that in another hundred years it will be there,
For my great great grandchildren may it be,
A gift they are searching for to add to the family tree.

By Kelly Taft Krause upon receipt of the Swan/Perry Family Bible given to me by my cousin,
Eileen Witherow Mitchell (March 1998)

Strangers In The Box

Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where, or when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be passed away?
Make time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
The strangers in the box.

© 1997 by Pamela A. Harazim.
  All Rights Reserved.
May be used in unchanged form for non-commercial purposes if accompanied by this copyright message

Our Ancestors

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row
Would you be proud of them or not
Or don't you really know?

Some strange discoveries are made
In climbing family trees
And some of them you know, do not
Particularly please.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
There might be some of them perhaps
You wouldn't care to know.

But there's another question, which
Requires a different view.
IF you could meet your ancestors
Would they be proud of YOU?

Author Unknown

Grandma Climbed The Family Tree

There’s been a change in Grandma, we’ve noticed as of late
She’s always reading history, or jotting down some date.
She’s tracing back the family, we’ll all have pedigrees,
Grandma’s got a hobby, she’s Climbing Family Trees
Poor Grandpa does the cooking, and now, or so he states,
he even has to wash the cups and the dinner plates.
Well, Grandma can’t be bothered, she’s busy as a bee,
Compiling genealogy for the Family Tree.

She has not time to baby-sit, the curtains are a fright.
No buttons left on Grandpa’s shirt, the flower bed’s a sight.
She’s given up her club work, the serials on TV,
The only thing she does nowdays is climb the Family Tree.

The mail is all for Grandma, it comes from near and far.
Last week she got the proof she needs to join the DAR.
A monumental project - to that we all agree,
A worthwhile avocation - to climb the Family Tree.

There were pioneers and patriots mixed with our kith and kin,
Who blazed the paths of wilderness and fought through thick and thin.
But none more staunch than Grandma, whose eyes light up with glee,
Each time she finds a missing branch for the Family Tree.

To some it’s just a hobby, to Grandma it’s much more.
She learns the joys and heartaches of those who went before.
They loved, they lost, they laughed, they wept -- and now for you and me,
They live again in spirit around the Family Tree.

At last she’s nearly finished, and we are each exposed.
Life will be the same again, this we all suppose.
Grandma will cook and sew, serve crullers with our tea.
We’ll have her back, just as before that wretched Family Tree.

by Virginia Day McDonald, Macon, GA

The Genealogists Psalm

Genealogy is my pastime, I shall not stray.
It maketh me to lie down and examine half-buried tombstones.
It leadeth me into still courthouses;
It restoreth my ancestral knowledge.
It leadeth me in paths of census records &
ship's passenger lists for my surname's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the shadows of
research libraries & microfilm readers,
I shall fear no discouragement.
For a strong urge is within me; the curiosity
& motivation they comforteth me.
It demandeth preparation of storage space
for the acquisition of countless documents.
It annointeth my head with burning mid-night
oil; my family group sheets runneth over.

Surely birth, marriage, & death dates shall
follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of a family-
History seeker forever.

By Wildamae Brestal

O Family Tree, to the tune of "O Tannenbaum"

O Family Tree, O Family Tree
How sturdy are your branches.
O Family Tree, O Family Tree,
How sturdy are your branches.
Through many years in ages past
You have shown the strength to last.
O Family Tree, O Family Tree,
How sturdy are your branches.

O Family Tree, O Family Tree,
There is so much for you to tell.
O Family Tree, O Family Tree,
There is so much for you to tell.
Reveal to me your mystery
As I research my ancestry.
O Family Tree, O Family Tree,

There is so much for you to tell.
O Family Tree, O Family Tree,
Show to me my heritage.

O Family Tree, O Family Tree,
Show to me my heritage.
I learn from you so I can see
A part of you lives on in me.
O Family Tree, O Family Tree,
Show to me my heritage.

Author unknown.

The limbs that move,  the eyes that see,
These are not entirely me;
Dead men and women helped to shape
The mold which I do not escape;
The words I speak, my written line,
These are not uniquely mine.
For in my heart and in my will
Old ancestors are warring still,
Celt, Roman, Saxon, and all the dead
From whose rich blood my veins are fed,
In aspect, gesture, voices, tone,
Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone;
In fields they tilled I plow the sod,
I walk the mountain paths they trod;
And round my daily steps arise
The good and bad of those I comprise.

by English author Richard Rolle, written over 600 years ago.


I started out calmly tracing my tree
To find, if I could, the making of me
And all that I had was Great Grandfather's name
Not knowing his wife or which way he came.
I chased him across a long line of states
And came up with pages and pages of dates
When all put together it made me forlorn
I'd proved poor Great Grandpa had never been born.
One day I was sure the truth I had found
Determined to turn this whole thing upside down
I looked up the records of one Uncle John
But then found the old man to be younger than his son.
Then when my hopes were fast growing dim
I came across records that must have been him
The facts I collected then made me quite sad
Dear ol' Great Grandfather was never a dad.

I think maybe someone is pulling my leg
I'm not at all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree
I can't help but wonder if I'm really me? -Anon.

Courtesy of: Nicole Kilgore


Beatitudes Of A Family Genealogist

Blessed are the great-grandmothers, who hoarded newspaper clippings and old letters,
For they telll the story of their time.
Blessed are all grandfathers who filed every legal document,
For this provides proof.
Blessed are grandmothers who preserved family Bibles and diaries,
For this is our heritage.
Blessed are fathers who elect officials that answer letters of inquiry,
For--some--they are the only link to the past.
Blessed are mothers who relate family traditions and legends to the family,
For one of her children will surely remember.
Blessed are the relatives who fill in family sheets with extra data,
For them we owe the family history.
Blessed is any family whose members strive for the preservation of records,
For theirs is a labor of love.
Blessed are the children who will never say,
"Grandma, you have told that old story twice today."

Source: Prairieland Pioneer, Prairieland Genealogical Society, Southwest Historical Center Room 141, Southwest State
Univ. Marshall, MN 56258 Summer 1995 Edition; St Louis Genealogy Society; SWNGS
Ancestors Unlimited; Duluth Gen.
Soc. Branching Out; Ottertail County Gen. Soc.

Genealogists' Disease
This condition is very contagious to adults.

Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places

Patient has a blank expression, sometimes deaf  to spouse and children.
Has no taste for work of any kind except feverishly looking through records at libraries and Record  Offices.
Has compulsion to write letters. Swears at postman when he doesn't leave mail
Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins and remote, desolate country areas.
Makes secret night calls, mumbles to self.
Has strange faraway look in eyes.

Medication is useless. Disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend Family History  Workshops, subscribe to Genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner of the house where he, or she, can be alone.

The usual nature of the disease is - the sicker the patient gets, the more he, or she enjoys it 

Courtesy of: Marion Walte

I am a cencus takers for the city of Bufflow. Our city has groan very fast in resent years & now in 1865, it has become a hard & time consuming job to count all the peephill. There are not many that con do this werk, as it is nesessarie to have an ejucashun, wich a lot of pursons still do not have. Anuther atribeart needed for this job is god spelling, for meny of the pephill to be counted can hardle speek inglish, let alon spel there names.


God grant me the serenity to accept the ancestors I cannot find,
the courage to find the ones I can, 
and the wisdom to document thoroughly.

Computers Were Invented To Do Genealogy

A computer is a typewriter with an attitude.

Computer Genealogy: working out where your computer came from.

FAM_TREE.LST not found. Create new genealogist? (Y/n)

I have to stop now. My fingers are getting hoarse!

"I had quite a problem making a GEDCOM transfer

of one of my ancestors into another genealogy program.
Things got so bad I had to give him mouse to mouse resuscitation!"

If only ancestors came with pull-down menus and on-line help...

My life has become one large GEDCOM!!

PAF the Magic Dragon: a carriage to the past.

Ancestor files - a meeting place of cousins!

Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.

COFFEE.EXE Missing - Insert Cup and Press Any Key

{-------- The information went data way --------}

Bad command or file name! Go stand in the corner.

