Kin Jokes for Genealogists

Introduction: In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak looks through old newspapers to find jokes our ancestors told about kin. Mary is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background.

Judging from how many kin jokes I find in old newspapers, such as GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I am quite certain my forebears were humorists in kin-dred spirit.

Kin Jokes

I mean, who else sat around and came up with jokes like these? I’ve actually got a lot more that will show up in later posts.

A graphic showing jokes about kin

(Is the text in this graphic too small for you to read? If so, use your browser’s zoom feature to enlarge it. Or, for your convenience, I’ve reprinted these kin jokes at the end of this article.)

And not only that, if DNA-testing scientists can determine the likelihood that someone has straight or curly hair, or whether or not someone prefers chocolate over vanilla, it’s only a matter of time before they prove that family historians really did inherit a genealogy gene!

A cartoon about a "genealogy gene"

So, in that “spirit” I present a few kin jokes to brighten your day.

  • Q: What kin is that child to its own father, who is not its father’s own son? (1844)
  • A: A daughter!

From 1888, I found these two jokes which appeared over and over in later years.

  • Q: What kin is the door mat to the door?
  • A: A step father (step further).
  • Q: What sticketh closer than a brother?
  • A: A postage stamp, by gum.

Facetious Statements

Sometimes I found one-liners in the old newspapers:

  • If you can’t be ideal in any other way, be an ideal poor kin. (1910)
  • Almost all rich people imagine they would enjoy helping their poor kin – if they haven’t any. (1913)

Kin Query

While researching kin jokes, I came across a query that inspired this blog article. It came from a cute question in 1909 to society columnist Miss Libbey of the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Q: Dear Miss Libbey: What kin am I to my half-brother’s wife’s brother? What kin is he to me? Would it be proper for the girl to send the first mail, or not? Is it proper for the game “wink” to be played at an evening party? M. A. W.
  • A: The fellow would be no relation to you whatever.

On that note, I’m as confused as Miss Libbey is about the game of wink, but it certainly teases the imagination, doesn’t it!

A "Miss Libbey" advice column, San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article 8 March 1913
San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), 8 March 1913, page 22

Unfortunately, the query was only signed by initials, but that is a reminder for all family historians with kin in California or nearby to check if they had an unmarried ancestor with the initials M. A. W. who might have submitted it!

Kin Jokes from the Graphic Above

  • Q: What kind of kin rules others?
  • A: The king-g, of course!
  • Q: What kind of kin rules a king?
  • A: Silly, only a queen can rule a king.
  • Q: What kind of kin is better than others?
  • A: The kin-der ones.
  • Q: Where do genealogists read the most books?
  • A: On their kin-dles!
  • Q: What is a fun drink to serve at family reunions?
  • A: Kin and tonic.
  • Q: What dessert is most common at a family reunion?
  • A: Pump-kin pie.
  • Q: Who is most likely to be named the black sheep of the family reunion?
  • A: The country bump-kin!

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