Genealogy Jokes and Poems


Most of the jokes and poems that you'll find on this page were sent to me by friends. They made me smile - I hope they make you smile too.

updated 24-8-2001

While the number of Poems and Jokes is growing rapidly (thanks to your contributions), I decided to make an index, so you can just go to one that interests you because of the title, or because you enjoyed it before. The newest ones, however, will always be on top of this page. A regular visitor can just read the ones on top to see what's new! Of course, like before, you can also just scroll down and read them all!


Lists Miscellaneous Sentimental Holidays
Top 10 indicators Grengels (Gronings-Engels) Dear Ancestor All I want for Christmas
Genealogy Addict Copies of actual Corresp. It was the first day of Census The night before Christmas
Genealogical Taglines The good old days Gene Passage A Valentine
Wish List I have a Spelling Checker Cemetery Inscriptions  
  A Blacksheep, whitened Looking for an ancestor  
  Anno Domini    
  I am my own Grandpa    


Strangers In The Box

Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time,
To tell, who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?
Take time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.

author  Pam Harazim, contributed by AnnMarie Freeman

I went looking for an ancestor I cannot find him still.
 He moved around from place to place and did not leave a will.
 He married where a courthouse burned. He mended all his fences.
 He avoided any man who came to take the US census.
 He always kept his luggage packed, this man who had no fame.
 And every 20 years, this rascal changed his name.
 His parents came from Europe, they could be on some list.
 Of passengers to the USA, but somehow he got missed.
 And no one else anywhere is searching for this man.
 So I play geneasolitaire to find him if I can.
 I'm told he's buried in a plot, with tombstone he was blessed.
 But the weather took the engraving and some vandal took the rest.
 He died before the county clerks decided to keep records.
 No family Bible has emerged in spite of all my efforts.
 To top it off this ancestor, who has caused me many groans,
 Just to give me one more pain, betrothed a girl named JONES!



Cemetery Inscriptions

On a cemetery stone in Elgin County, Ontario, Canada:

He was a humanitarian
He loved his mother-in-law.


Remember me as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so you will be,
Prepare for death and follow me.


One quite like it is on a gravestone in Ireland. It starts: Stop traveller stop as you pass by.... etc

Someone added to it:

To follow you I'd be quite content

If I only know which way you went.

  Have fun Sunhine

(James Neale) 


Which one will be here?



I am my own grandpa!

Many many years ago when I was twenty three,
I got married to a widow who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her, and soon the two were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law and changed my very life.
My daughter was my mother, for she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matters worse, although it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.
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 brother
To the widow's grown-up daughter who, of course, was my step-mother.
Father's wife then had a son, who kept them on the run.
And he became my grandson, 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.
If my wife is my grandmother, then I am her grandchild.
And every time I think of it, it simply drives me wild.
For now I have become the strangest case you ever saw.
As the husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa!



Anno Domini

Translated from latin scroll dated 2BC

Dear Cassius:

Are you still working on the Y zero K problem?  This change from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't much time left.  I don't know how people will cope with working the wrong way around.  Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start thinking upwards. You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it to us to sort it all out at this last minute.

I spoke to Caesar the other evening.  He was livid that Julius hadn't done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. He said he could see why Brutus turned nasty.  We called in Consultus, but he simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC won't work and as usual charged a fortune for doing nothing useful. Surely we will not have to throw out all our hardware and start again? Macrohard will make yet another fortune out of this I suppose.

The money lenders are paranoid of course!  They have been told that all usury rates will invert and they will have to pay their clients to take out loans.  Its an ill wind ......

As for myself, I just can't see the sand in an hourglass flowing upwards. We have heard that there are three wise men in the East who have been working on the problem, but unfortunately they won't arrive until it's all over.

I have heard that there are plans to stable all horses at midnight at the turn of the year as there are fears that they will stop and try to run backwards, causing immense damage to chariots and possible loss of life.

Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of transition. Anyway, we are still continuing to work on this blasted Y zero K problem. I will send a parchment to you if anything further develops.

