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
So many 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.
I am my own grandpa!
many years ago
When I was twenty three,
I got married to a widow
Who was pretty as could be.
widow had a grown-up daughter
Who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her,
And soon the two were wed.
made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother,
For she was my father's wife.
complicate the matters worse,
Although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy.
little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad.
And so became my uncle,
Though it made me very sad.
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.
wife then had a son,
Who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson,
For he was my daughter's son.
wife is now my mother's mother
And it makes me blue.
Because, although she is my wife,
She's my grandmother too.
my wife is my grandmother,
Then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it,
It simply drives me wild.
now I have become
The strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother,
I am my own grandpa!
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, and serene.
wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.
wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
only someone had taken time,
To tell, who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.
this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?
time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.
Very contagious to mature adults.
NO KNOWN CURE
Mumbles to self.
Makes secret calls at night.
Hides phone bill from spouse.
Has strange far away look in eyes.
Has strong compulsions to write letters.
Always includes a check in these letters.
Swears at mailman when he leaves no mail.
Continual complaints for names, dates, and places.
Patient has blank expression, sometimes
deaf to spouse and children.
Has no taste for work of any kind, except
feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has compulsions to frequently visit strange places, such
as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas.
Disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse.
Patient should be given a quiet corner of the house
where he or she can be left alone.
Patient should subscribe to as many societies,
newsgroups, surname lists, and
genealogical magazines as possible.
The unusual nature of this disease is...
The sicker one gets, the more he or she enjoys it.
You know you're addicted to genealogy when...
brake for libraries.
You hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery.
You would rather browse in a cemetery than a shopping mall.
You would rather read census schedules than a good book.
You are more interested in what happened in 1697 than 1997.
Savage, Torry, and Pope are household names, but
you cannot remember what to call the dog.
You can pinpoint Harrietsham, Hawkhurst, Kent, but
can't locate your state capitol on the map.
You think every home should have a
copier and a microfilm reader.
You know every registrar of deeds in the state
by name, but they lock the doors when they see you coming.
You store your clothes under the bed, because
your closet is full of books and papers.
All your correspondence begins "Dear Cousin".
You have traced every one of your ancestral
lines back to Adam and Eve, have it
documented, and still don't want to quit.
Cooking? Cleaning? I'd Rather do Genealogy!
think that I should cook and clean,
and be a model wife.
I tell them it's more interesting
to study Grandpa's life.
simply do not understand
why I hate to go to bed . . .
I'd rather do two hundred years
of research work instead.
waste the time we have on earth
just snoring and asleep?
When we can learn of ancestors
that sailed upon the deep?
have priests, Rabbis, lawmen, soldiers,
more than just a few.
And yes, there's many scoundrels,
and a bootlegger or two.
can a person find this life
an awful drudge or bore?
When we can live the lives of all
those folks who came before?
hundred years from now of course,
no one will ever know
Whether I did laundry,
but they'll see our Tree and glow . . .
their dear old granny left for them,
for all posterity,
not clean hankies and the like,
but a finished family tree.
home may be untidy,
'cause I've better things to do . . .
I'm checking all the records
to provide us with a clue.
great granny's pulling roots
and branches out with glee,
Her clothes ain't hanging out to dry,
she's hung up on the Tree.
Genealogists Collect Dead Relatives
family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots.
Many family trees were started by grafting.
Any family tree produces lemons, nuts, and a few bad apples.
Ever find an ancestor HANGING from your family tree?
Every family tree has some sap in it.
Genealogists are time travelers.
Everyone believes in heredity until their children act like fools.
It's hard to believe that someday I'LL be an ancestor.
Many a family tree needs trimming.
My ancestors must have been in the government witness protection program.
My family came on the Mayflower...or was it Allied?
My family tree must have been used for firewood.
My hobby is genealogy and I raise dust bunnies for pets.
Only a genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.
Reminder: undocumented genealogy is mythology.
So many ancestors, so little time.
Whoever said seek and ye shall find was NOT a genealogist.
Genealogists live in the past lane.
I think that I shall never see a completed genealogy.
Genealogists collect dead relatives.
The Top Ten Indicators That You've Become A Gene-Aholic
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 8 generations, but can't remember your nephew's name.
7. You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.
6. You've ever taken a tape recorder and/or notebook to a family reunion.
5. You've not only read the latest GEDCOM standard, you 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 half of your CD collection is made up of marriage records or pedigrees.
1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted in more different places than Elvis!
"The Family Tree"
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 times, in foreign lands and distant climes,
From them grew trunk and braching limb, that dated back to times 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 was made by me, the end's in sight as you can see.
'Tis not the same with family trees, that grow and grow through centuries.
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 the 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 "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 he 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 ... its' 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 effect 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 voice in our heart.
Something to make your day
Thought you'd enjoy this as much as I did. My cousin sent them to me..... Would you believe...these are copies of actual correspondence received by the Family History Department?
