Genealogy Humor


Top 10 Indicators that you've become a gene-aholic:

10. You introduce your daughter as your descendent.
9. You've never met any of the people you send e-mail to,
even though you're related.
8. You can recite your lineage back eight generations,
but can't remember your nephew's name.
7. You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.
6. You've taken a tape recorder and/or notebook
to a family reunion.
5. You've not only read the latest GEDCOM standard,
but you also understand it.
4. The local genealogy society borrows books from you.
3. The only film you've seen in the last year
was the 1880 census index.
2. More than 1/2 of your book collection is made up
of marriage records or pedigrees.
1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted
in more different places than Elvis!


Genealogy without documentation is mythology.


Genealogy: where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.


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


"Why waste your money looking up your family tree?
Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you!"
-- Mark Twain


You live as long as you are remembered
~ Russian Proverb


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


If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
-- George Bernard Shaw


"I didn't really want to get into genealogy! Kept putting it off!
When I started within six weeks I had my father
narrowed down to one of three or four people!"
-- old joke


"Adam and Eve must have found genealogy very boring."



A good ancestor keeps certificates including birth and death certificates;
records including health, military, naturalization, and school; passports;
newspaper and church notices; awards; photos; art and craft work; journals;
Bibles; diaries; baby, school and wedding books; heirlooms.

He or she dates correspondence, cares for tombstones, keeps research
organized, writes or tapes the family stories, and supports family

A good ancestor dates everything, is sure that full names are included,
records where material may be found and always sees that at least one other
copy of important data is somewhere else.

A hundred years from now, will they think you were a good ancestor?


Death meets the Y2K bug

Apparently there are a number of people who bought headstones
assuming they would die in the 20th Century.

The number 19 is often engraved ahead of time but for those unlucky
enough to survive into the year 2000, this will have to be adjusted.

The Y2K bug meets the death industry, said Dan Racz,
who is manager of a store which sells memorial markers.


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.

A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.

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.

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

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.

On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery 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.

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.

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

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"

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.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.

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.


Genealogists dilemma

A modern mother is explaining to her little girl
about pictures in the family photo album.

"This is the geneticist with your surrogate mother
and here's your father's clone.

This is me holding you when you were just a frozen embryo.

The lady with the very troubled look on her face
is your aunt, a genealogist."


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


Ancestor questions

I want it to become a requirement to explain on their marriage license
or certificate why they have moved (if they have) and all the details!

When I go to the other side and meet my ancestors, I am going to ask them,
"Now just where did you go after the 1880 census"



The keeper of the vital records you need
will have just been insulted by another genealogist.

Your great-grandfather's obituary states that 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.

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 maiden and surnames.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, always rented property,
was never 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 billions
in the LDS archives in Salt Lake City.

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

Anything that could have burned, did.

The census taker with the clear handwriting and good ink
never enumerated your ancestors.

If you find a well-documented, illustrious ancestor,
you've probably made a mistake.

Your folks hated government and never filled out forms.

The book you need is never indexed, or, if indexed, doesn't include people.

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

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

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 pronunciaiton.

The 37 volume, sixteen-thousand-page history of your county of origin isn't indexed.

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

Your ancestor's will leaves his estate to his beloved wife and children
but he doesn't name them.

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

The information you desperately need could be only found in an 1890 census?

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.