If you have any ideas please let me know,




A Blacksheep, whitened

Lets say that your great-great uncle Remus Starr, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889.
A cousin has supplied you with the only known photograph of Remus, showing him standing on the gallows.  On the back of the picture are the words:
Remus Starr: Horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison, 1885. Escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times.  Caught by Pinkerton Detectives, convicted and hanged, 1889.

Pretty grim situation, right?  But let's revise things a bit.  We simply crop the picture, scan in an enlargement and edit it with image processing software so that all that is seen is a head shot.

Next, we rewrite the text:

Remus Starr was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory.  His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and imitate dealings with the Montana railroad.  Beginning in 1885, he  devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.  In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renown Pinkerton Detective Agency.  In 1889, Uncle Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collasped.

Now we give Uncle Remus a distinguished place inside the family tree, not
hanging from it.




Red roses were her favorites, her name was also Rose.
And every year her husband sent them, tied with pretty bows.
The year he died, the roses were delivered to her door.
The card said, -Be my Valentine,- like all the years before.

Each year he sent her roses, and the note would always say,
I love you even more this year, than last year on this day.-
My love for you will always grow, with every passing year.-
She knew this was the last time that the roses would appear.

She thought, he ordered roses, in advance before this day.
Her loving husband did not know, that he would pass away.
He always liked to do things early, way before the time.
Then, if he got too busy, everything would work out fine.

She trimmed the stems, and placed them in a very special vase.
Then, sat the vase beside the portrait of his smiling face.
She would sit for hours, in her husband's favorite chair.
While staring at his picture, and the roses sitting there.

A year went by, and it was hard to live without her mate.
With loneliness and solitude, that had become her fate.
Then, the very hour, as on Valentines before,
The doorbell rang, and there were roses, sitting by her door.

She brought the roses in, and then just looked at them in shock.
Then, went to get the telephone, to call the florist shop.
The owner answered, and she asked him, if he would explain,
Why would someone do this to her, causing her such pain?

I know your husband passed away, more than a year ago,-
The owner said, -I knew you'd call, and you would want to know.
The flowers you received today, were paid for in advance.-
Your husband always planned ahead, he left nothing to chance.

There is a standing order, that I have on file down here,
And he has paid, well in advance-you'll get them every year.
There also is another thing, that I think you should know,
He wrote a special little card...he did this years ago.-

Then, should ever, I find out that he's no longer here,
That's the card...that should be sent, to you the following year.-
She thanked him and hung up the phone, her tears now flowing hard.
Her fingers shaking, as she slowly reached to get the card.

Inside the card, she saw that he had written her a note.
Then, as she stared in total silence, this is what he wrote...
Hello my love, I know it's been a year since I've been gone,
I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to overcome.-

I know it must be lonely, and the pain is very real.
For if it was the other way, I know how I would feel.
The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life.
I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife.-

You were my friend and lover, you fulfilled my every need.
I know it's only been a year, but please try not to grieve.
I want you to be happy, even when you shed your tears.
That is why the roses will be sent to you for years.-

When you get these roses, think of all the happiness,
That we had together, and how both of us were blessed.
I have always loved you and I know I always will.
But, my love, you must go on, you have some living still.-

Please...try to find happiness, while living out your days.
I know it is not easy, but I hope you find some ways.
The roses will come every year, and they will only stop,
When your door's not answered, when the florist stops to knock.-

He will come five times that day, in case you have gone out.
But after his last visit, he will know without a doubt,
To take the roses to the place, where I've instructed him,
And place the roses where we are, together once again.



Gene passage

"I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me, those who are to
come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our
fathers, and in front, to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon
beyond. And their eyes were my eyes.

As I felt, so they had felt, and were to feel, as then, so now, as
tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line
that had no beginning, and no end. And the hand of his father grasped
father's hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right
hand, and all, up and down the line that stretched from Time That Was,
Time That Is, and Is Not Yet, raised their hands to show the link, and
found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, made in His Image,
fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the Eternal Father."


Extracted from the work of Richard Llewellyn
"How Green Was My Valley"



I have a spelling checker,

It came with my PC
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks eye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it.
You sure reel glad two no
Its vary polished in it's weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing.
It freeze yew lodes of thymes.
It helps me right awl stiles two reeds,
And aides me when aye rime.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud.
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

And now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite.
Of none eye am a wear.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to be a joule.
The checker poured oar every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

That's why aye brake in two averse
By righting wants two pleas.
Sow now ewe sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear for pea seas!




