Original Genealogy Expressions You Never Heard Before

Introduction: In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak uses her witty imagination to create humorous genealogy expressions and definitions. Mary is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background.

Do you ever hear an expression and wonder what it means? I know I do, but I also like to construct my own quips. For instance, take a look at these original definitions you have never heard before!

Illustration: a logo made from the word "genealogy"

  • Aunt-cestor: A sister to a direct ancestor as opposed to an Un-cestor (see below)
  • B-lin-g-eage: A lineage with an overwhelming amount of proofs and evidence
  • B-lin-k-eage: A lineage you hoped was correct, but disappears in the blink of an eye when proved incorrect!
  • Birthright: The right of a researcher to have access to a birth record
  • Birthing room: Another term for a genealogist’s office
  • Comic comments: Statements made to blogs that make me laugh!
  • Doc doc: A transcriber, or someone who can read old handwriting accurately
  • Doing the cake walk: What a genealogist does after finding an elusive marriage record
  • Dying your roots: Describes what happens when someone doesn’t pass on anything about their family history to the next generation

Photo: a genealogy saying defining "genie-ology"

  • Genie-ology: Genealogy that appears like magic
  • Grave undertaking: Refers to any research done in a cemetery
  • Himlich maneuver: Not to be confused with the Heimlich, this is what we do when resurrecting a previously unproved male relation
  • Kin flick: A popular show about genealogy!
  • Kinship coming in: An expression used after discovering new ancestors as kin – this can also be applied to finding a DNA match to a friend!
  • Kissing cousins: We usually refer to cousins who marry cousins as kissing cousins, but it’s also what you feel like doing after discovering a DNA match!
  • Mark Twain: What happens when you find someone alive after declaring them dead in your tree (based upon his famous quote: “The report of my death was an exaggeration”)
  • Maternal instincts: The art of pursuing an ancestor’s maiden name by hunch

Photo: a genealogy saying defining "Mayflower bud"

  • Mayflower bud: A hoped-for Mayflower link that will flower!
  • No issues: An ancestor with lots of evidence as opposed to a relative who has no issue (no children)
  • O-fit: What happens to a tried & true genealogist upon discovering errors in an obituary!
  • O-r-bit: An updated version of an incomplete obit, generally posted on popular grave sites online!
  • That’s tomb much: What we say when we spot an extremely ornate or large cemetery monument
  • Un-cestor: This is a person whom you reject as being an ancestor, but who could also be someone who is a brother to a direct ancestor!
  • Union label: Another word for a marriage certificate
  • Vital title: This refers to a record that shows us an occupation and leads to other documents
  • Will power: The power of an estate record to prove or disprove genealogy

Hope you enjoyed these as much as I did in writing them. And please watch for my upcoming booklet on genealogy humor!

All quips © 2019 by Mary Harrell-Sesniak

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