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Funny Genealogy Stuff I Have Found



"Found a Yankee in my Tree - Will Trade for Horse Thief or Black Sheep"


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

While I was working for a photo-finishing company, we received a reprint order for an old black-and-white photograph of a man milking a cow. The man was sitting behind the cow, and all that was visible of him were his legs and feet. A note accompanying the order read: "This is the only picture I have of my great-grandfather. Please move the cow so I can see what he looked like."

A genealogist is someone who must have the patience of Job, the curiosity of a cat, the stubbornness of a mule, the eyesight of an eagle, the luck of the Irish and the ability and stamina of a camel to go long hours without food or drink.
The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research

SCMAR, Volume IV - Number 3, Summer, 1976 , No. 3, p.160
Payments for Colonial Services (Continued from Vol. 4, p.123.)
Anthony Boukman, for two head of cattle, 21 00 00
Godfrey Dreyer, four certificates for flour, 2333 02 00


Mary Peronneau, for entertaining troopers, £69 10s, and part of St. George's Comapny, £5 15s, 75 05 00

Ruth's Note: 69 pounds and 10 shillings....1775....that's a LOT of money back then....wonder what she did for this entertainment???? In 1998 this would be close to $1000.00!

Actual Obituaries from the El Reno Democrat Newspaper. El Reno is in Oklahoma.


El Reno Democrat

Thursday - February 6, 1902

Another Suicide

Will Gates, a young man at Oklahoma City attempted to commit suicide last Sunday by shooting himself with a 38-callibre revolver in the head just above the left eye. As usual he was crazed with drink.

El Reno Democrat

Thursday - February 20, 1902

Died From Fright

The Blackwell Daily News says that Mary Garling died at Garton Oklahoma, Monday morning of heart disease produced by fright.

She was called upon, with some others, to sit up with the corpse of Thomas Sharon who was so crippled with rheumatism when he died that his body was almost bent double. In preparing the body for burial the undertaker had fastened ropes to the floor and to the body to straighten it out. One of the watchers in moving about the room fell over one of the ropes and pulled it from its fastening. The body sat upright facing Mary Garling, who fell in a swoon and died a few hours afterwards.

El Reno Democrat

Thursday - February 20, 1902

The Inquest

Coroner Dyer ordered an inquest held over the body of John Ryan, who died in the rear of a saloon last Friday night. A session of the cororner's court was held this forenoon and a number of witnesses examined. The matter was continued over until ten o'clock tomorrow morning.

El Reno Democrat

Thursday - March 13, 1902

Suicide With Dynamite

Knight W. Joles, a letter carrier at Perry who was arrested last week for burning some of the mail matter, committed suicide at that place Monday morning by blowing his head off with dynamite.

The Toccoa Georgia News - August 10, 1889

Habersham County, Georgia

Charlie White and Mary Barnes of Central, S. C. arrived in the city last Thursday on the morning train, hired a horse and buggy, went to Clarksville, obtained a license, returned here, went before Squire Mulkey and got the matrimonial knot tied in time to return to Central by the night train. The newly married couple seemed as happy as a dead pig in the sunshine, but was sorter short on scads. They lacked 20 cents of having enough money to pay the Squire. Their baggage consisted of a quart of licker and tickets to Central. But they didn't want anything said about it in the paper, and of course their wishes will be respected.


Folks, I found this on microfilm I had ordered through interloan library. The microfilm was on two reels from the University of Georgia and consisted of all the microfilm records they had on the Toccoa Georgia News there in Habersham County, Georgia. This marriage record was just too funny to pass up even though it was not my ancestors. I promise you, I did NOT change a single word or punctuation!

This newspaper came out on Saturdays so the Thursday in question would be August 8. 1889.

Contributed by fellow genealogist, Susan who kept notes of interesting tidbits while working in a courthouse of indetermined location:

New Birth Announcement

The new mother asked one of our clerks to write it out for her. The clerk asked the child's name and the mother said --"I'll try to spell this phonectically -- Ahbsuhday." The clerk asked how she spelled that. And the child's name was spelled: Abcde.

From Arrest Warrant

Eldorado Quetzquatl Valentine, Leroy "Anvil Head" Jones, Hiawatha Brown.... (note: these seem like they would be pretty easy names to spot on a census...)

From Obits

Margaret Damn Sweatt. (Quite a few like this:) was survived by his/her five sons: John, John, John, John and John.

Contributed by fellow genealogist, Paula

At an age when most people are appearing in the obit coloumn this inspirational couple are announcing their marriage:

Mrs Ann Tankersley, age 90 and Mr Perrin Alday, age 105, married on Tues. the 30th Ul(timo) (July? 1805) in Charlotte Co., Va, the third marriage for each. Richmond Argus (Marriage Notices in the Charleston Courier 1803 - 1808, p. 25

Paula notes: My research indicates the grooms age is correct. The honeymoon however may have been more than mildly amusing.

Saturday 24 August 1805) from Genealogy of the Tankersley Family

From the Indiana County, Quarterly - January 1985

A grave marker in Medway, Massachusetts:
Beneath this stone, this lump of clay
Lies Uncle Peter Daniels
Who too early in the month of May
Took off his winter flannels.

A grave marker in Cripplecreek, Colorado:

"He called Bill Smith a liar"

Rules of Genealogy

1. Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestor as equalsÉeven if some of them were in jail.

2. Death certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.

3. When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no make-up, and look like you have about a week to liveÉthe funeral director will give you anything you ask for if he thinks you may be customer soon.