Press any key... no, no, no, NOT THAT ONE!
Original poem by
 Wayne Hand, 1999

Alas, my elusive kinsman

You've led me quite a chase
I thought I'd found your courthouse
But the Yankees burned the place.
You always kept your bags packed
Although you had no fame, and
Just for the fun of it
Twice you changed your name.
You never owed any man, or
At least I found no bills
In spite of eleven offspring
You never left a will.
They say our name's from Europe
Came state side on a ship
Either they lost the passenger list
Or granddad gave them the slip.
I'm the only one looking
Another searcher I can't find
I pray (maybe that's his fathers name)
As I go out of my mind.
They said you had a headstone
In a shady plot
I've been there twenty times, and
Can't even find the lot.
You never wrote a letter
Your Bible we can't find
It's probably in some attic
Out of sight and out of mind.
You first married a .....Smith
And just to set the tone
The other four were Sarahs
And everyone a Jones.
You cost me two fortunes
One of which I did not have
My wife, my house and Fido
God, how I miss that yellow lab.
But somewhere you slipped up,
Ole Boy, Somewhere you left a track
And if I don't find you this year
Well...... Next year I'll be back!
"My Grandmother...... Bobcia"

I've traveled across the sea in my mind,
an ancestor of mine I'm wishing to find.
so I close my eyes and see her once more,
my Grandmother of mine knocking at my front door.

I open the door to let her come in,
and I feel her heartbeat next to mine once again. This woman I've seen through eyes of a child, was kind and gentle, tender and mild.

She still is wearing on the top of her head,
a kerchief still colored a dark shade of red.
The homemade apron with pockets outlined, a treasure chest I knew I would find.

I see the fine lines ingrained on her face,
each line with my fingers I try hard to trace.
Through these lines I would visit another seashore, this Grandmother of mine, I'm outside of her door.

She'd open the door to let me come in,
and she'd feel my heartbeat next to hers' once again. This child she's seen through a Grandmother's eyes, was kind and gentle, tender and wise.

We had a nice visit, my Grandmother and me, both of us placed on our ancestral tree.
Our heartbeats are now beating as one,
as we sail from her homeland and my dreaming is done.

I awake from my sleep, but ingrained in my head, is my journey through time as I slumbered in bed.
I look in the mirror that is now set in place,
an image of me with my Grandmother's face.

Written by Sandy Lamere Solari

The Family Tree

I think that I shall never see, the finish of a family tree,
as it forever seems to grow from roots that started long ago.

Way back in ancient history time,
in foreign land and distant clime.

From them grew trunk and branching limbs,
that dated back to time so dim.

One seldom knows exactly when,
the parents met and married then;

Nor when the twigs began to grow,
with odd-named children, row on row.

Though verse like this is made by me,
the end's insight, as you can see.

"Tis not the same with family trees,
that grow and grow through centuries.

Author unknown

Our Elders Are Passing
By Jack M. Williams

Our elders are passing, one by one
Surely gone forever, until there are none.
Their bountiful memories, their knowledge of the past,
Soon will be lost, and beyond our grasp.

The past is prologue, so delicate to retain,
Slipping slowly from our grasp, ‘til nothing remains.
For our elders are passing, so sad but true,
And with them their memories, and all that they knew.

It's urgent for sure, to record each thought,
Of every family elder, so its not for naught.
So generations remember the beauteous past,
We'll retain that knowledge, and ensure it will last.

There'll be no better time, than that right now,
To begin your quest, or to renew your vow.
So locate your elders, and schedule that meeting,
In light of the fact, that time is so fleeting.

From " Missing Links" the Prodigy Genealogy newsletter,
a theme song for the computerized genealogist!
The author of these lyrics (to be sung to the  tune of the old Beatles' song "Yesterday") is unknown to us.

All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

There's not half the files there used to be,
And there's a millstone hanging over me
The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong
What it was I could not say.
Now all my data's gone
and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.

The need for back-ups seemed so far away.
I knew my data were all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.

Ancestors Of Yesterday.... 

Ancestors of so long ago,

I'll search until I find.
Till I can prove and clearly show,
that you are truly mine.

I'll follow behind your trail of tears,
the hidden footprints of time.
Covered and buried throughout the years,
and continue each mountain to climb.

I'll search every faraway seaside shore,
and every valley below.
I'll unlock each and every door,
as my own teardrops flow.

I'll unearth the buried History of you,
and your own Ancestral kin,
I'll search for that all important clue,
and open my heart to let you in.

By Sandy Lamere Solari


The Elusive Ancestor

by Merrell Kenworthy

Based on

Original poem by
 Wayne Hand, 1999

I went searching for an ancestor, I cannot find him still.
He moved around from place to place and did not leave a will.
He married where a courthouse burned. He mended all his fences.
And avoided any man who came to take the U.S. Census
He always kept his luggage packed, this man who had no fame,
And every 20 years or so, this rascal changed his name.
His parents came from Europe.  They should be on some list
of passengers to the U.S.A., but somehow they got missed.
And no one else in this whole world is searching for this man.
So, I play geneasolitaire to find him if I can.
I'm told he's buried in a plot, with tombstone he was blessed;
but weather took engraving, and some vandals took the rest.
He died before the county clerk decided to keep records.
No Family Bible has emerged, in spite of all my efforts,
To top it off, this ancestor, who caused me many groans,
Just to give me one more pain betrothed a girl named Jones.

Oh! Prodigal Progenitors, Wherefore Art Thou?
by Jeffery G. Scism

I know they are in here, I saw them once upon a time

They must be Hiding, those progenitors of Mine.
I've checked on disc, and found them not.
on the desk, where've they Got?
I've looked in sites, both far and near,
Nary a trace of them, I fear.
They went west, so they say,
Disappeared out California way.
But somehow, when all is said,
I'll bring them home, to our Homestead.

Census Takers--True Stories
The Texas 1850 Federal Census schedule, Volume 3, written by H. Swaringen, Asst. Marshall, 23 October 1850 contains this note written by the census taker.

"I certify these to be sixty-four pages and a piece of the inhabitants and done as near in accordance with my oath as I could do it. The people was hard to get along with!"

"When you have the Energy and the Time -- You haven't got the Money!"
"When you have the Energy and the Money -- You haven't got the Time!"
"When you have the Money and the Time -- You haven't got the Energy!"

The Unknown

Dear ----,

I have spent several years looking for family information and have, as of this week, decided that I am a descendent of the family branch called UNKNOWNS.

I find kazillions with the names of my branches but my branches don't seem to attach to any trees in the known world. Therefore, I have concluded that there are four ways in which the UNKNOWNS originated:

1. We were sent to the colonies by the British government in the 1700's  to spy. We so excelled in the art of blending in with the flora and fauna that no one knew we were here...even the British lost contact with us.

2. We were dropped off here by one of the space ships that some think  visited our planet. Again, we were outstanding in the ability to blend  in and so were never noticed. Somewhere down the line someone forgot to  tell us that we are from another planet. I think the space ships some people report seeing and being captured by, are our true family and  they are looking for us to take us home.

3. Immaculate conception...which explains itself.

4. I really don't exist. I am but a figment of someone's imagination but don't know who that someone is.

I am very frustrated as you can tell. Do you have a section in this area  for us UNKNOWNs to apply to families for adoption so that we can attach  our tiny branch buds and belong to some tree... any tree?

Written by: Mary Ann Bartlett 

10 Family Rules

List developed by a Frustrated Genealogist
 1. Go Forth and Multiply
 2. Pack up and move to a different location many times
 3. Use names other than those given to you
 4. Refuse to talk about your family or ancestors
 5. Make up interesting stories that can't be verified
 6. Make spelling changes to your name regularly (And anything else important, or otherwise)
 7. Have many different birth dates
 8. Do not record any kind of family information
 9. Claim to have come from a different Country (preferably one that doesn't keep records)
 10. Do not save any family correspondence

The Recording Of A Cemetery
By Thelma Greene Reagan

Today we walked where others walked
On a lonely, windswept hill;
Today we talked where others cried
For Loved Ones whose lives are stilled.

Today our hearts were touched
By graves of tiny babies;
Snatched from the arms of loving kin,
In the heartbreak of the ages.

Today we saw where the grandparents lay
In the last sleep of their time;
Lying under the trees and clouds -
Their beds kissed by the sun and wind.

Today we wondered about an unmarked spot;
Who lies beneath this hollowed ground?
Was it a babe, child, young or old?
No indication could be found.

Today we saw where Mom and Dad lay.
We had been here once before
On a day we'd all like to forget,
But will remember forever more.

Today we recorded for kith and kin
The graves of ancestors past;
To be treasured for generations hence,
A record we hope will last.

Cherish it, my friend; preserve it, my friend,
For stones sometimes crumble to dust
And generations of folks yet to come
Will be grateful for your trust.

From a letter to the Editor of the West Side Leader (suburban Akron, Ohio), and it pretty well sums up why genealogists have such a soft spot in their hearts for old cemeteries.

