Mary’s Musings: Humorous Observations about Excited Genealogists

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary shares some of her humorous musings on how excited genealogists get about genealogy.

As we head into summer, I’d like to share some of my genealogy funnies to brighten your day (or night).

As fellow genealogists you know how excited we get doing genealogy, so perhaps you will relate to these humorous musings. If you think of more, please let me know – as one thing I’ve learned about family historians, we all love a good laugh!

Genealogists get so excited…

  • at counting ancestors, I’m surprised they get any sleep at all! (Certainly more fun than counting sheep in your sleep.)
  • at discovering birth records, I’m surprised they don’t throw baby showers for their ancestors!
  • at discovering black sheep ancestors, I’m surprised they don’t consider if they are the same for their generation!
  • at displaying genealogy, I’m surprised to see households with modern décor!
  • at finding family Bible records, I’m surprised they don’t recreate the missing ones.

Genealogy Saying: Genealogists get so excited •	at finding family Bible records, I’m surprised they don’t recreate the missing ones.

  • at finding mistakes in online trees, I’m surprised they don’t charge offenders with a crime. (“Fraudulent trees will be sent to the genealogy police!”)
  • at learning old medical terms, I’m surprised they don’t report them during medical appointments. (“Hey Doc, can you please prescribe something for my bone shave, dropsy and podagra?”)
  • at meeting new folks, I’m surprised they don’t introduce their children as descendants and their parents as ancestors.
  • at meeting new grandchildren, I’m surprised they don’t present baby blankets decorated with family trees.
  • at navigating old maps, I’m surprised their glove compartments have room for modern ones.
  • at noting family resemblances, I’m surprised there aren’t photo collages showing all of the connections. (“Do you see that Susie has 2nd Great Grandmother’s nose, Johnny has his Grandpa’s eyes and Little Arthur has elongated hands like 3rd Great Grandpa’s?”)
  • at organizing family reunions, I’m surprised they have time to get to know their neighbors!
  • at passing on heirlooms, I’m surprised their children receive modern gifts! (“Oh gee thanks Grandma. I love this old wooden train better than that video game I’ve had my eye on!”)
  • at pinning on Pinterest, I’m surprised when they create boards on other subjects!

graphic showing various genealogy-related Pinterest boards

  • at breaking through brick walls, I’m surprised there isn’t a lineage society for high achievers. (Suggestion: Solver of the 10-Ancestor Brick Wall Society.)
  • at proving dead-ends, I’m surprised they don’t throw a party to celebrate! (“Please attend a party on the 15th in honor of solving my 35th dead-end!”)
  • at proving vital records, I’m surprised they don’t throw birthday parties for their ancestors!
  • at putting together the pieces of the ancestral puzzle, I’m surprised they ever see daylight!
  • at querying databases, I’m surprised genealogy sites don’t crash on a regular basis.
  • at reading ancestral diaries, I’m surprised they don’t conjure up better details for the duller ones!
  • at reading blogs, I’m surprised they don’t petition school boards to add them to required curriculum!
  • at reading early documents, I’m surprised we don’t all speak in Old English.
  • at reading obituaries, I’m surprised family historians don’t write their own!
  • at reading old newspapers, I’m surprised someone hasn’t started a daily subscription of old news!
  • Enter Last Name

  • at reading wills, I’m surprised more don’t address genealogy records in their own will. (“Item one: I leave all of my worldly possessions to the person who promises to preserve the family genealogy!”)
  • at recording ancestral birthdays, I’m surprised they celebrate their own!
  • at remembering ancestral data, I’m surprised they can remember anything else at all!
  • at researching the family tree, I’m surprised their smart phones have apps for other purposes.
  • at saving genealogical finds, I’m surprised their hard drives aren’t totally full!
  • at seeing family photographs, I’m surprised there isn’t a national genealogists’ photo club.
  • at studying DNA, I’m surprised that little ID card in their wallets doesn’t have results recorded on it!

humorous graphic showing a "genealogist's ID card"

  • at studying DNA, I’m surprised they don’t have a genetic test run on every new family member!
  • at taking tombstone photos, I’m surprised they don’t take selfies more in front of them.
  • at tracing lineages, I’m surprised they raise anything but pedigreed pets!
  • at tracking down people, I’m surprised they aren’t all working as private investigators!
  • at traveling to family homesteads, I’m surprised their family members ever get to visit fun places like the beach!

