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

One thought on “Original Genealogy Expressions You Never Heard Before

  1. I can’t understand why people are so hung up on the Mayflower when it is Jamestown that is historically more important.
    One must understand that the passengers on the Mayflower were agitators trying to turn the Anglican Church away from its Catholic beliefs.
    They were supposedly wanting religious freedom. However, they did not extend this freedom to non-Puritans.

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