Ancestral Promise
I will show importance to their existence here,
even though some paths are marked by a trail of sorrow...
left a lonely tear.

I will walk along paths marked in stone,
to delve in paths memories exited and left alone.

I will search so that time cannot erase,
Ancestors of yesteryear who have left without a trace.

These are promises I will keep dear in my heart,
 for only a short time will we be apart.

Written by Sandy Lamere Solari

Genealogy Nightmare

My daughter never married but she's lived with Joe, so long,
And they and the kids are so happy that somehow, it doesn't seem wrong.

My son, he was legally married but his wife kept her own name.
We don't know the name of our grand-kids but, we love everyone, just the same.

But, my sister, she really got married, she 'tied the knot' all seven times.
Her family could pass for a railroad with the crossing of so many lines!

My brother, well, he was adopted, but he found his natural kin,
And our family tree is just 'blooming' like a wild and monstrous thing.

I try to keep things in order every one, a place of their own,
But what shall I do about Father, he says,"He's really a clone!"

E.H. Waldram

I Want

by Barbara A Brown

Ms. Brown's "I Want" article was originally posted in 1994 to the National Genealogical Conference, FIDO bulletin board forum.

Yep -- I want ancestors with names like Rudimentary Montagnard or Melchizedick von Steubenhoffmannschild or Spetznatz Gianfortoni, not William Brown or John Hunter or Mary Abbott.

I want ancestors who could read and write, had their children baptized in recognized houses of worship, went to school, purchased land, left detailed wills (naming a huge extended family as legatees), had their photographs taken once a year -- subsequently putting said pictures in elaborate glass frames annotated with calligraphic inscriptions, and carved voluble and informative inscriptions in their headstones. I want relatives who managed to bury their predecessors in established, still-extant (and indexed) cemeteries.

I want family members who wrote memoirs, who enlisted in the military as officers and who served in strategically important (and well documented) skirmishes. I want relatives who served as councilmen, schoolteachers, county clerks and town historians. I want relatives who 'religiously' wrote in the family Bible, journaling every little event and detailing the familial relationship of every visitor.

In the case of immigrant progenitors, I want them to have arrived only in those years wherein passenger lists were indexed by National Archives, and I want them to have applied for citizenship, and to have done so only in those jurisdictions which have since established indices.

I want relatives who were patriotic and clubby, who joined every patrimonial society they could find, who kept diaries, and listed all their addresses, who had paintings made of their horses, and who dated every piece of paper they touched. I want forebears who were wealthy enough to afford, and to keep for generations, the tribal homestead, and who left all the aforementioned pictures and diaries and journals intact in the library.

But most of all, I want relatives I can find!!!



I've been doing family history for nearly 30 years,
Diligently tracing my illustrious forebears,

From Pigeon Lake to Peterborough, Penrith to Penzance,
My merry band of ancestors has led me quite a dance.

There's cooks from Kent and guards from Gwent and chimney sweeps from Chester.
There's even one daft fisherman lived all his life in Leicester,

There's no- one rich or famous, no not even well-to-do,
Though a second cousin twice removed once played in goal for Crewe.

I've haunted record offices from Gillingham to Jarrow,
The little grey cells of my mind would humble Hercule Poirot.

I've deciphered bad handwriting that would shame a three year old,
And brought the black sheep of the family back to the fold.

My bride of just three minutes, I left standing in the church,
As I nipped into the graveyard for a spot of quick research.

Eventually I found an uncle, sixty years deceased.
That was far more satisfying than a silly wedding feast,

After three weeks of wedded bliss, my wife became despondent
She named the public records office as the co-respondent.

I didn't even notice when she packed her bags and went
I was looking for a great granddad's will who'd died in Stoke on Trent

But now my 30 year obsession's lying in the bin
Last Tuesday week, I heard some news that made me pack it in.

Twas then my darling mother, who is not long for this earth,
Casually informed me they'd adopted me at birth!

Author Unknown


Interesting details discovered during the process of indexing the British 1881 Census. (Found in the Ensign magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 1996, p. 58.)

The wife, mother, and daughter of James Christmas were all named Mary Christmas

Frank Guest was listed as a visitor

Harriet Goodhand was listed as a domestic servant

The families of William Lovegrove, Henry Dearlove, and William Darling all lived on the same block in Oxfordshire

A woman named Rose married Robert Garden

Emma Boatwright married a seaman

Mr. Thorn lived in Rose Cottage

Robert Speed, a bus driver and post runner

Robert Robb, a detective officer

Phoebe Brain, a scholar

One woman's birthplace was listed as "in stage coach between Nottingham and Derby"

John Pounder, a blacksmith

William Scales, a piano maker

Herman Hamberger, born in Greece

Curious occupations: dirt refiner, hoveller, moleskin saver, piano puncher, sparable cutter, spittle maker, tingle maker, and whim driver

Twin four-year-olds named Peter the Great and William the Conqueror

Brothers named Seaman and Landsman

The occupation of three daughters was entered as "They toil not, neither do they spin"

Genealogist’s Prayer

Lord, help me dig into the past,
And sift the sands of time,
That I might find the roots that made
This family tree of mine.

Lord, help me trace the ancient roads,
On which my fathers trod,
And led them through so many lands,
To find our present sod.

Lord, help me find an ancient book,
Or dusty manuscript,
That's safely hidden now away,
In some forgotten crypt.

Lord, let it bridge the gap that haunts
My soul, when I can't find
The missing link between some name
That ends the same as mine.
-Author Unknown

Tombstone epitaphs...

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekial Aikle
Age 102
The Good Die Young.

In a London, England cemetery:
Ann Mann
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
Anna Wallace
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.

Playing with names in a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast
Pardon me For not rising.

Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:
Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.

In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:
Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.

A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:
Sacred to the memory of my husband John Barnes who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.

Lester Moore was a Wells Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, Arizona, in the cowboy days of the 1880's.
He's buried in the Boot Hill Cemetry in Tombstone, Arizona:
Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.

Anna Hopewell's grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont has an epitaph
that sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie:
Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go

John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:
Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.

Tombstone epitaphs...

In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so shall you be,
Remember this and follow me.

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstome:
To follow you I'll not consent,
Until I know which way you went.

Grave marker in Covington, Virginia
"I made a lot of deals in my lifetime ...
But I sure went in the hole on this one!"

On a grave at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia
"She always said her feet were killing her
But nobody believed her!"

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England
"On the 22nd of June
~ Jonathan Fiddle ~
Went out of tune."

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York
Born 1903 - Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car
Was on the way down.  It was."

A lawyer's epitaph in England
"Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is strange!"

Someone in Winslow, Maine didn't like Mr. Wood:
In Memory of Beza Wood
Departed this life
Nov. 2, 1837  Aged 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood  Enclosed in wood
One Wood  Within another.
The outer wood Is very good:
We cannot praise The other.

On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.

The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania is almost a consumer tip:
Who was fatally burned
March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with "R.E. Danforth's
Non-Explosive Burning Fluid"

More fun with names with Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England:
Gone away
Owin' more
Than he could pay.

In a Georgia cemetery:
"I told you I was sick!"

All I Want For Christmas
 Is A New Surname

Dear Santa: Don't bring me new dishes,
I don't need a new kind of game.
Genealogists have peculiar wishes
For Christmas I just want a surname.

A new washing machine would be great,
But it's not the desire of my life.
I've just found an ancestor's birth date;
What I need now is the name of his wife.

My heart doesn't yearn for a ring
That would put a real diamond to shame.
What I want is a much cheaper thing;
Please give me Mary's last name.

To see my heart singing with joy,
Don't bring me a read leather suitcase,
Bring me a genealogist's toy;
a surname with dates and a place.

(author unknown)
(seen in Illinois State Gen Soc newsletter 1984)

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas,

My True love gave to me,
Twelve Census Searches,
Eleven Printer Ribbons,
Ten E-Mail Contacts,
Nine Headstone Rubbings,
Eight Birth and Death dates,
Seven Town Clerks Sighing,
Six Second Cousins,
Five Coats of Arms,
Four GEDCOM files,
Three old Wills,
And a Branch in my Family Tree.

A Genealogist's Christmas Eve

(author unknown)

"Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.
The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and with letters which said...
"Too bad about the data for which you wrote
Sank in a storm on an ill fated boat."

Stacks of old copies of wills and the such
Were proof that my work had become much to much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.

Christmas was here, and of such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I forgot.
Had I not been so busy with grandparent's wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills.
While others had bought gifts that would bring Christmas cheer;
I'd spent time researching those birthdates and years.