humorous photo showing a genealogist's "happy husband"

  • at visiting cemeteries, I’m surprised most don’t have a personal cemetery in their backyard!
  • at visiting family sites, I’m surprised to hear the GPS has room for other trip destinations!
  • at visiting cemetery graveyards, I’m surprised they don’t all plan their funerals in advance.
  • at visiting libraries, I’m surprised they don’t attend self-help groups when the libraries are closed.
  • at working on their family trees, I’m surprised there’s room to sit at their tables for a meal.
  • at writing genealogy blogs, I’m surprised they take time out for eating & drinking!
  • upon finding military records, I’m surprised more genealogists are not re-enactors!
  • upon finding old family homesteads, I’m surprised they haven’t purchased more of them.
  • upon finding reprobate ancestors, I’m surprised when genealogists don’t have a “Wall of Shame” on their Facebook pages! [“Who are you? Why can’t I find you? You know if you hide, I’ll find you! Ancestors wanted Dead or Alive!”]
  • upon finding tombstones, I’m surprised they don’t have a wall in their home of cemetery photographs!
  • upon trying old recipes, I’m surprised their kitchens aren’t full of antique cookware!
  • when bragging about genealogy, I’m surprised genealogists don’t pull ancestral photos out of wallets! (“If you think your kid is special, take a look at my Great Great Grandparents’ offspring!”)
  • when finding new cousins, I’m surprised there’s anyone else in their address books!
  • when they can’t solve genealogical brick walls, I’m surprised they don’t consult psychics!
  • when they solve brick walls, I’m surprised doctors don’t prescribe genealogy as a cure for depression!

humorous cartoon showing a happy genealogist ready to travel

  • when traveling for genealogical purposes, I’m surprised the gadgets leave any room for clothing. (“Packing list: camera, computer, files, flashdrive & backup drive, GPS, maps, notebook, scanner, smart phone loaded with apps, tablet & clothing – Oops, no room!”)

Related Articles:

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3 New Year’s Genealogy Resolutions for 2015

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” It’s the time of year for making New Year’s Resolutions, and in this blog article Gena suggests three good resolutions for genealogists in 2015.

It’s almost time to ring in 2015! So what did you accomplish with your genealogy in 2014? What family stories did you tell? What places did you research? Any new family tree facts uncovered? Maybe you’re like me and wondering where 2014 went…

With the New Year soon approaching, it’s time to get serious about your family history. The perfect time to resolve to record your family history for the next generation is here. There’s no better time than now. Here are some ideas to get you started preserving your genealogical findings.

photo of the New Year ball drop event in New York City’s Times Square, 2012

Photo: New Year ball drop event in New York City’s Times Square, 2012. Credit: Replytojain; Wikimedia Commons.

1) Resolve to Get Your Genealogy Finds Organized

Recently someone asked me to help with her genealogy. When I asked to see her pedigree chart she provided me with various scraps of paper, all with unsourced facts. Frankly, I have done the same thing in my research. The ancestor hunt is more exciting than stopping to properly document and organize what information is found. But it’s writing everything down in one place – fact, source, and comments – that you will be grateful for later on.

Enter Last Name

So today make the resolution to get rid of those scraps of paper and record all your genealogy information in one place. How will you record everything you find? Will it be by using a genealogy software package like RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, or Family Tree Maker (just to name a few)? Will you use a note keeping program like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote, which would allow you access from any of your mobile devices? Will you go back to basics and simply use 3-ring binders, divider tabs, paper and forms? Decide which recording method you will actually use and then stick with it. Make sure you know how you will record each family fact you find during your genealogy research. How will you utilize your system away from home, at the library, archive, or family member’s home? Consider how you can use your smartphone or tablet’s capabilities to help you track and keep your genealogical findings in one place. Decide today and then skip the scraps.

2) Resolve to Learn Genealogy Research Methodologies

How can learning be a family history resolution? My experience has been that many brick walls are more easily knocked down by learning research methodologies. The more you learn about how to research and what’s available, the easier it is to solve those family mysteries.

