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 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 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 effect 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.
The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated and at which the platform collapsed under him turned out to be a hanging.
When at last after much hard work you have solved the mystery you have been working on for two years, your aunt says, "I could have told you that"
You grandmother's maiden name that you have searched for for four years was on a letter in a box in the attic all the time.
You never asked your father about his family when he was alive because you weren't interested in genealogy then.
The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.
Copies of old newspapers have holes occurring only on the surnames.
John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as the family progenitor, died on board ship at age 10.
Your great grandfather's newspaper obituary states that he died leaving no issue of record.
The keeper of the vital records you need has just been insulted by a another genealogist.
The relative who had all the family photographs gave them all to her daughter who has no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.
The only record you find for your great grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff's sale for insolvency.
The one document that would supply the missing link in your dead-end line has been lost due to fire, flood or war.
The town clerk to whom you wrote for the information sends you a long handwritten letter which is totally illegible.
The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.
None of the pictures in your recently deceased grandmother's photo album have names written on them.
No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, owned property, was sued or was named in wills.
You learn that your great aunt's executor just sold her life's collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer "somewhere in New York City."
Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.
The 37 volume, sixteen thousand page history of your county of origin isn't indexed.
You finally find your great grandparent's wedding records and discover that the brides' father was named John Smith.
[For the following, insert your state/county of choice]
Your distinguished ancestor, related to the governor of Victoria, turns out to be the caterer who once cooked dinner for him.
Your distinguished ancestor who was 1. Secretary of the Mint 2. Brought out from England to be the first accountant for the Sandhurst railway Victoria, turns out to be a clerk in the railways.
Your distinguished ancestor who was well educated, went to Heidelberg University and spoke several languages, shows up in the census as an apprentice to a German silversmith, in Hereford no less!
My contribution ... You finally find the birth of your ancestor, only to find they were born before their parents.
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.
== Author Unknown
I saw a duck the other day.
It had the feet of my Aunt Faye.
Then it walked, was heading South.
It waddled like my Uncle Ralph.
And when it turned, I must propose,
Its bill was formed like Aunt Jane's nose.
I thought, "Oh, no! It's just my luck,
Someday I'll look just like a duck!"
I sobbed to Mom about my fears,
And she said, "Honey, dry your tears.
You look like me, so walk with pride.
Those folks are all from Daddy's side."
There's been a change in Grandma, we've noticed her of late.
She always reading history or jotting down some date.
She's tracking back the family, we'll all have pedigrees.
Oh, Grandma's got a hobby - she's climbing the FAMILY TREE.
Poor Grandpa does the cooking, and now, or so he states,
That worst of all, he has to wash the cups and dinner plates.
Grandma can't be bothered, she busy as a bee,
Compiling genealogy for the FAMILY TREE.
She has no time to babysit, the curtains are a fright,
No buttons left on Grandpa's shirt, the flower bed's a sight.
She's given up her club work and the soaps on TV,
the only thing she does nowadays is climb the FAMILY TREE.
She goes down to the courthouse and studies ancient lore,
We know more about our forebears than we ever knew before.
The books are old and dusty, they make poor Grandma sneeze,
A minor irritation when you're climbing the FAMILY TREE.
The mail is all for Grandma, it comes from near and far,
Last week she got the proof she needs to join the D.A.R.
A monumental project all do agree,
All from climbing up the FAMILY TREE.
Now some folks came from Scotland, some from Galway Bay,
Some were French as pastry, some German all the way.
Some went West to stake there claims, some stayed there by the sea.
Grandma hopes to find them all, as she climbs the FAMILY TREE.
She wanders through the graveyard in search of date and name,
The rich, the poor, the in-between, all sleeping there the same.
She pauses now and then to rest, fanned by a gentle breeze,
That blows above the Fathers of all our FAMILY TREES.
There are pioneers and patriots, mixed in our kith and kin,
Who blazed the paths of wilderness and fought through thick and thin.
But none more staunch than Grandma, who eyes light up with glee,
Each time she finds a missing branch for the FAMILY TREE.
Their skills were wide and varied, from carpenter to cook,
And one, alas, the records show, was hopelessly a crook.
Blacksmith, weaver, farmer, judge - some tutored for a fee.
Once lost in time, now all recorded on the FAMILIY TREE.
To some it's just a hobby, to Grandma it's much more,
She learns the joys and heartaches of those that went before.
They loved, they lost, they laughed, they wept - and now,for you and me,
They live again in spirit, around the FAMILY TREE.
At last she's nearly finished and we are each exposed
, Life will be the same again, this we all supposed.
Grandma will cook and sew, serve cookies with our tea.
We'll all be fat, just as before the wretched FAMILY TREE.
Sad to relate, the preacher called and visited for a spell.
We talked about the Gospel, and other things as well.
The heathen folk, the poor and then - twas fate, it had to be,
Somehow the conversation turned to Grandma and the FAMILY TREE.
He never knew his Grandpa, his mother's name was..... Clark?
He and Grandma talked and talked, outside it grew dark.
We'd hoped our fears were groundless, but just like some disease,
Grandma's become an addict - she's hooked on FAMILY TREES.
Our souls are filled with sorrow, our hearts sad with dismay.
Our ears could scarce believe the words we heard our Grandma say,
"It sure is a lucky thing that you have come to me,
I know exactly how it's done, I'll climb your FAMILY TREE.
It's nice to come from gentle folks
Who wouldn't stoop to brawl,
Who never took a lusty poke
At anyone at all.
Who never raised a raucous shout
At any country inn,
Or calmed an ugly fellow lout
With a belaying pin.
Who never shot at a revenuer
Hunting for a still,
Who never rustled cattle
and agreed with Uncle's will.
Who lived life as they ought
without uncouth distraction,
And shunned like leprosy a thought
of taking legal action.
It's nice to come from gentle folks
Who've never known disgrace
But oh, though scandal is no joke
It's far easier to trace!