While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and I yanked up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear?
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.

Up to the housetop the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys, and old Santa Claus too.
And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.
The TV antenna was no match for their horns,
And look at our roof with hoof-prints adorned.

As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa - KER-RASH!
"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet, (I could wring his short neck!)
Spotting my face, good old Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.

 He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy;
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.
He spied my research on the table all spread
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)

"Tonight I've met many like you", Santa grinned.
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.
I gazed with amazement - the cover it read
"Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead."
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug,"
He said as he gave me a great Santa Hug.

"While the elves make the sleigh full of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!
A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folks who can't find a thing.
Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."

As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee, I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.
While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle, To his team which then rose like the down of a thistle
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family History is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"

Another Christmas Carol that pokes fun at computer genealogy programs, posted to the defunct FidoNet National Genealogical Echo on 16 Dec 1994 by Sandy Clunies

"Christmas Carol" 1994

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,
Just one creature was stirring, my serial mouse.

When out from the keyboard, there came      such a clatter
That I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the 'puter I flew like a flash,
To see what came after the busy back\slash.

The moon on the monitor started to glow,
Gave a luster of midday to C-prompts below.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a screenful of sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With little old driver, and elves, and a gnome
All colorfully marching 'cross my monochrome!

More rapid than eagles, his cursors they came
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, TMG!   Roots IV!   And BK, let's laugh!
On Family Ties!   Family Edge!   GEDCOM!   And PAF!

To the top of the screen! To the top of the file!
Let's give all those family researchers a smile!"

They've worked hard all year, their persistence is awful —
Let's give them a gift of a new ahnentafel

That solves all their puzzles, that fills every gap
In their pedigree chart." Then he turned with a snap,

And laying a finger aside of his ear,
And giving a nod, he made the screen clear!

But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he scrolled out of sight,
"Better backup that data one more time tonight!"
A Christmas Incident
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the charts
The lines that were empty would sure break your heart.
The pedigree chart was laid out with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas would know who or where.
As searcher I nestled all snug in my bed
While visions of ancestors danced through my head.

Others sound asleep both upstairs and down
All in a nightcap and ankle length gown.
when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I jumped from my bed to see what was the matter.
When much to my wonderment there did appear
Good old St Nicholas with a grin to each ear.

His bulk was tremendous, his eyes full of glee
He laughed as he picked up the sad pedigree.
He shouted and roared and ripped it to bits
While I swallowed my heart and went into fits.
"Dash it all, dash it all," I heard him then say,
"This clutter and mess is just in my way."

He said not a word as he started his job
He sat down at once and his pencil did jog.
A new pedigree he filled out in two winks
Giving names, dates, and places and all missing links.
Clear back to Adam, and down to the last...
For ageless was he, having served in the past.

I thought, "Oh, how wonderful it would all be
If he did for others what he did for me!!:
As he finished and blotted the ink not quite dry
A sadness came over me and then I did cry!
He gave me the details and seemed to have such fun
But now all my ancestor chasing was done!!!

He bounced out the window and I heard him say,
"For others I'll do the same any old day,
Just tell them my number and be good and kind,"
But then, a sure thought came into my mind...
Nobody wants ancestors that fast and so good
I'll let everyone else do the job just as they should.

by Dora Mills - Ash Tree Echo Jan 1983


"There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors,
 and no slave who has not had a king among his."
-- Helen Keller

A brief selection from the Old Parish Registers

Please note that the spelling and grammar of these extracts are exactly as they appear in the Registers - we haven't forgotten to spell check the page!

Let us start with a quotation from the Psalms:
'The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people that this man was born there.'
(Psalm 87, verse 6)

However he hadn't reckoned on the vagaries of the Session Clerk:

'Any person that wants a child's name in any of the three preceding pages may scarcely expect to find it in the proper place. They being wrote by Mr King, late schoolmaster depute here without any regularity or order.'

And, in different handwriting and ink:

'The above ill natured ungentlemanlike observation was written by Mr James Whyte and stands as one mark of his own distinguished Idiotism.'
(Dunning, 1764; OPR 350/1, Fr 124)

'N.B. Let not Posterity be surprised that this register is not complete. It is and has been the custom of the Revd. Mr Peter Campbell ever since the Incumbency of the present Clerk to baptize Children: without a certificate of their names being registered. In consequence of which, it may safely be averred that one third if not one Half were given in.'
(Glossary, 1768; OPR 511/1, Fr 9)

End of 1773
Totalling up of Births Total 37 - " ym 20 years Total 640 or 32 each at an average".  (In beautiful script) "Mr Wylie's remarks in our volumes in an abominable hand - writing".
(821/5 Fr278)

14th May 1797
The Schoolmaster having resigned His charge of this date, the Register is continued by J.Anderson minr.

Sept. 2nd 1797

'Having found many Inconveniences resulting to the poor owing to the names of their Children not being regularly inserted; & having been put to a great Deal of Trouble in Consequence of this Neglect, at the Time of raising The Militia; I have resolved in future to keep the Register myself; & to allow the Schoolmaster a Yearly Salary for officiating at Session Clerk meetings.'
(Kingussie and Insh, 1797 OPR 102/2, Fr 300)

From Dundonald Kirk Session:
A committee appointed to examine the Register of Baptisms 1836 - 1839. Comment - "a mass of confusion". A very slight inspection of this record convinced the Committee that the entries had not been made with a degree of care proportional to its importance ... The faults observed in these entries may for the sake of brevity be reduced to the following heads.
1st  Interlineations of which there are 16
2nd Corrections of which there are 15
3rd Imperfect of which there are 4
4th Wrong name of place and person of which there are 3
5th Wrong dates of which there are 2

'In one of these cases a child is represented to have been baptised about a week before birth, a circumstance not likely to have occurred.'
(Dundonald, 1839)

1744 Febry. 4th
'By an unlucky Accident the Session Clerk's House was burnt; By which the Records of Marriages and Baptisms were lost.'
(Stoneykirk,1744 OPR 898/1, Fr 221)

Some, of course, were less understanding... ‘Forgetfulness is no Excuse' - 'Amen' [in different writing]
(Duffus, 1755; OPR 151/3, Fr 568)

Luckily not all our ancestors have remained in oblivion - their coming into the world being recorded in a variety of ways and styles:

Deskford, 1740

Alexander MacHattie in Ardoch had a Child by his Wife who was born with a wooden leg. It is supposed the child has been got by a Chelsea Pensioner with a timber heugh' [in different writing and crossed out].

(Deskford, 10.1 1740; OPR 151/1, Fr 164)

Torthorwald, 1773
Andrw. /S/ Samuel Murrah labourer Torw. Born Jany. 26 Baptized Decr. 31.
Note: 'Andw Murrah was born with an eye tooth come a considerable length but disappeared afterward in the Gum.'
(Torthorwald, 1773; OPR 850/1, Fr 37)

1809 11 May
'Born per Letter and Exposed 5th June found at 2 o'Clock a.m. at Mr Potts's Door Wester Breich Dyke and baptised on the 22d Nov. - a son named Jas. Russell Livingstone died Friday 24th Novr. 1809.'
(Livingston, 1809 OPR 669/1, Fr 22)

Livingston, 1807
Born to Hellen Baxter in the Village of Livingston on 28 Decr 1805 and Baptized on the 26th Feby. 1807 named Helen Baxter 'N.B. This Child at the time of its Baptism could not find a Father. Her Mother gave it to a Packman which she said came up to her on the road from Edinr. though the Father was suspected to be nearer the doors. But a confession from the time it was born to this day Could not be extorted from the Mother.'   (Livingston, 1807; OPR 669/1, Fr 358)

Edinburgh, 1830
 'Andrew Young's daughter Abigail born with 2 teeth'.
 (Tolbooth Church, Edinburgh, bap 26.2 1830; OPR 685.T/1 Fr 326)

Middlebie Parish, Dumfries
ROBERT GRIEVE & his wife Mary Thomson had a son born at Alfornothing on the 16th
October 1835 & baptized  James. Registered on 31st December 1855 by Chris Borthwick,
(OPR 841/2, Fr 225)

June 24, 1754 - John Thomson, Bluegown in the 87th year of his age & Elizabeth Marshall had a son bap. called:WALTER. Wits: Walter Christie & Andrew Forbes.
(OPR 426/4, Fr -)

Description of father's character or local rivalry?
'Septr 29th to George Anderson in Swannyside (a scoundrall a knave a scrub a rascall a villain a cheat) a son called Andrew'
[and in a different hand below the entry].
'The above George Anderson is as honest, just obliging man as any other man in the parish to the master, minr & school master and to all others. Attested by John Louitt Session Clerk'
(Birsay, Orkney, OPR 13/1, 1751)

And as today, naming was a matter of personal preference...