So how do you learn more about genealogy? You can make a commitment to do more of what you are doing right now: read. The GenealogyBank Blog provides information about not only searching the GenealogyBank website, but tips to help you find success with your family history research in general. Use a RSS reader like Feedly or Flipboard to subscribe to this blog and others. RSS readers allow you to add the website addresses of your favorite blogs, and then they provide you a list of blog posts to read. Using a RSS reader and subscribing to RSS feeds is like putting together your own genealogy newspaper with articles on genealogy tips, resources, and more.

To subscribe to our RSS feed, click on the orange square with three white lines at the very bottom of this article, after the comments section. Next to the box it says “Subscribe to RSS.”

Enter Last Name

Of course, you can learn more about genealogy in all kinds of ways. One suggestion might be the most surprising: research more. That’s right, spend some more hours researching. And don’t only focus on your family. Ask yourself a question about a famous or infamous person and then start looking it up in old newspapers like GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, or via Google Books. Take time to read old issues of your ancestor’s local newspaper for ideas about what was happening at that time, and the names of people in their community. Take some time to browse unindexed images in FamilySearch for your favorite state. I looked over 1930s death certificates from California and learned a lot about diseases, industrial accidents, nearby cemeteries and funeral homes, occupations, and more. That type of deep genealogy research can help you become more familiar with a resource, and in turn help you better solve your research questions.

3) Resolve to Free Your Family Photos

I can’t be the only one. You know who you are. You have great photos of family, ancestors, and documents – and they are trapped on storage cards, smartphones and even your computer. Sure it’s easy to take the family photo and save it somewhere, but not so easy to do something with it.

Let this be the year that you organize old family photos into folders, name individual photos, and then share, share, share. It really doesn’t matter how you share your photos: it can be on cloud storage websites like Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive or Sugar Synch; burn them to a CD; or save to flash drives. Just do it! Then once your pictures are saved to multiple places, share them with others. Give them to family, share to your website or blog, or make family tree scrapbooks. The more people you provide with your old family photos, the better. Consider putting together something for a local historical society, your genealogy society’s newsletter, or a town’s history project. That ensures that your family history survives long after a disaster occurs or you become an ancestor!

What will you resolve to do in 2015? Really, working on your family history shouldn’t be like a goal – such as losing weight – that’s often forgotten by many come Valentine’s Day. Family history is your passion; ensure that that passion will be felt long after you are gone.

Happy 2015!

Related Genealogy Organization & Records Preservation Articles:

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Funny Genealogy Quotes: End-of-the-Year Fun for Genealogists

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog post, Mary helps end your year on a humorous note with these funny genealogy quotes.

When asked to suggest 2015 New Year’s resolutions for genealogists, I thought about reminding everyone to back up computers, check out new apps, index records, interview family members, read more historical newspapers, and share as many new finds as possible.

But then, most of you already know to do this, don’t you!

So, I thought – what does everyone really want to read to end their 2014?

Since this was the year of shared genealogy humor & quotes, I realized we all want to have more fun with our research – because after all, if genealogy wasn’t so much fun, we wouldn’t be so wrapped up in the chase!

genealogy saying: "You know you’re a genealogist if you refuse to live in a house with brick walls!"

So here we go. Here are some more fun “You know you’re a genealogist” quotes to end this wonderful year!

You know you’re a genealogist if…

  • you refuse to live in a house with brick walls!
  • 99.99% of your friends are family historians!
  • instead of downsizing, you’re planning on upsizing to store the genealogy stuff!
  • the first item in your will has to do with how your genealogy will be preserved!
  • the song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” makes you dream about the White family roots!
  • you dream about ancestors!
  • you find really old newspaper news, really good news!
  • you have a special photo album just for historical markers & tombstones!
  • you keep a source book, or A to Zax, near your computer!

genealogy saying: "You know you’re a genealogist if, when you find a new birth record, you get so excited you think about throwing a baby shower!"