Humor Only Genealogists Can Appreciate

If only people came with pulldown menus and on-line help...
My hobby is genealogy, I raise dust bunnies as pets.
How can one ancestor cause so much TROUBLE??
I should have asked them BEFORE they died!
Documentation...The hardest part of genealogy.
I looked into my family tree and found out I was a sap.
I'm not stuck, I'm ancestrally challenged.
My family coat of arms ties at the that normal?
My family tree is a few branches short!
My ancestors must be in a witness protection program!
Cousins marrying cousins: Very tangled roots!
Shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall!
I'm searching for myself... Have you seen me?
Isn't genealogy fun? The answer to one problem, leads to two more!
It's 2000... Do you know where your Great-Great-Grandparents are?
A family reunion is an effective form of birth control...
A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots.
A new cousin a day keeps the boredom away.
After 30 days, unclaimed ancestors will be adopted.
Am I the only person up my tree...sure seems like it!
Any family tree produces some lemons, some nuts and a few bad apples...
Ever find an ancestor HANGING from the family tree?
FLOOR: The place for storing your priceless genealogy records.
Gene-Allergy: It's a contagious disease, but I love it.
Genealogists are time unravelers.
Genealogy is like playing hide and seek: They hide... I seek!
Genealogy: Tracing yourself back to better people
"Crazy" is a relative term in my family
A pack rat is hard to live with, but makes a fine ancestor!
I want to find ALL of them! So far I only have a few thousand...
I think my ancestors had several "Bad Heir" days!
I'm always late. My ancestors arrived on the JUNEflower...
Only a Genealogist regards a step backwards, as progress!
Share your knowledge, it is a way to achieve immortality...
Heredity: Everyone believes in it until their children act like fools!
It's an unusual family that hath neither a lady of the evening or a thief.
Many a family tree needs pruning!
Shhhhh! Be very, very quiet...I'm hunting forebears.
Most of my family roots are underground.
Only a genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.
Time flies! Genealogists are the navigators!
Snobs talk as if they had begotten their own ancestors!
A COMPLETE Genealogy just can't be..there's always more.
Blessed are the Elderly for they remember what we never knew.
Age is a high price to pay for maturity!
A well-written life is as rare as a well-spent one.
A family history shows you have lived!
A generation that ignores history has neither past nor future.
Search long enough and EVERYONE connects somehow.
There is no such thing as a useless piece of information.
The world is run by those who show up for the meeting.
Time and genealogy waits for no man.
Trees without roots fall over.
We are all related...relatively speaking.
We shall find no ancestor before his time.
It's hard to believe that someday I'll be an ancestor.
Searching for lost relatives? Just win the Lottery!
So many dead men! So little time!
My roots only go down so far, but my branches spread forever!
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, no one found!
One of the most difficult things to give away is kindness, it is usually returned!
Snoopers welcome! Feel free to provide comments and relatives!
A new cousin a day keeps the boredom away.
Genealogists: People helping people.....that's what it's all about!
Genealogy: a search for the greatest treasures, our ancestors.
Genealogy: Better than the best adventure game and just as frustrating.
Genealogy: it's all relative in the end, anyway.
Genealogy is great when you score!
Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.
May all your family trees branch toward the stars!
May you ask the right question of the right person at the right time.
May your family tree grow happy branches!
Share your knowledge, it is a way to achieve immortality.
Sharing genealogy is a rewarding experience!
When you search for ancestors, you find great friends!
Take time to understand and lend a gentle, helping hand.
Life, liberty and the right to know who your ancestors are.
Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
Search out the past... know yourself... look to the future.
Still trying to decorate my family tree.
There is strength in our roots.
That's strange: half my ancestors are WOMEN!
I'm not sick, I've just got fading genes...
