Friday, August 20, 2010

Laws of Genealogy

I did not write this but I thought it was too funny not to share~

Laws of Genealogy

The keeper of the vital records you need will have just been insulted by another genealogist.

Your great-grandfather's obituary states that he died, leaving no issue of record.

The town clerk you wrote to in desperation, and finally convinced to give you the information you need, can't write legibly, and doesn't have a copy machine.

That ancient photograph of four relatives, one of whom is your progenitor, only carries the names of the other three.

Copies of old newspapers have holes which occur only on maiden and surnames.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, always rented property, was never sued, and was never named in wills.

You learned that Great Aunt Matilda's executor just sold her life's collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer "somewhere in New York City."

Yours is the ONLY last name not found among the billions in the LDS archives in Salt Lake City.

Your folks hated government and never filled out forms.

Your families never had attics, much less Bibles or boxes full of photos.

All real library "finds" are made five minutes before closing, when the copier is broken.

The correctly shelved books and correctly filed forms are never the ones you need.

The person sitting next to you at the research center is finding ancestors every five minutes...and telling you.

Your microfilm reader is the one that squeaks, has to be turned backwards, and doesn't quite focus.

Your cemeteries have no caretaker or records archive.

Alternate spellings and arcane names were your folks' favorite pasttimes.

Your ancestors only knew three names, and used them over and over in every collateral line.

Your sister neglects to mention that the date she gave you, which you have researched, and sent to other researchers, was just a guess with no foundation, and she guessed because she "didn't like leaving that line blank."

Your mother neglects to mention that, "Oh, yes, we knew they changed their name.

The critical link in your family tree is named "Smith."

The will you need is in the safe on board the "Titanic".

The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciaiton.

The 37 volume, sixteen-thousand-page history of your county of origin isn't indexed.

The blot on the page of the census covers your grandmother's birthdate!

Your ancestor's will leaves his estate to his beloved wife and children but he doesn't name them.

The only overturned, face-down gravestone in the cemetery is your great-great grandfather's!

You finally find your ancestor's obituary in an old newspaper and all it says is "Died last week."

You finally get a day off from work to travel to a courthouse -- and when you get there it's closed for emergency plumbing repairs.

Genealogy Law #1
Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversley proportional to the value of the data recorded.

Genealogy Law #2
Anything that could have burned, did.

Genealogy Law #3
The census taker with the clear handwriting and good ink never enumerated your ancestors.

Genealogy Law #4
If you find a well-documented, illustrious ancestor, you've probably made a mistake.

Genealogy Law #5
The document containing evidence of the missing link in your research invariably will be lost due to fire, flood or war.

Genealogy Law #6
The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciaiton.

Genealogy Law #7
The information you desperately need could be only found in the 1890 census.

Genealogy Law #8
The e-mail address that bounces is the one from a person who listed your exact names. If you find a working address, you aren't related.

Genealogy Law #9
The book you need is never indexed, or, if indexed, doesn't include people.