  • when you find a new birth record, you get so excited you think about throwing a baby shower!
  • you attend more holiday parties with gen-aholics than family!
  • you can name all of your forebears to the fifth generation!
  • you carry a magnifying glass, not for reading menus, but for genealogy!
  • you celebrate dead people’s birthdays!
  • you consider your “rejected” lineage society applications battle wounds!
  • you made it through the 52-week challenge, and are already working on next year’s!
  • you own clothing embroidered with surnames!
  • you put on a lucky hat to give yourself an edge at busting down brick walls!

genealogy saying: "You know you’re a genealogist if, when you overhear someone at a party talking about something being done “for bears,” you assume they’re talking about “forebears”!"

    Enter Last Name

  • when you overhear someone at a party talking about something being done “for bears,” you assume they’re talking about “forebears”!
  • you can’t fall asleep until you’ve found one more genealogy fact!
  • you know not to confuse epitaph with epithet, or interment with internment!
  • you know the expression “redoing your roots” has nothing to do with hair dye!
  • you know what autosomal, mitochondrial and haplogroup mean!
  • you read fairy tales to grandchildren, but change the names to ancestors! “Once upon a time, there were three bears, Jane Eliza McGillicutty Bear, her husband William Henry Mergatroyd Bear and their cute little baby, William Henry Mergatroyd Bear, the Second.”
  • you routinely take sneak peeks of genealogy while the family is watching sports!
  • you spend more on death certificates than on clothing!
  • you zoom in on old photos just to examine framed portraits spotted in the background!

genealogy saying: "You know you’re a genealogist if you never trash old records, knowing they can always be recycled and used for some other family history research!"

  • you never trash old records, knowing they can always be recycled and used for some other family history research!
  • your recycling bin never has much paper in it!
  • you’d rather have a genealogy library than a swimming pool!
  • you’re clueless about how to speak a foreign language, but have no problem translating a foreign language will!
  • you’re not offended to be called a tombstone tourist!
  • you’ve already purchased your headstone, so your family doesn’t get it wrong!
  • you’ve come down with a case of taphophilia, and aren’t worried about being contagious!
  • you’ve considered forming your own lineage society!
  • you’ve considered putting a family tree chart on your tombstone!

genealogy saying: "You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve considered storing your precious genealogy in the family safe!"

  • you’ve considered storing your precious genealogy in the family safe!
  • you’ve created a photo montage of yourself with an ancestor!
  • you’ve deleted a movie on your DVR to make space for a genealogy show!
  • your daily goals include solving someone else’s brick wall!
  • your house’s family room is a family “genealogy” room!
  • your research breaks only happen on days that don’t end in y!
  • your travel app alerts you to fare drops to cities with genealogy libraries!
  • your travel tote includes a portable scanner!
  • your will directs that a family tree chart be imprinted on your grave!

genealogy saying: "You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve driven 100 miles to track down a vital record!"

    Enter Last Name

  • you’ve driven 100 miles to track down a vital record!
  • you’ve gifted a teddy bear to a child named after one of their forebears!
  • you’ve gotten a speeding ticket because you were thinking about genealogy!
  • you’ve made your family plant a “family” tree!
  • you’ve memorized an epitaph!
  • you’ve sneaked a peak at GenealogyBank while pretending to watch sports!
  • you’ve stayed up late researching someone else’s family!
  • you’ve identified at least a dozen spelling variations for your surname!
  • your calendar records “this day in history” ancestral birthdays!

And I’d like to leave you with one more genealogy quote, sent in from my friend Linda Hodginson:

genealogy sayings: "You know you’re a genealogist if you know people who would want a book on tombstone rubbings!"

No wonder we are friends. I even own a book on tombstone sayings!

Happy New Year to all our readers!

If you have any fun “you know you’re a genealogist if…” sayings, please send them along for a future blog article!

Related Funny Genealogy Quotes Articles:

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More Genealogy Humor: Funny Quotes & Sayings for Genealogists

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary follows up on one of her earlier blog posts by presenting more of the funniest, quirkiest, or most touching sayings about genealogy that she’s encountered in her career as a family historian.

After the GenealogyBank Blog article Genealogy Humor: 101 Funny Quotes & Sayings for Genealogists was posted, we noticed many of you liked them so much that you shared the humorous quotes across social media sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest to spread the laughter around the genealogical community.

So here are a few more funny genealogy sayings to give you a chuckle and brighten your day!

