Wednesday, November 5, 2014

You might be a genealogist if...

How many of you are fans of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if…” comedy routine? Okay, I am probably revealing my own ancestral background. LOL! But how about adapting it for genealogy? As you might imagine, I am not the first one to think of this.  But here is my list:

You might be a genealogist if...

·           Your children fling their arms out the car window yelling “Cemetery!” every time you pass one.
·        You have a room in your house dedicated to family history files. 
    You troll Amazon listings looking for the latest genealogy books.
·        You have a poster-sized family tree chart hanging on your wall.
·        Your vacations are planned around family research trips.
·        You have had your DNA tested.
·        You have stayed up half the night looking for "just one more record!"
·        You know the two letter abbreviation for every US state.
·        You know every county in your state.
·        You know how to use 6 different types of microfilm machines.
·        You have already written your own obituary. And the obituaries of all your closest family members.
·        You know which channels, nights and times Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots  are on.
·        You cry at the end of every episode of Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots .
·        You know that genealogy is an addiction. And you don’t care!
And finally…

 Feel free to add your own!


Anonymous said...

You feel pride and empowered standing on "ancestral family land", even if it hasn't been your family's property for over a century.

Your kid dresses up as Kentucky volunteer infantry -not a British officer with snappy jacket and gold braid- after rifling through the reenactment clothes at the battle memorial museum.

You learn another language -or learn to read archaic/bad handwriting- to be able to read church and court documents because you don't have access to or trust the digital transcripts.

You take for granted a lot of the history you've picked up along the way. i.e. You take for granted that everyone knows English parishes were legally obligated to pay for the basic needs of their resident poor under the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601, or pay for passage to ship their poor overseas to pursue better employment and settlement opportunities.

You aren't offended when you learn your ancestors participated in unsavory activities. That's history. But you are proud, touched and inspired by their great moments. That's personal. It is in your blood, and now you know, no one can take it from you.

You spend most of your time at family reunions and holidays recording names on old photographs and writing down stories before the really old people kick it and the history is lost forever. You devote the rest of your time toward discussing which side of the family the kids resemble most.

You hope to find county records under the Christmas tree. Every year.

You wish shows like Who Do You Think You Are and Finding Your Roots had a "Making of" after-show hosted by the team of behind-the-scenes genealogists as they reveal just how much work went into each episode.

You'd rather find an elusive record for someone else than eat lunch on your lunch break.

Helping someone else research is therapy for when your own research has left you burnt out.

You feel lucky after finding a bizarre family name that didn't get recycled when you were born and suddenly the infamous celebrity baby names of the new millennium seem tame by comparison.

You get frustrated with the inadequacies of 'senior' and 'junior' when you've hit the eighth duplicate name in a male lineage. You grit your teeth when they all had the same profession and never moved location, further preventing a way to identify one from another. You start throwing a fit when even their wives' names are identical. You weigh your options: feed the compulsion to keep going under the hope that eventually you'll find the end of the name-train or switch your research over to another lineage out of spite and a sense that you can punish your ancestors for pissing off their genealogist.

You believe when you research, people and stories are waiting to be found, that they WANT to be found.

You might NOT be a genealogist if you subscribe to Ancestry, steal someone else's research, never check your sources, connect your family tree to someone incredibly famous/royal within a 24 hour period and then proceed to brag to everyone about your long and illustrious family pedigree. You might be on the pretentious end of the white trash spectrum. Or a Nazi. You might be both. If so, I have a great opportunity that might interest you. Do you want to buy a copy of your family crest? It comes with information on what all the colors and symbols mean. You can frame it and hang it over your fireplace.

Anonymous said...

My name is Francis Stuart of Oberlin, Ohio. This is the first time I received info of this blog. Really enjoy it. The newest article about Joseph Reno was very interesting. I have tried to contact a family member related to the Reno family. He posted this story about a family entitled Grandma Reno's Story at this address:
Thanks for the blog.

Kat said...

Thanks for the additional information Francis. I have seen two different versions of the infomration you shared. I didn't include it in the blog because the focus was on Joseph.