 Life in the 1500's -----
 Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare.
 She married at the age of 26.
 This is really unusual for the time. Most people married young, like at
 the age of 11 or 12. Life was not as romantic as we may picture it.
 Here are some examples:
 Anne Hathaway's home was a 3 bedroom house with a small parlor, which
 was seldom used (only for company), kitchen, and no bathroom.
 Mother and Father shared a bedroom. Anne had a queen sized bed, but did
 not sleep alone. She also had 2 other sisters and they shared the bed
 also with 6 servant girls. (this is before she married) They didn't
 sleep like we do lengthwise but all laid on the bed crosswise.   At
 least they had a bed.
 The other bedroom was shared by her 6 brothers and 30 field workers.
 They didn't have a bed. Everyone just wrapped up in their blanket and
 slept on the floor. They had no indoor heating so all the extra bodies
 kept them warm.
 They were also small people, the men only grew to be about 5'6" and the
 women were 4'8".
 SO in their house they had 27 people living. Most people got married in
 Why? They took their yearly bath in May, so they were still smelling
 pretty good by June, although they were starting to smell, so the brides
 would carry a bouquet of flowers to hide their b.o.
 Like I said, they took their yearly bath in May, but it was just a big
 tub that they would fill with hot water. The man of the house would get
 the privilege of the nice clean water.
 Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the
 Last of all the babies. By then the water was pretty thick. Thus, the
 saying, "don't throw the baby out with the bath water," it was so dirty
 you could actually lose someone in it. I'll describe their houses a
 You've heard of thatch roofs, well that's all they were. Thick straw,
 piled high, with no wood underneath.
 They were the only place for the little animals to get warm. So all the
 pets; dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs, all lived in
 the roof.
 When it rained it became slippery so sometimes the animals would slip
 and fall off the roof. Thus the saying, "it's raining cats and dogs,"
 Since there was nothing to stop things from falling into the house they
 would just try to clean up a lot.
 But this posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other
 droppings from animals could really mess up your nice clean bed, so they
 found if they would make beds with big posts and hang a sheet over the
 top it would prevent that problem. That's where those beautiful big 4
 poster beds with canopies came from.
 When you came into the house you would notice most times that the floor
 was dirt.
 Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, that's where the saying
 "dirt poor" came from.
 The wealthy would have slate floors. That was fine but in the winter
 they would get slippery when they got wet.
 So they started to spread thresh on the floor to help keep their
 footing. As the winter wore on they would just keep adding it and adding
 it until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside.
 SO they put a piece of wood at the entry way, a "thresh hold".
 In the kitchen they would cook over the fire, they had a fireplace in
 the kitchen/parlor, that was seldom used and sometimes in the master
 They had a big kettle that always hung over the fire and every day they
 would light the fire and start adding things to the pot. Mostly they ate
 vegetables, they didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for
 dinner then leave the leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and
 then start over the next day.
 Sometimes the stew would have food in
 it that had been in there for a month!
 Thus the rhyme: peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in
 the pot nine days old."
 Sometimes they could get a hold on some pork. They really felt special
 when that happened and when company came over they even had a rack in
 the parlor where they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it
 That was a sign of wealth and that a man "could really bring home the
 They would cut off a little to share with guests and they would all sit
 around and "chew the fat."
 If you had money your plates were made out of pewter. Sometimes some of
 their food had a high acid content and some of the lead would leach out
 into the food. They really noticed it happened with tomatoes. So they
 stopped eating tomatoes, for 400 years.
 Most people didn't have pewter plates though, they all had trenchers,
 that was a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl.
 They never washed their boards and a lot of times worms would get into
 the wood. After eating off the trencher with worms they would get
 "trench mouth."
 If you were going traveling and wanted to stay at an Inn they usually
 provided the bed but not the board.
 The bread was divided according to status. The workers would get the
 burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle and guests
 would get the top, or the "upper crust".
 They also had lead cups and when they would drink their ale or whiskey.
 The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days.
 They would be walking along the road and here would be someone knocked
 out and they thought they were dead. So they would pick them up and take
 them home and get them ready to bury. They realized if they were too
 slow about it, the person would wake up. Also, maybe not all of the
 people they were burying were dead. So they would lay them out on the
 kitchen table for a couple of days, the family would gather around and
 eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. That's where the
 custom of holding a "wake" came from.
 Since England is so old and small they started running out of places to
 bury people. So they started digging up some coffins and would take
 their bones to a house and re-use the grave. They started opening these
 coffins and found some had scratch marks on the inside.
 One out of 25 coffins were that way and they realized they had still
 been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on
 their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and
 tie it to a bell.
 Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to  listen
 for the bell. That is how the saying "graveyard shift" was made.
 If the bell would ring they would know that someone was "saved by the
 bell" or he was a "dead ringer".