9th April 1769
'James Paterson and Jean Frazer in Thornhill had a daughter baptised before the Congregation called William-All-Mina.'
(Morton, 1769; OPR 843/1, Fr 96)

Or how about this for a name:

Something - George Something lawful son to what-ye-call-him in Mains of Barskimming was baptized April 9th 1704.
(Ochiltree, 1704 OPR 609/1. page 9)

Waterloo Wellington Kennedy.' (Born 11 Feb/Bapt 22 Feb WATERLOO Wellington lawful son of James Kennedy Junior Seedsman and Elizabeth Hayne Dumfries - Baptised by Dr Wallace)
 (Dumfries, 1853; OPR 821/8, Fr 2041)

‘1774 June 15th BALDY Lawll. Son to Archd Buchanan and Jean Buchanan at Rid[?] was baptized before these witnesses: John and Walter Buchanan Elders'
 (OPR 482/3)

And with great expectations:

22nd February 1818, Glasgow
'Duncan McIntyre Mason & Mary McIntyre [had] a Law. Son [called] Saint Mark - Bo. 31st January Wit: James Laird & John Gilmour'
(Glasgow, 1818; OPR 644.1/22*, Fr 2456)

4th July 1819, Glasgow
'Archibald McPherson Weaver & Elizabeth Forsyth [had] a Law. Son [called] John Baptist Wit: John McPherson & James Douglas.'
(OPR 644.1/22*, Fr 2552)

Some, of course, had it made from the start...

15th July 1690, Dunfermline
The 12th day bout nine hours in the morning being a Saturday, John Christie [Chrystie] precentor had ane manchild born to him of his wife [Jean] Finlay, baptised ye 15th instant by Mr Simon Cowper and called James. The godfryes was James, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland defender of ye Faith and James Finley grandfather to the child.'
(OPR 424/3, Fr 916)

We pass now to marriage

Banchory Devenick, 1827
Marriage of Andrew Wood & Agnes Twig [And they branched out] (not in book)
(24 July 1828 son George)
(Banchory Devenick, Kincardineshire; 4.10.1827 - OPR 251/3, Fr-)

A gentle recommendation for getting married:

'Marriage is honourable in all things and the bed undefiled. But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. And marriage was institute for the procreation of children in a lawful way.Better Marry than Burn.'
(Edinburgh, 1721)

Clearly little changes and marriage has always been an uncertain state:

'Donald Camerone (Woodend) to Mary Cameron (Aharkile)

N.B. There has been something very odd about the above parties. They fast contracted and then split. Then agreed and with much regularity married, were not married passing 5 days when lo the weaker vessel set sail and steered her course for her mammy.'
(Strontian, Feb 1833 - OPR 505-3/2, Fr-)

 '25 June. Patrick Cheyne, Schoolmaster at Echt & Mrs. Sophia Garioch, Daugtr. of Alexr. Garioch Farmer in Glack in the Parish of Kinernie were contracted in order to Marriage but by the mutual consent of both Parties [the match was broke off].
Ha ha ha ha! He he he!' [in different writing]
(Wm Blair's Transcript - Midmar, 1720; OPR 222/1, Fr 231

'Married 24th June James Dobie in the parish of Lochmaben to Jenny Cannon lately in the Moss from Lochrutton, both out of this parish, being the first pair married in the New Kirk. She was next year condemned to be hanged for stealing cattle but got a reprieve and afterwards a full pardon.'
(Lochmaben, 1786)

'Hugh Thomson and Jean Greenlies both in this Congregation. She Rewed'.
(Campbeltown, 1723; OPR 507/1A, Fr 225)

Parents didn't always approve of their child's choice of partner:

'Alexander Blair, weaver and Eliza Russell both of this Parish have been three several times proclaimed in the Parish Church here.  Objections to the said Marriage betwixt the said Alexander Blair & Eliza Russell have been made by James Blair father of Alexander Blair as father.
1) That the said Alexander Blair is not of the age nor can he without the consent of his parents enter into a Matrimonial alliance.
 2) That the said Eliza Russell is not the person he can recommend as a wife to his said son. She having had several illegitimate children.
3) That the said James Blair considers that his said son is scarcely of the age of puberty, at least he is not eighteen years of age.'
(OPR 424/17, Fr 5048A)

And in Longforgan in 1685 we find the somewhat ambiguous statement:

'It is also ordered that no brydegroom kiss his bryde before the Minister under the pain of ten merk.'

But as the testaments remind us, nothing is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than the time and manner thereof...

Death by 'stupidity'
'James Robertson born January 1785 died 16th June 1848 aged 63 years. He was a peaceable quiet man; and to all appearances a sincere Christian. His death was very much regretted which was caused by the stupidity of Laurence Tulloch in Clotharter who sold him nitre instead of Epsom salts by which he was killed in the space of 3 hours after a dose of it.'
 (Esherness, Shetland)

A sordid tale of adultery and murder
 'About the beginning of this month there was a child born by an Barbara Hervie a malefactor who about Martinmas last had given poison in a drink of warm small ale to her husband John Tod who lived in Balchristie at that time and the said Barbara having been taken in the act of uncleaness with an Robert Reid who when he was servant to the said John Tod had contrived the busines betwixt him and the said Barbara Hervie that they might the more freely enjoy an another by a marriage after his death: it was not above 3 or four days after the death of her husband when they were taken in this abominable act and the man dying in a sudden not being sick above two days and dying by a great swelling in his body which he was not subject to before and the womans too familiar carriage with the d Robt Reid befor her husbands death, all this gave a great suspition to all the neighbours that she had somway murdered him and given him some kind of poisonous dozz or another, this report being spread abroad at length came to the minr. of Newburn Mr James Hay, be name, his airs, who assigned the sd Barbara befor his session and having posed her upon all the above written circumstances, she confessed ye whole and that she had lyon in adulterie half a year before her goodmans death with the sd Rot. Reid and declaired that she was with child but could not tell whether it was to her husband or to Rot. Reid, upon which they were both seized on and brought to Dunfermline where the both were keapt in prison while the child was brought forth, where it was baptized by an of our own mins. called: ISOBEL, after which the man and the woman both were by ane assyse found guiltie of death and the man ordained to be hanged att the towr hill the 22 instant and the poor infant to be sent to the parish of Newburn to be brought up, after that the sd Robert Reid had lyon a considerable of time in the prison att length he brock through the wall of it, being the lymhous and in the night time made his escape and was away upwards of eight or ten days in which time he might have easilie been out of the kingdom but accidentilie he was taken by an Gilbert Robertson who was assisted by William Eson, a Sclatter at Newtyle in Angus and brought in to ye town that same day that the woman was brought to bed which is a notable instance of god almighties justice that he will not suffer such notorious sinners to go unpunished even in this world whatever shift they may make to escap justice.'
(Bap. Dunfermline, March 1689; OPR 424/3, Fr 906)

Rathen, 1798
Thomas Ogilvie born 2nd January 1798 died 21st September. 5th son, 10th child of George Ogilvie by Rebecca Irvine his wife. This infant is the only descendant of his maternal grandparents that is yet deceased, all their 6 children, 24 grandchildren being still living, whose joint ages amount to upwards of five hundred and twenty two years.'
(Rathen, Aberdeenshire)

Collessie, 1793
'Thomas Garrick died in Collessie 1793. He was in the practice of waling to Rossie and the other adjacent houses within a few months of his death. Was a soldier in the Duke of Argyle's Regiment in 1715. Married his second wife, a stout woman of about 50 years, in his 99th year, who died about 2 years ago.'
(Collessie, Fife)

Lethnot & Navar Parish Mort Roll, Forfarshire,1755
March 25th Agnes Tod aged near a hundred a Cottars wife in Witten whose sight even on her death bed continued so strong that she could see to thread a needle, also retained memory & other senses unimpaired to the last.
(OPR 300/1 Fr 332)

Inveresk Parish, 20 July 1725
PATRICK SPENCE Workman & Margaret Dickson his spouse their son named: JAMES was Born the Twentieth day of July and Baptised the --- thereof.
Witnesses: William Cass & Andrew Hay Bap. Privately in their house by Mr R.B.
(OPR 689/7, Fr 2211)

"This Marg. Dickson was executed in the Grassmercat of Edr. the 2d of September last for murdering her own child."

