A Genealogist's Prayer
Lord, help me dig into the past
And sift the sands of time
That I might find the roots that made
This family tree of mine.
Lord, help me trace the ancient roads
On which my fathers trod,
And led them through so many lands
To find our present sod.
Lord, help me find an ancient book
Or dusty manuscript,
That's safely hidden now away
In some forgotten crypt.
Lord, let it bridge the gap that haunts
My soul when I can't find,
The missing link between some name
That ends the same as mine.
Genealogy begins as an interest,
Becomes a hobby;
Continues as an avocation,
Takes over as an obsession,
And in its last stages,
Is an incurable disease.
From "Dear Abby"
Dear Abby: I have always wanted
to have my family history traced,
but I can't afford to spend a lot of
money to do it. Any suggestions?
~ Sam in California ~
Dear Sam: Yes. Run for public office.
Tracing My Tree
I started out calmly, tracing my tree,
To find if I could find the makings of me.
And all that I had was Great-grandfather's name,
not knowing his wife or from where he came.
I chased him across a long line of states,
And came up with pages and pages of dates.
When all put together, it made me forlorn,
Proved poor Great-grandpa had never been born.
One day I was sure the truth I had found,
Determined to turn this whole thing upside down.
I looked up the record of one Uncle John,
But then I found the old man to be younger than his son.
Then when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.
The facts I collected made me quite sad,
Dear old Great grandfather was never a Dad.
I think someone is pulling my leg,
I am not at all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg.
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree,
I can't help but wonder if I'm really me..
Found on Roots-l
Census Taker: "Good morning, madam, I'm taking the census."
Old Lady: "The what?"
Census Taker: "The c-e-n-s-u-s!"
Old Lady: "For lans sakes! What with tramps takin' everythin' they kin lay their han's on, young folks takin' fotygrafs of ye without so much as askin', an' impudent fellows comin' roun' as wants ter take yer senses, pretty soon there won't be nothin' left ter take, I'm thinkin'."
--1890 Harper's Weekly
|There was a great loss today in the entertainment world. The man who wrote the song "Hokey Pokey" has died. What was really horrible is that they had trouble putting the body in the casket.|
They'd put his left leg in... well, you know the rest.
How to confuse your descendants
|(1) Thou shalt name your male children: James, John, Joseph, Josiah, Abel, Richard, Thomas, William.
(2) Thou shalt name your female children: Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Maria, Sarah, Ida, Virginia, May.
(3) Thou shalt leave NO trace of your female children.
(4) Thou shalt, after naming your children from the above lists, call them by strange nicknames such as: Ike, Eli, Polly, Dolly, Sukey.---making them difficult to trace.
(5) Thou shalt NOT use any middle names on any legal documents or census reports, and only where necessary, you may use only initials on legal documents.
(6)Thou shalt learn to sign all documents illegibly so that your surname can be spelled, or misspelled, in various ways: Hicks, Hicks, Hix, Hixe, Hucks, Kicks.
(7) Thou shalt, after no more then 3 generations, make sure that all family records are lost, misplaced, burned in a court house fire, or buried so that NO future trace of them can be found.
(8) Thou shalt propagate misleading legends, rumors, & vague innuendo regarding your place origination.
(A) you may have come from : England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales....or Iran.
(B) you may have American Indian ancestry of the______tribe......
(C) You may have descended from one of three brothers that came over from______
(9) Thou shalt leave NO cemetery records, or headstones with legible names.
(10) Thou shalt leave NO family Bible with records of birth, marriages, or deaths.
(11) Thou shalt ALWAYS flip thy name around. If born James Albert, thou must make all the rest of thy records in the names of Albert, AJ, JA, AL, Bert, Bart, or Alfred.
(12) Thou must also flip thy parent's names when making reference to them, although "Unknown" or a blank line is an acceptable alternative.
(13) Thou shalt name at least 5 generations of males, and dozens of their cousins with identical names in order to totally confuse researchers.
Be careful what you inscribe on a tombstone. Here are some funny ones!
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767
Russell J. Larsen buried in Logan, Ut.