4. The cemetery where your ancestor was buried does not have perpetual care, has no office, is accessible only by a muddy road, has snakes, tall grass, and lots of bugs... and many of the old gravestones are in broken pieces, stacked in a corner under a pile of dirt.

5. A Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate because few people had anything to do with the information on their own birth certificate.

6. The application for a death certificate you want insists that you provide the maiden name of the deceased's motherÉwhich is exactly what you don't know and is the reason you are trying to get the death certificate in the first place.

7. If you call Social Security and ask where to write for a birth certificate, tell them it is for yourselfÉthey won't help you if you say you want one for your great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather who died in 1642.

8. When you contact the state vital statistics office in your home state and ask if they are "online," and they respond, "on what?," you may have a problem.

9. A census record showing all twelve children in a family proves only that your ancestors did not believe in birth control.

10. Work from the known to the unknown. In other words, just because your name is Washington doesn't mean you are related to George.

11. With any luck, some of the people in your family could read and write... and may have left something written about themselves.

12. It ain't history until it's written down. (See #19)

13. A genealogist needs to be a detective. Just gimme da facts Ma'am.

14. Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room. Since they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for great fun to see who throws the first punch.

15. The genealogy book you just found out about went out of print last week.

16. A good genealogical event is learning that your parents were really married.

17. Finding the place a person lived may lead to finding that person's arrest record.

18. It's really quite simple. First, you start with yourself, then your parents, then your grandparents... then you QUIT... and start teaching classes in genealogy.

19. If it's not written down, it ain't history yet. (See #12)

20. In spite of MTV, computer games, or skateboards, there is always a chance that your grandchildren will learn how to read someday.

21. "To understand the living, you have to commune with the dead, but don't commune with the dead so long that you forget that you are living!" (From Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.)

22. It is a known fact that St. Peter checks all your Family Group Sheets for accuracy before you are allowed to enter the Pearly Gates.

23. Locating the county where your ancestor lived is the first step in finding records about the time he was hauled into court for shooting his neighbor's dog; threatening the census taker with a shotgun; or making illegal corn whiskey behind the barn.

24. A cousin, once removed, may not return.

25. When leaving town for genealogical research, you will always find information on the ancestor for whom you brought no notes.

26. When in a courthouse miles from home, you will always find the breakthrough court record at 4:55pm on Friday afternoon.

27. Research in one county that leads you to information in another county will only be revealed on the last day of your vacation.

28. The tombstone you want to find is always located in the extreme opposite corner of the cemetery to where you started your search.

29. The page on the census where your ancestor's town was enumerated has no page number.

30. That cemetery in Missouri where your great-grandparents were buried is now called "Interstate 70."

31. The 1892 newspaper article describing your ancestor as a child winning the grade school spelling bee will misspell her name.

32. Your ancestor will be featured in the county history because he was the first prisoner in the new jail.

33. Your ancestor moved frequently, and sold all of his property to his children before he died to avoid probate.

34. The query you found in an old magazine was placed by an unknown cousin... who died two years ago.

35. The courthouse containing the information critical to your research is always closed for renovation on the day you arrive.

36. The roll of microfilm you need for county research is the only roll in the drawer that has been sent out for repair work that day.

37. The Post Office shown on the census page where your ancestors are listed is for a town, which appears on no known map ever published.

38. The oldest living person in the county has never heard of your ancestor who lived there years ago.

39. Genealogy is the examination of the maximum amount of data in the maximum amount of time for a minimum result.

40. If you find a query in an old periodical giving two related names for which you are searching, it will be a query that you placed yourself four years ago and forgot about.

41. You always receive more E-mail about your ancestors the day before you are scheduled to go on vacation.

42. If you took family group sheets to the last wedding you attended, you are probably an addicted genealogist.

43. If you can remember your ancestor's marriage date but not your own, you are probably an addicted genealogist.

44. Genealogy is an addiction with no cure and for which no 12-step program is available.

The Thirteen Commandments for Names:

1) Thou shalt name your male children: James, John, Joseph, Abel, Richard, Thomas or William.

2) Thou shalt name your female children: Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Maria, Sarah, Ida, Virginia or Mae.

3) Thou shalt leave NO trace of your female children.

4) Thou shalt, after naming your childen from the above lists, never refer to them by those names again; instead, thou shalt call them by strange nicknames as: Ike, Eli, Polly, Dolly, Sukey.

5) Thou shalt not use any middle names on ANY legal documents or census reports; and whenever possible, use only initials on legal documents.

6) Thou shalt learn to sign all documants illegibly so that your surname can be spelled, or misspelled in various ways: Tipper, Topper, Hopper, Tucker, Tapper.

7) Thou shalt, after no more than 3 generation, make sure that all family records are lost, misplaced, burned in a court house fire, lost at sea or buried so that NO future trace of them can be found.

8) Thou shalt propagate misleading legends, rumors and vague innuendo regarding your place of origin.

a) You may have come from: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales ...or Iran.

b) You may have American Indian Ancestory of the ____tribe.

c) You MAY have descended from one of three brothers that came over from _____.

9) Thou shalt leave no cemetery records, headstones or headstones with legible names; nor will any of the dates thereon match those in public records.

10) Thou shalt leave no family bible with records of birth, marriage or death.

11) Thou shalt ALWAYS flip thy name around. If born James Albert, thou must make the rest of thy records in the name of Albert, AJ, JA, AL, Bert, Bart or Fred.

12) Thou must also flip thy parents names around when making reference to them, although "Unknown" is an acceptable alternative.

13) Thou shalt name all generations of children with the identical first names, as will all of the brothers so that all cousins are named the same.




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