Genealogical Taglines for your use

You've seen them all over: at the end of e-mail, on bumper stickers, on buttons, etc.. If you are looking for a tagline just for you, or just wanting to change the one you are using, here is a list of over 100 tags I've accumulated. Feel free to browse and pick one that feels "just right" for you! If after browsing you know of a tagline that isn't listed, please email me at your tag, and I will be glad to list it.

Friends come and go, but relatives tend to accumulate.
Gene Police! You! **Out of the pool!**
Gene-Allergy - It's a contagious disease, but I love it!
Genealogist caught trying to chop down family tree!
Genealogists are like monkeys: always in the trees.
Genealogists are time unravelers.
Genealogists collect dead relatives.
Genealogists do it generation after generation.
Genealogists do it in the library.
Genealogists do it with a computer.
Genealogists don't die, they just lose their census.
Genealogists live in the past lane.
Genealogists never die they just haunt cemeteries.
Genealogists never lose their jobs, they just go to another branch!
Genealogists: People helping people.....that's what it's all about!
Genealogy - a search for the greatest treasures, our ancestors.
Genealogy - Better than the best adventure game and as frustrating.
Genealogy - it's only an obsession after all!
Genealogy - Will I ever find time to mow the lawn again?
Genealogy goes on... and on... and on...
Genealogy in the buff, no I mean A genealogy Buff!
Genealogy is contagious - seldom fatal!
Genealogy is great when you score!
Genealogy is like Hide & Seek: They Hide & I Seek!!!!
GENEALOGY is my hobby. I collect ancestors & descendants.
Genealogy is not a hobby, it's a disease!
Genealogy is T-R-E-E-rific!
Genealogy: A hay stack full of needles. It's the threads I need.
Genealogy: Chasing your own tale!
Genealogy: It's all relative in the end anyway.
Genealogy: It's not a hobby, it's an obsession.
Genealogy: People collecting people!
Genealogy: Search long enough and EVERYONE connects somehow.
Genealogy: The marriage of a jigsaw puzzle to a dungeon & dragons game.
Genealogy: Tracing descent from someone who didn't.
Genealogy: Tracing yourself back to better people.
Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.
Give me your tired, your poor ... they're genealogists!
God gave us relatives, luckily we can choose our friends!
G*d! What a mess this family's in.
He ainsister's 't heavy--He's my brother's aunt's husband.
Hi Ho! Hi Ho! Now where did my ancestors go?
How can one ancestor cause so much TROUBLE ??
Hunting season is all year long in genealogy.
I checked out my family tree. Just as I thought... poison ivy!
I collect dead relatives and sometimes a live cousin!
I finally got it all together. Now where did I put it?
I looked into my family tree and found out I was a sap.
I never steal taglines - I'm a genealogist - I just adopt them.
I researched my family treedon't ... apparently I exist!
I shook my family tree, a bunch of nuts fell out.
I think that I shall never see a completed Genealogy!
I trace family history so I will know who to blame.
I used to have a life, then I started doing genealogy.
I want to find ALL of them! So far I only have a few thousand.
I wonder if a "Missing Persons Bulletin" would locate my
I'd rather look for dead people than have 'em look for me.
I'm not sick, I've just got fading genes.
I'm not stuck, I'm Ancestrally challenged.