Enter Last Name










Funny Genealogy Expressions & Slogans

  • Definition of genealogy: When a step backward is true progress!
  • Don’t let your family tree suffer from root rot!
  • Finding a new ancestor is a blast from the past!
  • Genealogist’s favorite game: Ancestor Hide and Seek.
  • Genealogist’s favorite game show: Family Feud.
  • Genealogist’s hunting season: 12 Midnight 1 January — 11:59 P.M. 31 December.
  • Genealogist’s least favorite activity: Pruning the family tree!

funny genealogy saying: "Genealogists are always in a family way!"

  • Genealogists are always in a family way!
  • Genealogists are family tree huggers!
  • Genealogists are forebear hunters!
  • Genealogy is not done until the “past lady” sings!
  • Genealogy is simply TREEific!
  • Genealogy disease: Gensomnia.
  • How a genealogist greets a stranger: “Are you sure we aren’t related?”
  • How a genealogist greets another genealogist. “Would you like to join my famclub?”
  • How a genealogist introduces his children: “I’d like you to meet my descendants!”
  • How a genealogist introduces his parents: “Have you met my ancestors?”
  • I’m ancestrally challenged!
  • If you want to have some fun, say “Who’s your daddy?” to a room full of genealogists and watch the heads turn.
  • It’s hard to be humble with ancestors like mine!

funny genealogy saying: "Money doesn't grow on trees--but ancestors do!"

    Enter Last Name










  • Money doesn’t grow on trees—but ancestors do!
  • Murphy’s law of genealogy: After solving a dead end ancestor mystery that consumed your entire adult life, your sister reports, “I could have told you that!”
  • Murphy’s law of genealogy: Paying for a vital record and then finding it right under your nose!
  • Old genealogists never die. They just haunt archives.
  • Organization to help with genealogy addiction: AA (Ancestors Anonymous).
  • Popular sign in a cemetery: “Dead End.”
  • The best ancestors want to be found!
  • The “mother lode” of genealogy is discovering a great grandmother’s maiden name.

funny genealogy saying: "Time and genealogy wait for no man!"

  • Time and genealogy wait for no man!
  • To a genealogist, the expression “Mother Nature” takes on a whole new meaning!
  • Transcribers of headstones generally work the graveyard shift!
  • True genealogists wonder why the Academy Awards don’t have a category for best microfilm!
  • Ultimate success to a genealogist: Proving that Elvis isn’t dead!
  • What a genealogist should not say on a blind date: “Isn’t it great? I did your tree and we’re related!”
  • You know you’re a genealogist if you find the certainty of ancestral death and tax records exciting. (Paraphrased from Ben Franklin’s “Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”)
  • If you think Castle Garden is something out of a fairy tale, you’re probably not a genealogist!

More Family History Funnies from Our Readers

The following hilarious comments were shared by readers after the first funny genealogy quotes blog post went live. If you have some of your own humorous quotes and sayings for genealogists, please share them with us in the comments!

1) Here is an old epitaph bromide: On an old tombstone was the following quote,
“Pause stranger, when you pass me by, As you are now so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. So prepare for death and follow me.”
Below that epitaph someone scratched the following, “To follow you I’m not content, Until I know which way you went.”  —from David on 7 March 2014.

2) Headstone epitaph: “This is the damndest thing I’ve ever done.”  —from George on 26 January 2014.

3) “You know you’re a genealogist when you watch a movie that has a scene in a graveyard, and you’re distracted from the plot by trying to transcribe the tombstones.” —from Kay on 23 January 2014.

GenealogyBank’s Genealogy Quotes Pinterest Boards

If you’d like to laugh a little and enjoy more genealogy sayings and quotes, be sure to follow our GenealogyBank Pinterest boards listed below.

Genealogy Humor & Funnies

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Genealogy Humor: 101 Funny Quotes & Sayings for Genealogists

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary presents 101 of the funniest, quirkiest, or most touching sayings about genealogy that she’s encountered in her career as a family historian.

One thing I’ve noticed is that family historians have great senses of humor—and often come up with funny genealogy sayings.

So I searched high and low, and came up with my top list of 101 funny genealogy sayings. Most are similar to others that are displayed without attribution, so I’ve taken a few liberties in compiling what I consider the most humorous versions!

a screenshot of GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy Humor” Pinterest board

GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy Humor” Pinterest board

If I’ve omitted any funny genealogy quotes, be sure to add your personal favorites in the comments section so that we can all have a few more chuckles.