Genealogists live in the past lane.
Cousins marrying cousins: A non-branching family tree.
All right! Everybody out of the gene pool!
Always willing to share my ignorance...
Genealogy: Chasing your own tale!
Genealogy....will I ever find time to mow the lawn again?
That's the problem with the gene pool: NO Lifeguards
I researched my family tree...and apparently I don't exist!
Who's in charge of washing the Family Group Sheets?
When tracing ancestors, please stay within the lines!
Ghosts are merely unsubstantiated roomers.
Theory of relativity: If you go back far enough, we're all related.
Advice to beginners: Boldly start in reverse!
Genealogists diet: "Fiche and Ships topped with tantalizing Sources."
It is hereditary in my family not to have children.
No - yes - maybe - could be - perhaps. Musings of a genealogist.
Life takes its toll. Have exact change ready!
The fellow who leans on his family tree may never get out of the woods.
The black sheep keeps the best info on the family.
Perhaps the gene pool could use a little chlorine!
GENEALOGY is not a hobby, it's an obsession!
GENEALOGY is a hobby. I collect ancestors & descendants.
GENEALOGY is not a hobby, it's a disease!
GENEALOGY is a hobby of making cucumbers out of pickles.
Genealogy is contagious, seldom fatal!
Genealogy is not fatal, but it is a grave disease!
Genealogists are like monkeys, always in the trees.
Am I in the right family tree?
I'm stuck in my family tree, and I can't get down.
Many a family tree needs trimming.
My family tree needs more wood and less sap.
A family tree can wither if nobody tends it's roots.
A great many family trees were started by grafting.
Am I the only person up my tree?
Family Tree? It seems to grow more like a noxious weed.
I reach out to touch all branches in my lineages.
I researched my family tree... apparently I don't exist!
I shook my family tree, a bunch of nuts fell out.
With MY luck, my family tree has root rot!
I'm digging my family tree up by the roots!
My family tree died in the last drought.
My family tree's roots went underground.
I finally got it all together. Now where did I put it?
There is nothing that you can take that will cure Gene-Allergy!
There are no answers, only cross-references.
Every time I think I know where they are, they move!
It's search and search some more, then I find and search some more.
Just when you think you've found them all, Up pops another!
Still searching, after all these years!
Life is too short and you're dead too long.
Others work from sun to sun! But a genealogists work is never done!!
Genealogists should also consider the handsome neighbor...
Genealogists never lose their jobs, they just go to another branch!
Genealogists never die, they just loose their roots.
Genealogists never die, they just lose their census.
Genealogists never die, they just haunt archives.
Genealogists never die ... they just haunt cemeteries.
Genealogists never die, they just get filed away.
Genealogy is Life...everything else is detail!
Genealogy: it's only an obsession after all!
Try genealogy. You can't get fired and you can't quit!
Once I gave up on reality, I had so many more options.
"Sure, a real job would be nice, but it would interfere with my genealogy!"
Don't sit under the family tree with anyone else but me!
"I could not find any Ancestors! ... Do I really exist?"
Whoever said Seek and Ye shall find was NOT a genealogist!
Give me your tired, your poor ... they're genealogists!
"I think that I shall never see a completed Genealogy!"
I used to have a life, then I started doing genealogy.
If it's only a hobby, why do I feel so stressed out?
Genealogists do not die, they just lose their census.
Beware of the Genealogy Bug; It's bite can be addictive!
Hooked on Genealogy works for me!
For a reply, send a self-abused, stomped elephant to...
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Genealogy goes on... and on... and on... and on... and on... and on... and on... and on...
Genealogy in the buff, no, I mean A genealogy Buff!
I'm no genealogist. ... until this year I spelled it "geneologist!"
I don't believe it! My Birth Certificate expired?
What do you mean my grandparents didn't have any kids?
"There is no fire, officer! I'm just chasing my ancestors!"
Searching shipping records is simply naval gazing.
I want to find ALL of them! So far I only have a few thousand.
I'd love to, but I'm converting from Julian to Gregorian!


