(From an American viewpoint)


  1. Old newspapers only have holes where the names have been printed.
  2. You never asked your father about his family when he was alive because you weren't interested in genealogy then.
  3. The Will that you need is in a safe - aboard the "Titanic".
  4. The ancient photograph of four relatives, one of whom is your progenitor, has been endorsed with the names of the other three.
  5. Record Offices invariably celebrate your day off work, by closing for the day.
  6. No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, always rented property, was never sued, and was never named in Wills.
  7. Ink only fades if it is used to write in the family bible.
  8. You have just discovered that your Great Aunt Eliza's executor recently sold her life's collection of family genealogical materials at a car boot sale 'somewhere' in England.
  9. Yours is the only surname not to be found among the 4000,000,000 records held at the Mormon Archives in Salt Lake City.
  10. Your great-grandmother's maiden name, for which you have searched for more than ten years, was on a letter in a box in the attic all the time.
  11. The critical link in your family tree is named "Smith"
  12. Your Great Grandfather's obituary clearly states that he died leaving no issue.
  13. The 189 volume, ninety two thousand page history of your country of origin isn't indexed.
  14. The town clerk to whom you wrote in desperation, and who you finally convinced to release the information that you need, can't write legibly and doesn't have a photocopier.
  15. The document containing the evidence of the missing link in your family tree will invariably have been lost due to fire, flood or war.
  16. 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.
  17. The spelling of your European Ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.
  18. Your paternal grandfather says that his middle name comes from the matron of the orphanage on whose doorstep he was found as a baby.
  19. Paper deteriorates at a rate directly proportional to the value of the data recorded on it.
  20. Another Genealogist will just have insulted the Archivist who has the records that you want.
  21. You've just been told that Great Uncle Henry never wrote anything down because he had a memory 'like a filing cabinet' - and that he died last week.
  22. Grandfather says that his Ancestors came from a town somewhere in Poland - he can't remember the name but he thinks it had some Cs and some Zs in it.
  23. The cure for the family's inherited hydrophobia was not found until the year 1838.
  24. Your ancestors have always tried very hard to uphold the more important of the family's traditions - such as going on holiday during census week for example.
  25. The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated, and at which the platform collapsed under him, turned out to be a hanging.
  26. When at last, after much hard research work, you have solved the mystery you have been working on for several years, your aunt says, "I could have told you that".

[Various - 1999]


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