Funny Family Tree Sayings

  • If you shake your family tree, watch for the nuts to fall.
  • Some family trees have more sap than others (and mine certainly has more than its fair share).
  • Genealogists never fade away; they just lose their roots.
  • If you don’t tend your roots, the tree may wither away.
  • Family tree research is one giant step backwards and one giant step forward—usually at the same time.

Genealogy saying: "If you shake your family tree, watch for the nuts to fall."

Funny Genealogy Quotes & Definitions

  • Family history is all about recording “his story & her story.”
  • Definition of mythology: genealogy without documentation.
  • Genealogy is all about chasing your own tale.
  • Famous quote that applies (all too often) to questionable genealogy: “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” —Mark Twain
  • “Just the facts, Ma’am.” —(commonly, but incorrectly) attributed to Joe Friday of the TV show Dragnet.
  • “Genealogy: An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.” —Ambrose Bierce
  • Genealogists are time travelers.
  • A great genealogist is a time unraveler.
  • Genealogy: In the end, it’s all relative.
  • A genealogist is someone who knows that all grandparents are great grandparents!
  • Genealogy is sometimes about proving that bad family traits came from the other side of the tree!

Genealogy saying: "Genealogy is all about chasing your own tale."

Funny Sayings about Cousins & Other Relatives

  • Can a first cousin once removed be returned?
  • A cousin a day keeps the boredom away.
  • A great party is when everyone joins in the gene pool.
  • An inlaw is someone who has married into your family; an outlaw is an inlaw who resists letting you do their genealogy!
  • If your family members won’t talk about a particular relative, a seasoned genealogist knows they are keeping mum about something very interesting.
  • Moment of Truth for a genealogist: discovering you are your own cousin.
  • If you don’t know who the family black sheep is, it’s probably you.
  • Enter Last Name

    Humorous Genealogy Quotes for Signs, Bumper Stickers and T-Shirts

    • Do you know where your great grandparents are?
    • After 30 days, unclaimed ancestors will be discarded or claimed by another family.
    • So many ancestors; so little time.
    • I brake for ancestors.
    • I chase dead relatives.
    • I’m ancestrally challenged.
    • Where there is a will, you’ll find a genealogist!
    • Genealogists do it in libraries or in trees.
    • Sign for a genealogist’s home office: Family research zone. Disturb at your peril.
    • I am addicted to genealogy.
    • Who’s your great great granddaddy?
    • I only research genealogy on days that end in “y.”
    a screenshot of GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy & Family Quotes” Pinterest board

    GenealogyBank’s “Genealogy & Family Quotes” Pinterest board

    Good Advice for Genealogists

    • Remember that when a family member passes away, they take a library of memories with them. It’s a genealogist’s duty to record them before that happens.
    • Genealogy is like a magic mirror. Look into it, and pretty soon, interesting faces appear.
    • The kind of ancestors you have is not as important as the kindness of their descendants.
    • If you are the last living link between your grandparents and your grandchildren—don’t break the chain.
    • If you don’t want your descendants to put a twisted spin on your life story, write it yourself!
    • If you’re the family photographer (and not showing up in photos), your family historian descendants will become upset with you.
    • To get your family tree done the fastest, run for political office. Your opponents will have it completed way before the election, and then you can resign if you really didn’t wish to run in the first place.
    • Many genealogists neglect telling their own stories, while in the midst of telling the stories about others. Don’t let that happen to your family.
    • Your children may not thank you, but if you preserve the family genealogy your great great great great descendants will remember you as super-great!
    • If someone’s picture looks like they don’t belong in the family tree, well, maybe they don’t.
    • Some think it’s best to grow a family tree one leaf at a time—but as with the spring, you may find that many buds can be produced at the same time.
    • Don’t take life seriously. Every genealogist knows nobody gets out alive.
    • If at first you don’t succeed, search, search again. That is why we call it re-search.

    Genealogy saying: "Genealogy is like a magic mirror. Look into it, and pretty soon, interesting faces appear."