Our 2nd great grandfather was found dead crossing the plains in the library. He was married 3 times in the endowment house and has 21children.
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 know 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.
Though it can strike at any age, this dread disease rarely affects children or young adults, and rarely becomes serious until after middle age.
The cause and manner of transmission of the Pox are poorly understood. It is generally only mildly contagious, requiring relatively prolonged exposure to one afflicted with it. However, some victims contract the disease after one brief exposure, while others seem to have a natural immunity, and can withstand years of close contact without ever succumbing to it.
Insatiable craving for names, dates and places; patient often has a blank expression and seems deaf to spouse and children; has no taste for productive work of any kind, but will spend long hours feverishly looking through books at libraries and courthouses; may become addicted to the use of microfilm and microfiche readers; may become a compulsive letter- writer or phone-caller; may tend to lie in wait for the mailman, cursing him soundly if he only leaves bills or circulars; frequents strange places such as cemeteries, attics and any place where dusty old books and photographs can be found.
These have always been the classic symptoms. But recently the virus causing this Pox seems to have mutated. The newest symptom is spending hours in front of a computer screen, sending e-mail messages and looking for more and more genealogy websites on the Internet. This can lead to dire consequences, as the victim often forgets to eat or sleep and can become emaciated, disoriented and clinically speaking, totally nuts!
There is no known cure, and fighting the disease only makes the victim withdraw from contact with those trying to help him. Humoring him, or joining in his obsessive activities seem to be the best ways for loved ones to deal with it. It is progressive, but has never been known to be fatal. The patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogy magazines, and be given a quiet place where he can be alone. If the patient is inattentive to those closest to him, his attention can be gotten, at least for short periods of time, by promising him a new website address, or
a new and more powerful computer. But perhaps the surest, and certainly the least expensive way of getting his attention, is to ask a question - ANY question - about his great grandmother!
The most unusual aspect of this disease has always been that, the sicker the patient gets, the more he enjoys it!
There Comes a time
undertaking was slow in search of the past.
With only a two names I feared it wouldn't last.
One day out of the blue all the facts fell into place.
Dates matched names, now it was easy to trace.
fell into place, I was making great stride,
Great aunts and uncles even siblings coincide.
I had page after page without even one error.
My lineage was accurate,I recorded it with care.
it was finished my heart sunk with despair.
I was hoping for leaders and heroes, I really did care.
Great grandpa was an outlaw, his father was insane.
All had black pasts that disgraced the family name.
tree full of skeletons of highwayman and crooks.
Their faces on wanted posters instead of in books.
Rather than recording my history in the old family Bible,
I broke out my chain saw so not to be libel.
on this fine machine,
May its data all be clean.
Let the files stay where they're put,
Away from disk drives keep all soot.
From its screen shall come no whines,
Let in no spikes on power lines.
As oaks were sacred to the Druids,
Let not the keyboard suffer fluids.
Disk full shall be no more than rarity,
The memory shall not miss its parity.
From the modem shall come wonders,
Without line noise making blunders.
May it never catch a virus,
And all its software stay desirous.
Oh let the printer never jam,
And turn my output into spam.
I ask of Eris, noble queen,
Keep Murphy far from this machine.
A Modern Mother
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 sperm donor and your fathers 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.
Prayer For Genealogists
help me dig into the past,
And sift the sands of time,
That I might find the roots that made
This family tree 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.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
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 had written
It was lost in the stacks at Visitations of Britian."
Piles of old copies of wills, deeds, and 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.
As I sat my computer, I was ready to drop
>From entering data on cousins, whose lines never stop.
Christmas was here, and such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I forgot.
Had I not been so busy with my grandparent's wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills.
While others bought gifts that would bring Christmas cheers;
I'd spent time researching marriages and birth 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 Saint Nicholaus too.
And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoof.
The TV antenna was no match for their horns,
As I looked 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 as you'll 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 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.
And he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.
I gazed with amazement - at the cover which said
"Your Genealogy Lines - Ne'er Before Read"
"I know what it's like to have the genealogy bug,"
He said, as he gave me a a great Santa Hug.
"While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do lots of 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 with 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!"
All I Want For Christmas
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 isn't the desire of my life.
I've just found an ancestor's birth date,
Now I need 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 Martha's last name.
To see my heart singing with joy,
Don't bring me a red leather suitcase.
Bring me a genealogist's toy:
A surname, with dates and a place.
Humor only genealogists can appreciate:
My family coat of arms ties at the back....is that normal?