No collection of quotes from the Old Parochial Registers can be complete without some references to the "miscellaneous, heterogeneous and (to others) trivial things", as the Minister of Kirkmahoe described them before launching into a long description of the weather and crops in the parish, which are to be found intermingled with the records of baptisms and proclamations and burials including:

'Cure for the bite of a Mad Dog either in Man or Beast'
'Take rue small shorn, garlick stamped, mithridate or Venice Tryacle, syrup of tin or pewter. Boil all these in 2 quarts of stale ale in a pot close covered for an hour. Then strain it and give this liquor in the morning fasting and warm to a man or woman nine spoonfuls, to a beast cold, to an horse or cow eleven spoonfuls, to a sheep eight spoonfuls, to a dog four spoonfuls.'
(Dunning, Perthshire)

25th November 1779
'Being a day appointed by the synod for publick Thanksgiving in Commemoration of 1st - the goodness of divine providence in granting us a favourable season and a plentiful harvest: 2nd the Internal peace and tranquility which we in this part of the country enjoy in time of publick danger while war wages abroad and the sea coasts of this island have been threatened with Invasion: 3rdly the removal of our late fears for the repeal of the laws in being against property.'
(Dunning, 1779)

To find the age of the moon
'Add the Epact for March 1st for April 2nd, for May 3rd, for June 4th and July 5th for August 6th, for September 8th, for October 8th, for November 10th, for January 10th and February 2nd. Having added to the Epact the number for the month according to the rule foregoing, add thereto the day of the month for which the moon's age is required, these three sumes add thereto if less than 30 is the moon's age, if more than 30 then: divide it by 30, the Re..... (this dessertation was never finished ...)'
(Eckford, 1790)

To ease the afflictions of Man
'Sold by George Reid, printer at bottom of Fisher's Land Close, Lawnmarket, first door of the stair, sells tincture of sagge and Canada balsam for curing in women one of the most afflicting disorders to which human nature is subject and in Men the disorders from the passion of Giogenes.'
(Scoonie, 1775)

Even in the 18th century fallout was a problem... '20th October 1755 On a Monday a very dark sky and yet the sun was seen mostly all day and there fell a Black heavy Dust upon the earth.'
(Sandsting and Aithsting, 1755)

...and global warming was affecting the weather
'1st December 1811 Sunday ½ Dairy
I preached at home today. It was a raw and windy day threatening rain, few in church - collection 5s. 2d. Mr Ewin, schoolmaster at Dalswinton village dined with me. I lent Mr Lancaster's book on education. It now begins to rain heavily (6 o'clock p.m.) and is likely to rain much. We have had a week or two of very fierce winter weather after two months of the most rainy and floody weather I have ever witnessed. The comet seems to me to have been the cause of the uncommon warm weather in the month of August and beginning of September and of the consequent very wet weather, and of the virial days immediately past, and the earth being so heated by the approach of this body, little frost may be expected till the new year be arrived.'
(Kirkmahoe, 1811)

Last thoughts....
And having given you such seasonal thoughts on the weather, we will leave you with these two gems - in the words of a Frenchwoman who wrote saying       .... "I want to search for my family trunk".
Please search for B Henry Steward Wishart 7 July ? 1872 (at Silas Low ? - client's info).
(644/7 fr 1282)  NOTE : Silas Low = GLASGOW

The Family Is The Rock

Oh, we know what feeling alone feels like, 
And we know how it feels to feel rejected; 
But the worst feeling in the whole wide world 
Must be the feeling that you're unconnected. 
With no ties at all to bind you, 
No family ahead or behind you. 
What else in this world do you have to keep you sane? 
We all need to know that we're a necessary link 
In a never ending chain. 

There are times when the family rock is too heavy. 
Times when you really don't need reminding 
How much the folks who love you, love you. 
When the ties that bind are all too binding 
The minute you get your freedom 
You realize how much you need 'em. 
What else in this world do you have to keep you sane? 
We all need to know that we're a necessary link 
In a never ending chain. 

Cause it's the family roots that feed us, 
The family circles that need us, 
The family lives that lead us on 
And on and on. 
And it's the family dreams that drive us. 
The family will survive us; 
Yes, the family will be here when we're gone, 
When we're gone. 

Oh the family is the rock, 
The foundation and the soul. 
The family is the heart, 
Makes us human, keeps us whole; 
You may wander from the circle, 
You may wander from the flock 
But you come home to the family 
Cause the family is the rock; 
The family is the rock. 

Arthur Unknown

To forget one's ancestors
is to be a brook without a source,
 a tree without a root."
Chinese Proverb

Something for Grandmas

Once upon a time a child was ready to be born.
The child asked God,
"How am I going to live on Earth when I'm so small and helpless?"
God replied, "I'll choose an Angel to watch over you.
She'll be waiting on Earth when you arrive.
"She will sing for you and will also smile for you every
day.  And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."

Again the child asked, "But I won't know the language there.
How am I ever going to communicate?"
God said, "Your angel will speak the most beautiful and sweet words
you will ever hear and, with much patience and care, will teach
you how to speak.  And she will use her voice to sing sweet
lullabies as she rocks you to sleep."

"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?" asked the child.
God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you
how to pray.  She will teach you that prayer is the best way
to talk to me, not just in times of need, but in happy times, too."
"I've heard that on Earth there are bad people.  Who will protect me?"
God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking her life.
She will instruct you in the things you need to know to live
life joyfully and safely."

"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."
God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about me and will teach
you the way to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you."
At that moment there was much peace in Heaven.

The child's journey was about to begin.
the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I am to leave now,
please tell me my angel's name."
God said, "Her name is not important.
You will simply call her GRANDMA." 


It must be here somewhere... 

 Grandpa said so!

A Genealogy Game

How fast can you name the relationship to you?

1. Father's brother's uncle's sister?
2. Grandmother's nephew's daughter?
3. Aunt's mother's father's wife?
4. Mother's aunt's grandson?
5. Brother's son's sister's mother?
6. Cousin's aunt's daughter's brother's?
7. Sister-in-law's father-in-law's grandson?
8. Sister's father's stepson's mother?
9. Uncle's father's only grandchild?
10. Brother-in-law's wife's grandmother's husband?
11. Uncle's father's mother's husband?
12. Aunt's mother's granddaughter's only sibling?
13. Granddaughter's brother's mother's mother-in-law?
14. Niece's father's only brother?
15. Aunt's husband's sister's daughter?

"Two ladies were talking together at a genealogical meeting. One woman was a bit  of a snob. She said, "My family tree begins with my ancestors who arrived in America on the Mayflower!"

The other woman quickly replied, "Unfortunately we lost all our family records in  The Flood!"

Submitted by Lynn Pipher

At hand is a letter addressed to my name from a genealogy researcher who claims to have traced my family tree. He certainly knows how to get your attention. It begans: "Your Majesty"

These quotes are from copies of actual correspondence received by the Family History Department of the LDS Church:

Our 2nd great grandfather was found dead crossing the plains in the library. He was married 3 times in the endowment house and has 21 children.

For running down the Wheelers, I will send $3.00 more.

He and his daughter are listed as not being born.

I would like to find out if I have any living relatives or dead relatives or ancestors in my family.

Will you send me a list of all the Dripps in your library?

My Grandfather died at the age of 3.

We are sending you 5 children in a separate envelope.

Documentation: Family Bible in possession of Aunt Merle until the tornado hit Topeka, Kansas, now only the Good Lord knows where it is

The wife of #22 could not be found. Somebody suggested that she might have been stillborn - what do you think?

I am mailing you my aunt and uncle and 3 of their children.

Enclosed please find my Grandmother. I have worked on her for 30 years without success. Now see what you can do.

I have a hard time finding myself in London. If I were there I was very small and cannot be found.

This family had 7 nephews that I am unable to find. If you know who they are, please add them to the list.

We lost our Grandmother, will you please send us a copy?

Will you please send me the name of my first wife? I have forgotten her name.

A 14-year-old boy wrote: "I do not want you to do my research for me. Will you please send me all of the material on the Welch line, in the US, England and Scotland countries? I will do the research.

Further research will be necessary to eliminate one of the parents.

"I don't know who my grandfather was, I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be."
--Abraham Lincoln

Echoes of a Distant Past

Echoes of a distant past
can be heard throughout these pages.
And each reflect a life that was lived
not forgotten through the ages.