I'm stuck in my family tree & can't get down!
If your family tree doesn't fork, you might be a redneck.
Is your family tree evergreen or deciduous?
Isn't genealogy fun? The answer to one problem, leads to two more!
It's hard to be humble with ancestors like mine!
Jeanealogy: the study of LEVIS and WRANGLERS.
Just when you think you've found them all, Up pops another!
Kinship: it`s all relative!
Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.
Life, liberty and the right to know who your ancestors are.
Looking for needles in haystacks.
May all your family trees branch toward the stars!
May the Saint of Genealogists Bless You!
May you ask the right question of the right person at the right time.
Misers are hard to live with but they make great ancestors.
Most of my family roots are underground.
My ancestors are Copyrighted. You have my permission to use the data.
My ancestors are hiding in a witness protection program.
My ancestors did WHAT?!?
My family coat of arms ties at the that normal?
My family tree died in the last drought.
My family tree is full of NOT holes... it's NOT him, it's NOT her!!!
My family tree is in the forest, somewhere!
My family tree must have been used for firewood.
My life has become one large Gedcom!!
My problems are all relative.
My roots only go down so far, but my branches spread forever!
No - yes - maybe - could be - perhaps. Musings of a genealogist.
Not tonight dear, I just got the new version of BK!
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, no one found!
Okay, so I don't descend from anyone... now what?
Old Genealogists never die. They just haunt Archives.
Olly,olly,oxen free! All hiding ancestors can come out!
Only a Genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.
Problem with the gene pool: No lifeguard.
Pruning the Family Tree is NOT permitted!
Research: What I'm doing, when I don't know what I'm doing.
Researching [YOUR NAME] anytime, anywhere, any takers?
Searching for lost relatives? Win the Lottery!
Searching for roots beats chasing dust bunnies!
Sharing genealogy is a rewarding experience!
Snoopers welcome! Feel free to provide comments & relatives!
So many relatives, so little time.
Someday YOU'LL be an ancestor too!
Sometimes you find an ancestor hanging from the family tree!
Still searching, after all these years!
Still trying to decorate my family tree.
Take nothing but ancestors, leave nothing but records.
The black sheep keeps the best info on the family.
Theory of relativity: If you go back far enough, we're all related.
There are no answers, only cross-references.
There is no such thing as a useless piece of information.
Time and Genealogy waits for no man.
To a genealogist, everything is relative.
Trees without roots fall over.
Try genealogycan't . You can't get fired and you quit!
We shall find no ancestor before his time.
We shall gather at the river (or the genealogy library if it rains).
What do you mean my Birth Certificate expired?
What do you mean my grandparents didn't have any kids!?!
What have you done with my ancestors' papers??
When tracing ancestors, please stay within the lines!
When you marry, your family tree can become a forest.
When you search for ancestors, you find great friends!
Who's in charge of washing the Family Group Sheets?
Whoever said "Seek and Ye shall find" was NOT a genealogist!
With MY luck, my Family Tree has Root Rot!
Your genealogy is never done!! >>