    Hilarious Observations about Genealogists

    • Genealogists don’t get Alzheimer’s, they just lose their census.
    • Eventually, all genealogists come to their census.
    • Housework avoidance strategy: Genealogy!
    • There’s a fine line between a packrat and a serious family historian.
    • A home with everything in its place, and a place for everything, means you’re not well suited for genealogy!
    • Can’t find enough ancestors? No problem. Let me adopt you. I’ve got more than enough to share.
    • Does your family coat of arms have too many or too few sleeves?
    • Taking your children to meet family at a reunion is often an effective form of birth control.
    • Genealogical paydirt is discovering the ancestor who was the family packrat!
    • Heredity might be better spelled as heir-edity.
    • I can’t find my ancestors, so they must have been in a witness protection program!
    • Motivated genealogists scan once—and then share across the Internet!
    • A genealogist’s bad heir day is when you can’t find what you are looking for.
    • A genealogist’s filing system usually incorporates the floor.

    Genealogy saying: "There's a fine line between a packrat and a serious family historian."

    Oxymorons, Enigmas & Theories about Genealogy

    • Oxymoron: “I love history, but I dislike genealogy.” Don’t you want to tell these people that genealogy is family history?
    • Genealogical enigma: How so many published trees record people who died before they were born.
    • Genealogy theorem: There is a 100% chance that those elusive ancestors weren’t interested in genealogy.
    • Genealogy theorem: The odds that you are related to yourself are probably not less than 100%.
    • Theory of relativity: If you go back far enough, we’re all related.
    • Murphy’s Law of Genealogy: Your ancestor’s maiden name will be recorded on the one record page that is missing.
    • Enter Last Name

      Funny Cemetery Quotes

      • A genealogist is a person who leaves no stone unearthed.
      • A cemetery is a marble garden not to be taken for granite.
      • Selecting a tombstone is usually a monumental task.
      • Go ahead and honk your horn in the cemetery. It’s not possible to wake the dead.
      • A cemetery is where “down under” takes on an entirely new meaning.
      a screenshot of GenealogyBank’s “Our Ancestors Said...” Pinterest board

      GenealogyBank’s “Our Ancestors Said…” Pinterest board

      You Know You’re a Genealogist if…

      • You know you’re a genealogist if the top item on your Christmas list is a genealogy subscription!
      • You know you’re a genealogist if your email contact list contains more distant cousins than immediate family.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve ever tried to inspire the next generation by whispering in a newborn’s ear, “Genealogy is fun.”
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you evaluate the surnames of acquaintances (along with complete strangers) to see how they might be related.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know all the maiden names of all your female friends—and if you don’t, you surreptitiously try to discover them.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you secretly celebrate a forebear’s birthday.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if the highlight of your last trip was a cemetery visit.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if no family member is ever treated as a black sheep (everyone is welcome).
      • You know you’re a genealogist when you realize your collection of DNA results is more important than your nick knacks.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you immediately understand these abbreviations: BC, DC, MC and VR.
      • Answer the first associated words that come to mind: Ellis, family and vital. If you answered Island, history and record, you know you’ve become a genealogist.
      • You might be a genealogist if you think family history is an ancestral game of hide and seek.
      • You might be a genealogist if dead people are more interesting to you than the living.
      • You might be a genealogist if you love living in the past lane.
      • You might be a genealogist if the phrase “relatively speaking” holds a truly unique meaning.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if a scanner and archival storage containers are more exciting gifts than jewelry (female) or football tickets (male).
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know what inst. and ult. stand for.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve ever repurposed your dining room table, and panic at anyone going near it.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if your vacation bucket list includes Fort Wayne, Salt Lake City, and Washington, D.C. (hopefully all in the same year).
      • You know your friend is not a genealogist if he/she doesn’t understand why these are top vacation destinations.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if there is a courthouse programmed into your GPS.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you’ve ever had your photo taken in front of a tombstone and you were actually smiling!
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know more about the past than the present.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you know what a GEDCOM and an ahnentafel are.
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you have no problem substituting your great great grandmother’s maiden name for your mother’s (in answer to a security question).
      • You know you’re a genealogist if you can name the county for most major cities in the United States! Admit it—many of you can assign these cities to their correct county: Atlanta, Cleveland, Newark, Houston, San Francisco…
      • If you think your family is normal, you probably aren’t a genealogist!
      • You know you’re hopelessly hooked on genealogy if you say “Honey, I’ll just be a few minutes on the computer,” and then find yourself awestruck by the sunrise.