It's more than just a name or date
found on a document in a cold and drafty place.
It's a link of our past - tied to our future
of our lives intertwined - of our history interlaced.

We cannot live our future
without first looking at our past.
For written upon the pages of time
are stories of our forefathers that forever will last.

What lies between the moments of
our first breath and when we perish.
Treasured memories of a life that is lived
that should be recorded, shared and cherished.

Every joy and sorrow, every triumph and loss
each and every day.
Bears witness to a struggle that each of us has
to find meaning and purpose - to find a better way.

Not for the ancestors passed on long ago
but for all the descendants to come.
Our life will never be lived in vain
if it lives on in the heart of someone.

Author From the Ancestry Daily News at www.ancestry.com

A War Relic
Ezekiah B. Rorie
I'm sad my dear, my heart is sad, ~Dark clouds abscure my days, ~Deep melacholy fills my soul, ~Cause thou art far away.
My moments hang with heavy weight, ~Each hour appears a day,~And days seem dreary winter months, ~Cause thou art far away.
I'm sad: why should I not be sad? ~There is nought to make me gay, ~I cannot wear a cheerful face, ~Whilst thou art far away.
Fly swift ye moments, fly and bring ~around that joyful day~When I shall be with again those~Dear loved ones far away.
But, O my dear, remember this ~Our days are not our own~Then let;s prepare to meet above~Where parting ne'er is known.
Tis now a score of months, my dear, ~Since last I saw you face, ~And with an aching heart received ~Perhap, last embrace.
Thy lips were sealed; 'twas not from words~I learned thy deep distress; ~A trickling tear related more~Than volumes could express.
Those little pledges dear to me~Received my last fond kiss; ~With pain I turned my back on all~That makes my earthly bliss.
On Chickamauga"s bloody field, ~Beneath a beating rain, ~My thoughts were turning to thee and those, ~I long to see again.
That Sabbath morn, that Holy day, ~Whilst deadly missils fells, ~I prayed to God to bring me back~To those I love so well.
I prayed that should by life be lost~On that terrific day, ~That God would bless my wife and babes~Through all remaining life.
Where e'er I go, wher e'er I be, ~My prayer shall ever be~That God may bless those absent ones~So very dear to me.
And no, loved ones, again adiau~It fills my heart with pain~To think that I may never live~To see you all again.
But should we never meet again~Shed not a tear for me, ~But with a cheerful heart prepare~For bleesed eternity.

---Ezekiah B. Rorie, was a member of the thirty second (32) infantry, composed this poem in a letter to his wife on the day that the battle of Chickamauga was fought and was killed during it!

The Census

Census Taker:  "Good morning,
madam, I'm taking the census."

Old Lady:  "The what?"

Census Taker:  "The c-e-n-s-u-s!"

Old Lady:  "For lans sakes!  What with tramps takin' everythin' they kin lay their han's on, young folks takin' fotygrafs of ye without so much as askin', an' impudent fellows comin' roun' as wants ter take yer senses, pretty soon there won't be nothin' left ter take, I'm thinkin'."

--1890  Harper's Weekly


Pappy’s gal Suzy Lee fell in love.
She planned to marry Joe.
She was so happy bout it all,
She told her pappy so.

Pappy told her, "Suzie Gal"
You’ll have to find another.
I’d just as soon yo ma don’t know,
But Joe is yo half-brother.

So Suzie forgot about her Joe
And planned to marry Will,
But after telling pappy this
He said "There’s trouble still".

You can’t marry Will, my gal,
And please don’t tell yo mother,
Cause Will and Joe and several mo
I know is yo half-brother.

But Mama knew and said
"Honey chile, do what makes yo happy.
Marry Will or marry Joe,
You ain’t no kin to pappy!"

One Way to Handle Those "Problem" Ancestors
The Smiths were proud of their family story. Their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower.
The family tree included Senators as well as Wall Street millionaires.
They decided to compile a family history as a legacy for their children and grandchildren.
But as they gathered facts, a huge problem arose.
How could they possibly include that unwanted information about great-uncle George, who had been
They hired a professional writer, who told them, "NO PROBLEM".
He promised to handle the story tactfully. And so he did.
The book was published, and here's what it said about Uncle George:
"Great-Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution.  He was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, and indeed his death came as a great shock."


We've all heard of Sir Lancelot and Sir Gawain from the days of Camelot. However, there were a number of other lesser-known
knights needed to run the kingdom. Here are a few of them:

 Sir Charge . . . Royal mail order clerk
 Sir Lee . . . Royal bureaucrat
 Sir Loin . . . Royal butcher
 Sir Mise . . . Royal detective
 Sir Mount . . . Royal mountain climber
 Sir Plus . . . Royal supply officer
 Sir Press . . . Royal censor
 Sir Prize . . . Royal tactician
 Sir Render . . . Royal tactician (retired)
 Sir Round . . . Royal moat builder
 Sir Vey . . . Royal surveyor
 Sir Vive . . . Royal adventurer

No Footprints on the Sands of Time
Oh, for a court record on gggggggrandpa

It's nice to come from gentle folk
Who wouldn't stoop to brawl
Who never took a lusty poke
At anyone at all.
Who never raised a raucous shout
At any country inn
Or calmed an ugly fellow lout
With a belaying pin.
Who never shot a revenuer
Hunting for the still
Who never rustled cattle, who're
Pleased with uncle's will.
Who lived their lives out as they ought,
With no uncouth distractions,
And shunned like leprosy the thought
Of taking legal action.
It's nice to come from gentle folk
Who've never known disgrace,
But oh,though scandal is no joke
It's easier to trace!

By Virginia Scott Miner, Saturday Evening Post November 22,1941

Your Name

You got it from your father,
 it was all he had to give,

so it's yours to keep and cherish
for as long as you shall live,

It was clean the day he got it,
 & a worthy name to bear,

When he got it from his father,
there was no dishonor there,

So protect and guard it safely,
 for when all is said and done,

You'll be proud the name is spotless
 when you give it to your son.

-author unknown

Names are not always
What they seem.
The common Welsh
Name Bzjxxllwcp is
Pronounced Jackson.

-- Mark Twain

Funny Names Found in Census Records

These are names actually found in census records. 

Just a bit of humor in reality!

Sorry if these are related to you.  It is all in good fun!
Comfort Castle - found in 1830 Columbia County, NY.
Constant Chase - found in 1830 Boston, Suffolk Co, MA.
Noble Crapper - found in 1790 Worcester Co, MD.
Orange Field - found in 1930 Miller County, GA.
Tiny Little - found in 1930 Chatooga County, GA.
Joy Rider - found in 1930 Bennington, Morrow County, OH.
Cotton Tufts - found in 1830 Weymouth, Norfolk Co, MA.
Page Turner - found in 1880 Putnam County, GA.
Frost Snow - found in 1920 Reed Island, Pulaski Co, VA.

Hourly calorie consumption of genealogical activities:

beating around the bush 75
jumping to conclusions 100
climbing the walls 150
passing the buck 25
dragging your heels 100
bending over backward 75
running around in circles 350

Quoted in The Family Tree, Odom Library, from the Genealogy Unlimited Society, Inc. in Valdosta, GA.

Genealogist's Dilemma

While looking up my fam'ly tree
A horrid sight there I did see
This horse thief stared right down at me
I turned around and tried to flee

Please stop he called I'm Great gramp Bob
And horses just my side line job
Don't be too quick to be a snob
With the elite I did hob nob

Please do not hide this sad research
I was a pillar of the church
Until I did our name besmirch
And toppled from my lofty perch

For if my acts do you displease
Before you cheer my obsequies
Search your own life for errors please
And any deeds that smell like cheese

The acts that you perform today
Will they look white or dapple-grey
And in the future will they say
Oh no, I have this DNA

Arthur L. Glasgow — 1997

A Genealogy Poem by Grandpa Tucker

I saw a duck the other day.
It had the feet of my Aunt Faye.
Then it walked, was heading South.
It waddled like my Uncle Ralph.

And when it turned, I must propose,
Its bill was formed like Aunt Jane's nose.
I thought, "Oh, no! It's just my luck,
Someday I'll look just like a duck!"

I sobbed to Mom about my fears,
And she said, "Honey, dry your tears.
You look like me, so walk with pride.
Those folks are all from Daddy's side."