2. My family tree is a few branches short! Help appreciated.
3. My ancestors must be in a witness protection program!
4. Shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall!
5. My hobby is genealogy, and I raise dust bunnies as pets.
6. How can one ancestor cause so much TROUBLE??
7. I looked into my family tree and found out I was a sap.
8. I'm not stuck, I'm ancestrally challenged.
9. I'm searching for myself. Have you seen me?
10. If only people came with pull-down menus and on-line help.
11. Isn't genealogy fun? The answer to one problems, leads to two more!
12. It's 1999. Do you know where your Great-Great Grandparents are?
13. A family reunion is an effective form of birth control.
14. A family tree can wither if nobody tends it's roots.
15. A new cousin a day keeps the boredom away.
16. After 30 days, unclaimed ancestors will be adopted.
17. Am I the only person up my tree-seems like it.
18. Any family tree produces some lemons, nuts & a few bad apples.
19. Ever find an ancestor HANGING from the family tree?
20. FLOOR: The place for storing your priceless genealogy records.
21. Gene-Allergy-It's a contagious disease, but I love it.
22. Genealogists are time unravelers.
23. Genealogy is like Hide & Seek: They Hide & I Seek!
24. Genealogy: Tracing yourself back to better people.
25. "Crazy" is a relative term in my family.
26. A miser is hard to live with, but makes a fine ancestor.
27. I want to find ALL of them! So far I only have a few thousand.
28. I Should have asked them BEFORE they died!
29. I think my ancestors had several "Bad heir" days
30. I'm always late. My ancestors arrived on the JUNEflower
31. Only a Genealogist regards a step backwards, as progress
32. Share your knowledge, it is a way to achieve immortality
33. Heredity:Everyone believes in it until their children act like fools!
34. It's a poor family that hath neither a Lady of the evening or a thief.
35. Many a family tree needs trimming.
36. Shh! Be very, very quiet.... I'm hunting forebears.
37. Snobs talk as if they had begotten their own ancestors!
38. That's strange: half my ancestors are WOMEN!
39. I'm not sick, I've just got fading genes
40. Genealogists live in the past lane
41. Genealogists do it generation after generation....
42. Cousins marrying cousins: Very tangled roots!
43. Cousins marrying cousins: A non-branching family tree
44. Alright! Everybody out of the gene pool!
45. Do I hear the rattle of Chains?
46. Always willing to share my ignorance....
47. Documentation...The hardest part of genealogy
48. For a reply, send a self-abused, stomped elephant to...
49. Genealogy: Chasing your own tale!
50. Genealogy-will I ever find time to mow the lawn again?
51. That's the problem with the gene pool: NO Lifeguards
52. I looked up my family tree...there were two dogs using it.
53. I researched my family tree......apparently I don't exist!
54. SO MANY ANCESTORS........................SO LITTLE TIME!
Murphy's law for genealogists
The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated and at which the platform collapsed under him turned out to be a hanging.
When at last after much hard work you have solved the mystery you have been working on for two years, your aunt says, "I could have told you that."
You grandmother's maiden name that you have searched for four years was on a letter in a box in the attic all the time.
You never asked your father about his family when he was alive because you weren't interested in genealogy then.
The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.
Copies of old newspapers have holes occurring only on the surnames.
son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as the family progenitor,
died on board ship at
Your gr. grandfather's newspaper obituary states that he died leaving no issue of record.
The keeper of the vital records you need has just been insulted by an another genealogist.
The relative who had all the family photographs gave them all to her daughter who has no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.
The only record you find for your gr. grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff's sale for insolvency.
The one document that would supply the missing link in your dead-end line has been lost due to fire, flood or war.
The town clerk to whom you wrote for the information sends you a long handwritten letter which is totally illegible.
The spelling for your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.
None of the pictures in your recently deceased grandmother's photo album have names written on them.
No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, owned property, was sued or was named in wills.
You learn that your great aunt's executor just sold her life's collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer "somewhere in New York 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 county of origin isn't indexed.
You finally find your gr. grandparent's wedding records and discover that the brides' father was named John Smith.
my elusive clansman,
You've led me quite a chase.
I thought that I'd found your courthouse,
But a fire'd destroyed the place.
constantly kept your bags packed
Although you had no fame,
And for some inexplicable reason
You twice have changed your name.
never have owed to any man;
I've found no nary a bill.
You fathered eleven children
But never left a will.
say our name's from Europe,
Crossed the ocean on a ship.
They either lost the name list,
or you, Dad, gave them the slip.
I the only one looking?
Other searchers I can't find.
I ask, was John your father's name,
as I go out of my mind.
said you had a headstone
In a specific shady plot.
I've been there now a dozen times;
I can't even fine the lot.
sent ne'er a single letter
And no-one has found your Bible.
I'd gladly name you our black sheep
If someone had sued you for liable.
married your first wife, Mary,
Whose last name, of course, is "Unknown".
Your following wives were all Sarahs;
The first one just set the tone.
cost me uncountable hours,
I travel and search the 'net.
You want me the quest to abandon
But I haven't given up yet.
somewhere you slipped up, Granddad,
Yes, somewhere you left a track.
And, if I don't find you this year,
Why, next year I'll be back!