      Genealogy saying: "If you think your family is normal, you probably aren't a genealogist!"

      I’d like to leave you with my favorite saying: “Genealogy isn’t just a pastime; it’s a passion!”

      GenealogyBank’s Pinterest Boards

      If you’d like to laugh a little and enjoy more genealogy sayings and quotes, be sure to visit these Pinterest boards.

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Take a Music Break & Listen to ‘I’m My Own Grandpa’

Take a break today and listen to this old country song performed by Dennis Warner.

Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7x1ETPkZsk.

photo of Dennis Warner performing "I’m My Own Grandpa"

Credit: YouTube

You’ll need a pad and pencil to work out all the genealogy connections in this funny ballad loaded with connections on the old family tree. The song lyrics to “I’m My Own Grandpa” are below for reference.

Many, many years ago when I was 23

I was married to a widder who was pretty as could be

The widder had a grown up daughter who had a hair of red

My father fell in love with her and soon they were wed

 

This made my dad my son in law, which changed my very life

For my daughter was my mother in law, she was my father’s wife

To complicate the matter even though it brought me joy

I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy

 

I’m my own grandpa

I’m my own grandpa

It sounds funny, I know,

but it really is so

I’m my own grandpa

 

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 the brother

Of the widder’s grown up daughter who of course was my step mother

 

My father’s wife then had a son, that kept them on the run

and he became my grandchild 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 grandmother too

 

I’m my own grandpa

I’m my own grandpa

It sounds funny, I know,

but it really is so

I’m my own grandpa

 

Oh if my wife is my grandmother then I’m her grandchild

And every time I think of it, it nearly drives me wild

For now I have become the strangest case you ever saw

As husband of my own grandmother, I’m my own grandpa

 

I’m my own grandpa

I’m my own grandpa

It sounds funny, I know,

but it really is so

I’m my own grandpa

Genealogy Song: ‘I Think I Hear a Woodpecker Knocking at My Family Tree’

“I Think I Hear a Woodpecker Knocking at My Family Tree” is probably the funniest genealogy song you will ever hear.

photo of the sheet music for the song "I Think I Hear a Woodpecker Knocking at My Family Tree”

Credit: University of Oregon, Sheet Music Collection

Written by composer Joseph Edgar Howard (1878-1961), this genealogy song has been popular since it was written back in 1909. A copy of the original sheet music for this piece was put online by the University of Oregon. You can see a copy of the song’s lyrics on the original sheet music; the lyrics are also reproduced below for your reference:

My family tree is an awful sight to see

For the bark is all worn bare;

It’s a busted stump which is mostly punk

And the worms are nesting there.

I’d point with pride to the ones who died

In my genealogy,

But the fact is this, almost all my kin and kith,

Have been hanged up on that tree.

I think I hear a woodpecker knocking on my family tree,

While I hear his knock, knock, knock,

I think he’s on to me.

My family did a whole lot of things that ain’t in history

But when he gets free with my ancestry

He’s knocking me. I me.

My father Dan was a literary man

He lived by and in the pen,

When he got away it was safe to say

He would soon be back again;

My uncle Frank for his work in a bank

By the police was in demand,

While my cousin Roy was an awful handy boy

With a stocking full of sand.

I think I hear a woodpecker knocking on my family tree,

While I hear his knock, knock, knock,

I think he’s on to me.

My family did a whole lot of things that ain’t in history

But when he gets free with my ancestry

He’s knocking me. I me.

Listen to a recording of this funny genealogy song here:

http://www.abmp3.info/mp3/i-think-hear-a-woodpecker-knocking-at-my-family-tree.html

Joseph Howard was a well-known vaudevillian. His most famous song was Hello, Ma Baby written in 1899.

Genealogy Humor

One of our readers (Kevin Clark) pointed me to today’s Wizard of Id cartoon – that speaks to the “high cost” of family history research.

To see the cartoon – click here
or if that site is busy – click here

Wizard of Id by Parker and Hart is one of my favorites.