The Twelve Steps for Recovering Genealogists
 1.  I admit that I am powerless over my gedcom and that my life has become unmanageable.
 2.  I believe that there is a greater power other than genealogy and that it will restore sanity to my life.
 3.  I have made a decision to turn my life over to non genealogists and hope that they will understand me.
 4.  I have admitted to myself and other genealogists that I am addicted to my obituary files.
 5.  I vow to no longer discuss "dead people" with my few remaining friends  in hopes that they will remain my friends.
 6.  I promise to take photographs of things other than tombstones.
 7.  My only source of reading material will no longer be census, wills, death certificates and obituaries.
 8.  I will not spend family holidays in  libraries and archives.
 9.  Family picnics will no longer be held in cemeteries.
 10.  My family will no longer be referred to as "the live ones."
 11.  My time spent on the Internet will be limited to sites other than  Rootsweb.com, Ancestry.com and MyGenealogy. com and Cyndi's.
 12.  I will carry these messages to other genealogists and practice these principles every day.
Author Unknown


When speaking of our ancestry,
My mother's eyes would shine,
And proudly she would tell us all,
You're of the Tudor line.

But father with a smile would say,
While bearing that in mind,
You keep your eyes on goals ahead,
Not those that lie behind.

You have a noble ancestry,
But all are dead and gone,
'Tis you who have to prove your worth,
Not those who've journeyed on.

And back along that Tudor line,
'Tis sorry truth I state,
There may be some you can't approve,
And even some you'd hate.

The way to prove your ancestry,
Is what you are yourself,
Not by the charted family tree,
in book upon the shelf.

So try to be an ancestor,
Within the time allowed,
Of whom your children's children,
In the future can be proud.

Author Unknown

Family Tree

I think that I shall never see,
A poem as gnarled as my family's tree.
The branches go way up and around,
Some of them dip down to the ground.

Now over there a sappling grows,
Tall and straight, but this I know,
It really isn't another, you see,
Just a branch of my family.

There are a few who'd like to free,
Not concidered a branch of this old tree,
But if you follow that twisted root line,
You'll find they are connected to mine.

They like say," Sure we share a name,
But, our bloodlines just are not the same."
"HA ha," I say," take that DNA test,
and we can put this arguement to rest!"

"No no ", they sigh," there is no need,
For we were grown, from a different seed."
But I look at the census, and it is clear,
Our great grandpas, were brothers, My dear!

The other documents show the same,
There is more between us than just a name.
Although some like to stand apart,
They are all right here on my pedigree chart!!

Author Unknown

GRANDMA (Off her Rocker)

In the dim and distant past,
When life's tempo wasn't so fast,
Grandma used to rock and knit,
Crochet, tat and baby sit,
When the kids were in a jam,
They could always call on Gram,
But today she's in the gym
Exercising to keep slim,
She's checking the web or surfing the net,
Sending some e-mail or placing a bet,
Nothing seems to stop or block her,
Now that Grandma's off her rocker.

Author Unknown

My Ancestor Quest ...
Where did they migrate...

Where did they migrate
Way back in their day,
What was their life like,
Where "next" did they stay?
When were they born,
Where now do they rest?
These family I follow,
Their life, is my quest.
As the "new lands" were opened
In droves, did they leave,
Family scattered like driftwood,
Leaving old ones to grieve.
What land were they fathered
What there did they see?
Were they somehow related,
To both you, and me?
Who were their life partners,
What names will I find?
Their children are many,
Were their faces like mine?
First names keep repeating
As surnames entwine,
With descendants so many
Which Rene will prove mine?
Each day, by the mail box
I hope, and I pray,
Someone with more knowledge
Will send answers my way.
Please Lord, send an Angel,
Give me proof, as I sort;
With birth dates, speculations,
And first names, "cut short".
Old maps, clips and photos,
I find, trade, and share,
All help solve this puzzle
With spaces left bare.
The lessons in history,
That now, I know well.
From guesses, to gospel,
For years, I did dwell.
Lost memories, so precious,
I find, now and then
At times real discouraged,
Then find faith again!
What hardships, achievements,
Adventures, and woe,
What joys, and true blessings,
Did "my people" know?
Family stories, so treasured,
Memories told, without doubt,
Old voices and faces,
From "our world", winked out.
Where last did they travel?
My ancestors,"true".
With each question answered
The quest starts anew.

Author Unknown

The Clothesline

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.

For then you'd see the fancy sheets
and towels on the line;
You'd see the company table clothes
With intricate design.

The line announced a baby's birth
To folks who lived inside
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.

The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed
You'd know how much they'd grown.

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It said, "Gone on vacation now"
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy gray,
As neighbors raised their brows, and looked
Disgustedly away.

But clotheslines now are of the past
For dryeres make work less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody's guess

I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!

Author unknown

Rowing Against the Tide

The Baltimore Weekly Sun
Baltimore, Maryland
July 23, 1871
No author is noted

It is easy to glide with its ripples,
Adown the stream of Time,
To flow with the course of the river,
Like music to some old rhyme;
But ah! It takes courage and patience
Against the current to ride;
And we must have strength from Heaven
When rowing against the tide.
We may float on the river's surface
While our oars scarce touch the stream,
And visions of early glory
On our dazzling sight may gleam;
We forget that on before us
The dashing torrents roar;
And, while we are idly dreaming,
Its waters will carry us o'er.
But a few - ah, would there be many!
Row up the "stream of life;"
They struggle against its surges,
And mind neither toll nor strife.
Though weary and faint with labor,
Singing triumphant they ride;
For Christ is the hero's captain
When rowing against the tide.
Far on through the hazy distance,
Like a mist on distant shore,
They see the walls of the city,
With its banner floating o'er.
Seen through a glass so darkly
They almost mistake their way;
But faith throws light on their labor,
When darkness shuts out their day.
And shall we be one of that number,
Who mind no toll nor pain?
Shall we mourn the loss of earthly joys
When we have a crown to gain?
Or shall we glide on with the river,
With death at the end of our ride,
While our brother, with Heaven before him,
Is rowing against the tide?

Church Belles

The Toledo Weekly Blade
Toledo, Ohio
April 1, 1869
No author is noted

Coming in couples,
Smiling to sweetly,
Up the long aisle,
Tripping so neatly.
Envying bonnets -
Surveying laces,
Nodding at neighbors,
Peering in faces.
Whispering softly,
Heeding no sermon;
What they go there for
Hard to determine.
On all around them
Gazing benignly,
Wholly unconscious,
Singing divinely.
Proxy discoursing,
Don't suit their whims;
Plain they assemble
Just for the "hims."

Surnames for Sale

Surnames that I have in my ancestral line,
Four hundred now listed and all of them mine.
Are often most common like Jones or like Smith,
Like Johnson or Barber that we can live with;

But then there are others that lift, I suppose;
I've a Bliss and a Jasper, a Heaven and Rose.
And then there are some that just hit 'tween the eyes
And give you a shock, or a laugh, of surprise.

For years I have had one with name of John Death.
When I first had found him it near took my breath,
But then I thanked goodness I found not such often;
Then this week - believe it! - discovered Beth Coffin!

My wife I have teased about her pedigree,
That listed some queer ones as on my own tree,
For she has a Webb and a Cobb in her line.
Cobwebs in your ancestry surely is fine!

They say of our forebears we ought to be proud,
And not be supposing we're born 'neath a cloud,
But some of our names that we find make us wail
And tempted to offer some surnames for sale.

--Ora Barlow

The Dash ©1998
by Linda Ellis

I read of a reverend who stood to speak
at the funeral of his friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning...to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash mid-range.")

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash...
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

Received via GenHumor-L on September 24, 1998

If lawyers are debarred and clergymen are defrocked, doesn`t it follow that:

electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, and drycleaners
depressed? Laundry workers could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and depleted!

Even more, bedmakers will be debunked, baseball players will be debased, landscapers will be deflowered,
bulldozer operators will be degraded, organ donors will be delivered, software engineers will be detested,
the BVD company will be debriefed, and even musical composers will eventually decompose.

On a more positive note though, maybe politicians will be devoted.

From Theodore August Klein, Jr.

"The Mexican Funeral" was also contributed by Ted Klein to the RootsWeb Review, Vol. 1, No. 17 in October 1998.  Around 10 years ago, I attended a Mexican funeral at the famous old San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas. The priest offered the following story:

We have a tradition in Mexico that each person dies three times. First, there is the moment in which the body stops functioning. Second, there is the time that the remains are consigned to the grave. Third, there is that moment, sometime in the future, in which the person's name is spoken for the last time. Then the person is really gone.

Several years later, I got into genealogy and realized that persons who preserve the memories of persons from their own familial past, are preventing that third death.

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