Genealogy Humor, Part 1 :-)
I found some of the following poems and humorous essays posted by various people on the now defunct National Genealogical Conference carried on the FidoNet network. Others were found on Internet newsgroups or mailing lists. I hope you find them as amusing as I did.

Poem on Starting

I started out calmly tracing my tree,
to find if I could, the making of me,
and all that I had was a great grandfather's name,
not knowing his wife or from whence he came.
I chased him across a long line of states
and came up with pages and pages of dates.
When all put together, it made me forlorn,
I proved that poor grandpa had never been born.
One day I was sure the truth I had found.
Determined to turn this whole thing upside down.
I looked up the record of one uncle John,
but then found the old man was younger than his son.
Then when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.
The facts I collected made me quite sad.
Dear old grandfather was never a dad.
I think maybe someone is pulling my leg.
I'm not at all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg.
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree,
I can't help wonder if I'm really me.


Quoted from The Family Tree News from The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library, Moultrie, GA, published free bi-monthly, 2August 1992.

(Suggested change to last few lines of this poem
from Irene Mayne-Anderson on 7 Jun 1997, posted
to defunct National Genealogical Echo:)

"I'm not sure at all I'm not hatched from an egg"

You know all humans had a third eye
And a tail, my oh my,
Trace back far enough and you'll see by and by
It's as well you didn't sprout feathers and fly!

The following is a variation on the above poem.

Genealogist's Lament

I've decided to trace my family tree,
to see if I'd find the making of me.

All that I had was my grandfather's name.
I knew I'd have trouble cause mine's not the same.

I chased him across a whole lot of states,
and came up with pages and pages of dates.

When I put it together it made me forlorn.
I'd proven my father had never been born.

Then when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.

These records looked good but made me quite sad.
They proved that my grandpa was never a dad.

After all of the time I had spent on my tree,
I couldn't help wondering if I'm really me.

Then one winter night twas getting quite late.
I checked my research and found a wrong date.

So just when it seemed I could do it no more,
I finally found Grandpa where I'd looked before.

Now I am happy when I look at my tree,
because now I know that I'm really me.

Wait a minute.  What's this?  Oh why do I bother?
Now I can't find my grandfather's father.

Genealogy Spouse

You know you're a Genealogist's Spouse when:

  • You're the only person in the bridge/poker club who knows what a Soundex is.

  • Some of your best friends live over 200 miles away.

  • You have more pictures of tombstones than of the kids.

  • "I need a little help at the courthouse" means forget the cleaning, washing, dinner, chores; the day is shot.

  • The mailman can't believe you get this much mail from someone you don't know.

  • You explain to Mom why you can't go 25 miles for Sunday dinner, but can go 100 miles to check out another cemetery.

  • "As soon as I check this census record, I'll fix the leaky faucet" means "call the plumber."

  • You get home from a trip to an out-of-state courthouse with the kids needing scrubbing, car needing fixing, and clothes needing washing to find the housework, bills and lawnmower to greet you.

  • Your neighbors think you're crazy, your friends wonder, and you know you are.

  • Despite it all, even you are a little anxious for the next family reunion.

Quoted from Mid-Michigan Genealogy Society Newsletter, Spring 1991. Author unknown.


Does your wife spend her life in a library?
Is her nose always deep in a book?
Serving left-overs, late, for your luncheon,
Can she no longer be bothered to cook?

Does she seek an affair with the postman?
Do your overtures meet with riposte?
It is not for his visits she's yearning
But the letters of love in the post.

Can you no longer enter your study?
Does the desk overflow to the floor?
With details that beg comprehension
Of persons obscure and of yore.

And does she incessantly babble
About things of which you don't give a toss,
Of a long dead illiterate auntie
Who witnessed a Will with a cross.

Well! You've had it! I might as well tell you.
Usurped and degraded like me.
A genealogical widower,
You take second place to a tree.

No! I don't mean a gum or a wattle,
Of chain-saws it taketh no heed!
It's a sort of ancestral pyramid
Extolling man's penchant to breed!

I'm forming an organisation
For dissident folks such as I
Whose spouses have left them to follow
The all-seeing God I.G.I.

What's that dear? Related to convicts?
Great great grandad was with the First Fleet?
His son was the first mayor of Bunyip
And one of the nation's elite?

His ancestors crossed with The Conquest?
I'm related to dukes by the score?
It's amazing this family history!
Incredible!  Do tell me more!
—Author Unknown


(very contagious to mature adults)

  • Continual complaint for names, dates and places

  • Patient has blank expression, some­times deaf to spouse and children

  • Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses

  • Has strong compulsions to write letters

  • Swears at mailman when he leaves no mail

  • Has compulsions to frequently visit strange places, such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote, desolate country areas

  • Makes secret night calls

  • Hides phone bills from spouse

  • Mumbles to self

  • Has strange far-away look in eyes.
  • Medication is useless

  • Disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse

  • Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealo­gical magazines, and be given a quiet corner in the house where he or she can be left alone.
REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is the sicker one gets, the more he enjoys it!

Contributed by Randy East
to Circuit Rider,
Kentucky Historical Society, 1981.


(Carol Botteron's suggested poster (1993) <>)

  • wide-brimmed hat to ward off sun & rain in cemeteries

  • trifocal glasses

  • sticky tongue from licking stamps

  • muscular right arm from cranking microfilm readers

  • carpal tunnel syndrome from using computer

  • writer's cramp from taking notes

  • shirt with large pockets for pencils & membership cards

  • vest with pedigree chart on back for others to read

  • coin changer on belt for photocopy machines

  • knee pads for finding books on low shelves

  • sensible shoes

  • portable computer

  • camera with black-and-white film for gravestones

  • many file folders with charts

  • pencils of various colors

  • peanut butter sandwiches

  • aspirin

  • caffeine pills

The Smiths were proud of their family tradition. Their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower.  They had included Senators and Wall Street wizards.

They decided to compile a family history, a legacy for their children and grandchildren.  They hired a fine author.  Only one problem arose—how to handle that great-uncle George, who was executed in the electric chair.

The author said he could handle the story tactfully.

The book appeared.  It said "Great-uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, and his death came as a great shock."

Posted to COLE-L mailing list 6 July 2001:

Census Taker

It was the first day of census, and all through the land;
The pollster was ready . . . a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride;
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side.
A long winding ride down a road barely there;
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting up through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her face;
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place.
She gave him some water . . . as they sat at the table;
And she answered his questions . . . the best she was able.
He asked of her children . . . Yes, she had quite a few;
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red;
his sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
She noted each person who lived there with pride;
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.
He noted the sex, the color, the age . . .
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page.
At the number of children, she nodded her head;
And saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.
The places of birth she "never forgot";
Was it Kansas? or Utah? or Oregon . . . or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear;
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such;
They could read some and write some . . . though really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job there was done;
So he mounted his horse and he rode toward the sun.
We can imagine his voice loud and clear;
"May God Bless you all for another ten years."
Now picture a time warp . . . it's now you and me;
As we search for the people on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow;
As we search for that entry from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine on that long ago day;
That the entries they made would affect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel;
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real.
We can hear if we listen the words they impart;
Through their blood in our veins and their voice in our heart.

—Author Unknown