Only a Genealogist regards a step backwards as progress!







*** WISH LIST ***



Barbara A. Brown

 Ms. Brown's "I Want" article was originally posted in 1994 to the National Genealogical Conference, FIDO bulletin board forum.



It was the night before Christmas when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.

The dining room table with clutter was spread

With pedigree charts and with letters which said....

"Too bad about the data for which you wrote

Sank in a storm on an ill fated boat."


Stacks of old copies of wills and the such

Were proof that my work had become much to much.

Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And I at my table was ready to drop

From work on my album with photos to crop.


Christmas was here, and of such was my lot

That presents and goodies and toys I forgot.

Had I not been so busy with grandparents' wills,

I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills.

While others had bought gifts that would bring Christmas cheer;

I'd spent time researching those birthdates and years.


While I was thus musing about my sad plight,

A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.

Away to the window I flew in a flash,

Tore open the drapes and I yanked up the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear?

But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.


Up to the housetop the reindeer they flew,

With a sleigh full of toys, and old Santa Claus too.

And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.

The TV antenna was no match for their horns,

And look at our roof with hoof-prints adorned.


As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,

Down the cold chimney fell Santa - KER-RASH!

"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,

And tracked soot on the carpet, (I could wring his short neck!)

Spotting my face, good old Santa could see

I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.


He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work

And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).

Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy;

When I'd been too busy for even one toy.

He spied my research on the table all spread

"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)


"Tonight I've met many like you", Santa grinned.

As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.

I gazed with amazement - the cover it read

"Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead."

"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug,"

He said as he gave me a great Santa Hug.


"While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,

I do some research in the North Pole Library!

A special treat I am thus able to bring,

To genealogy folks who can't find a thing.

Now off you go to your bed for a rest,

I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."


As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,

I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.

While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle,

To his team which then rose like the down of a thistle

And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,

"Family History is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"





Dear Santa:

Don't bring me new dishes;

I don't need a new kind of game.

Genealogists have peculiar wishes;

For Christmas I just want a surname!

A new washing machine would be great,

But it isn't the desire of my life.

I've just found an ancestor's birth date,

Now I need the name of his wife.

My heart doesn't yearn for a ring

that would put a real diamond to shame.

What I want is a much cheaper thing:

Please give me Martha's last name!

To see my heart singing with joy,

Don't bring me a red leather suitcase.

Bring me a genealogist's toy:

A surname, with dates and a place!



It was the first day of census, and all through the land

each 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 her of 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 colour, 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 Texas? or Utah? or Michigan ... 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 almost imagine his voice loud and clear,

"May God bless you all for another ten years."


Now picture a time warp ... its 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 voices in our hearts.



Top 10 indicators that you've become a geneaholic

10. You introduce your daughter as your descendent

9. You've never met any of the people you send e-mail to, even though you're related

8. You can recite your lineage back eight generations, but can't remember your nephew's name

7. You have more photographs of dead people than of living ones

6. You've even taken a tape recorder and/or notebook to a family reunion

5. You've not only read the latest GEDCOM standard, but also you understand it

4. The local genealogy society borrows books from you

3. The only film you've seen in the last year was the 1880 census index

2. More than half of your CD collection is made up of marriagerecords or pedigrees

1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted in more different places than Elvis!




(A mixture of English and Gronings. Can best be read by people who speak English and Gronings both. Read out loud)

Hay you door,

Well white wore the leather is?

Ice fast picked off lined

Kept all inned leaf do

Quite oak night vouna

Wise tooth wore die is?

Say cur well, I is indicate.

Oh door. Lake me all so roar tow.

More what aids to door young?

Mouse met era pulse an sea pulse, smogged best.

Leaked me oak well what tow.

Ate met than off aids to night now?

Say cur well, what dogs too then!



These are copies of actual correspondence received by the Family History Department.



Dear Ancestor


Your tombstone stands among the rest;

Neglected and alone.

The name and date are chiselled out

On polished, marbled stone.

It reaches out to all who care

It is too late to mourn.

You did not know that I exist

You died and I was born.

Yet each of us are cells of you

In flesh, in blood, in bone.

Our blood contracts and beats a pulse

Entirely not our own.


Dear Ancestor, the place you filled

One hundred years ago

Spreads out among the ones you left

Who would have loved you so.

I wonder if you lived and loved,

I wonder if you knew

That someday I would find this spot,

And come to visit you.



You know you are a Genealogy addict when....

.... You brake for libraries.

.... You hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery.

.... You would rather browse in a cemetery than a shopping mall.

.... You would rather read census schedules than a good book.

.... You are more interested in what happened in 1699 than in 1999.

.... Eenrum, Baflo and Groningen are household names, but you can't remember what to call the dog.

.... You store your clothes under the bed (or wear the same two outfits to save space), because your closet is full of books and papers.

.... All your correspondence begins with "Dear Cousin".

.... You have traced every one of your ancestral lines back to Adam and Eve, you have it documented and still don't want to quit.

.... Your most important social life is meeting people who you run into while searching a family line.

Isn't it the truth!!!


Do you have or find something that should be on this page too? Please mail it to:

With special thanks to Al Folkers (Canada), Nina Miller (Utah), Wim Zeeff (NL), Bob Velte, Anthony Hofstee (Canada), AnnMarie Freeman (NY State), Lex Bennink (NL), who all sent me some of these great poems and jokes!