"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!"


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



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!"
Death is just nature's way of dropping the carrier.
If only ancestors came with pull-down menus and on-line help...
My life has become one large GEDCOM!!
New mail not found. Start whine-pout sequence? (Y/N)
Not tonight dear, I'm loading in Family Tree Maker 5.0b!
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
Buy a 600 mhz Pentium II so you can reboot faster.
2 + 2 = 5 for extremely large values of 2.
{-------- The information went data way --------}
Best file compression around: "DEL *.*" = 100% compression
BREAKFAST.COM Halted...Cereal Port Not Responding
Bad command or file name! Go stand in the corner.
Bad command. Bad, bad command! Sit! Stay! Staaay..
Why doesn't DOS ever say "EXCELLENT command or filename!"
... File not found. Should I fake it? (Y/N)
CONGRESS.SYS Corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/n)?
SENILE.COM found . . . Out Of Memory . . .
Who is General Failure & why's he reading my disk?
Shell to DOS...Come in DOS, do you copy? Shell to DOS...
SYSTEM ERROR: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue.
Hidden DOS secret: add BUGS=OFF to your CONFIG.SYS
Press any key... no, no, no, NOT THAT ONE!
Press any key to continue or any other key to quit...


It's Time You Turn Your Computer Off If . . .

You wake up at 3 am to go to the bathroom
and stop to check your email on the way back to bed.
You name your first two children "Eudora" and "Dotcom."
You turn off your modem and get this awful empty feeling,
as if you'd just pulled the plug on a loved one.
You spend half of the plane trip with your laptop on your lap
and your child in the overhead compartment. **
You decide to stay in college for an additional year or two,
just for the free Internet access.
You laugh at people with 14.4-baud modems.
You start using smileys in your snail mail.
You find yourself typing "com" after every period
when using a word
You can't call your mother; she doesn't have a modem.
You check your mail. It says "no new messages"; so you check it again.
You don't know what gender three of your closest friends are,
because they have neutral screen names and you never bothered to ask.
You move into a new house and decide to Netscape before you Landscape.
You tell the cab driver you live at
You start tilting your head sideways to smile.



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 grown-up 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 mother, and it makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife, she's 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!!



Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places.
Patient has blank expression, is sometimes deaf to spouse and children.
Has no taste for work of any kind except feverishly looking through
records at libraries and courthouses. Has compulsion to write letters.
Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail.
Frequents strange places such as cemeteries,
ruins and remote, desolate areas.

Makes secret phone calls at night,
Hides phone bill from spouse and mumbles to self.
Has strange, faraway look in the eye.


Medication is useless.
Disease is not fatal but gets progressivley worse.
Patient should attend genealogy workshops,
subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given
a quiet corner in the house where he or she can be alone.



BABY = A new acorn on the family tree.
CEMETERY: (n) A marble orchard not to be taken for granite.
CUSSIN: what genealogists do when they can't find one.
FLOOR: (n) The place for storing your priceless genealogy records.
GENEALOGISTS: Time unravelers.
GENEALOGIST: One always in search of a good dead man!
GENEALOGY: People collecting people!
GENEALOGY: A hay stack full of needles. It's the threads I need.
GENEALOGY: Looking for needles in haystacks.
GENEALOGY: Collecting dead relatives and sometimes a live cousin!
GENEALOGY: The marriage of a jigsaw puzzle to a dungeon & dragons game.
GENEALOGY: Tracing descent from someone who didn't.
GENEALOGY: Tracing yourself back to better people.
DOCUMENTATION: the worst part of genealogy.
DOCUMENTATION: the hardest part of genealogy.
FAMILY HISTORY: a quilt work of lives.
KINSHIP: it`s all relative!
RELATIVES: people who come to dinner who aren't friends.
PURITANISM: the fear that someone somewhere is happy.
RESEARCH: What I'm doing, when I don't know what I'm doing.


From "Dear Abby"........

Dear Abby: I have always wanted to have my family history traced,
but I can't afford to spend a lot of money to do it.
Any suggestions? -Sam in California
Dear Sam: Yes. Run for public office.


from "Dear Abby"......

May those who love us, love us,
And those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles.
So we will know them by their limping
--Old Irish 'Blessing'



From The Greensborough Patriot (a weekly published newspaper) 17 March 1830

Whereas my wife THANKFUL (or more properly speaking THANKLESS)
manifests no disposition to act the part of an obedient companion,
but continues to run me in debt beyond my ability to pay.
This is therefore to inform all whom it may concern that I have resolved
to be hen-pecked no longer and that I am determined to pay no more debts
of her contracting. Now reap the benefits of your doing!
Guilford, March 7, 1930 signed: ROBERT ARMFIELD


Bless my Computer too...

Every evening as I'm laying here in bed
This little prayer keeps running through my mortal head

God bless my mom and dad and bless my little child
and take care of my spouse when things start gettin wild....

and God there's one more thing I wish that you could do
hope ya don't mind me askin' but 'PLEASE' bless my Computer too??

Now I know that it's not normal to bless a mother board
but listen just a second while I explain to you, "MY LORD"
you see, that little metal box holds more than odds and ends.
inside those small components rest a hundred of my 'BEST FRIENDS'

Some it's true I've never seen and most I've never met
we've never shaken hands or shared a meal as yet...

I know for sure they like me by the kindnesses that they give
and this little scrap of metal is how I travel to where they live.
by faith is how I know them much the same as I know you.
I share in what life brings them from that our friendship grew.

'PLEASE' take an extra minute from your duties up above...
to bless this hunk of metal that's filled with so much love.


This page was last updated January 14, 2004.