Two things I love most,
good horses and beautiful women,
And when I die I hope they tan this old hide of mine
and make it into a ladies riding saddle,
So I can rest in peace
between the two things I love
In Memory of Beza Wood
Departed this life
Nov. 2, 1837
Aged 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in wood
The outer wood
Is very good:
We cannot praise
When the great judgement day arrives
and Joshua Fenton Newton does not emerge from this hole,
you will know that someone made a mistake
and buried me in the wrong hole.
From La Pointe, Wis.
To the Memory of Abraham Beaulieu
Born 15 September 1822
Accidentally shot 4th April 1844
As a mark of affection from his brother.
From Burlington Vt.
She lived with her husband fifty years
And died in the confident hope of a better life.
Here lies my wife:
Here let her lie!
Now she's at rest
And so am I.
Here Lies Mary Smith
Silent At Last
Don't go alone when transcribing cemeteries!!!
- A woman in KY, an avid cemetery hunter did what no gal should do.
- She had heard about a cemetery in the woods long sought after and went
- by herself . It was way off the beaten path. She found the cemetery
- and was getting ready to mark the names and dates down when she
heard a click on either side of her. She was on her hands and knees.
- She looked up and saw a fellow on either side of her with a rifle, cocked.
- In her excitement, she had been pulling up grass and weeds to clear the
stones. When she glanced down, she saw what she had been pulling ... their
"crop" ready for harvesting - the illegal type of hemp! Thinking quickly
(and likely praying a lot!) she turned on the tears and said "Oh, I hope
I'm not trespassing ... I'm just so happy .... THERE'S GRANDPA!" "I've
hunted for his grave for years (sob, sob), and there he is, oh Grandpa!"
They took one look at her and just walked away. Never go cemetery hunting
alone!!! By the way, she didn't have the foggiest idea of who was buried
there, but bet her real grandpa was proud of her!
- Author: Sandi Gorin
I can see this happening at a genealogist's grave.....
Two men were walking home after a party and decided to take a
shortcut through the cemetery just for laughs. Right in the middle of
the cemetery they were startled by a tap-tap-tapping noise coming
from the misty shadows. Trembling with fear, they found an old man
with a hammer and chisel, chipping away at one of the headstones.
"Holy cow, Mister," one of them said after catching his breath, "You
scared us half to death -- we thought you were a ghost! What are you
doing working here so late at night?"
"Those fools!" the old man grumbled. "They misspelled my name!"
Shame, Shame, Shame
A man placed some flowers on the grave of his dearly departed mother and started back toward his car when his attention was diverted to another man kneeling at a grave. The man seemed to be praying with profound intensity and kept repeating,
"Why did you have to die? Why did you have to die?" The first man approached him and said, "Sir, I don't wish to interfere with your private grief, but this demonstration of pain is more than I've ever seen before. For whom do you mourn so deeply? A child? A parent?"
The mourner took a moment to collect himself, then replied ................."My wife's first husband."
A guy was known among his friends to be very brief and to the point...he
really never said too much.
One day, a saleswoman promoting a certain brand of brushes knocked on his door and asked to see his wife, so the guy told her that she wasn't home.
"Well," the woman said, "could I please wait for her?"
The man directed her to the drawing room and left her there for more than three hours.
After feeling really worried, she called out for him and asked, "May I know where your wife is?"
" She went to the cemetery," he replied.
"And when is she coming home?"
"I don't really know," he said. "She's been there eleven years now."
The Good Old Days
Life in the 1500's
Discover how some of today's sayings and customs originated.
You will be surprised!
Most people got married in June. Why? They took their yearly bath in May. In June, they were still smelling pretty good but were starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide their body odor.
When they took a bath, they would fill a big tub with hot water. The man of the house would get the privelige of the nice clean water. Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all, the babies. By that time the water was pretty thick.....thus the saying; "don't trhow the baby out with the bath water."
The water was so dirty, you could actually lose someone in it.
A Little about the houses........
Most of the houses had a thatch roof. Thatch meant thick straw, piled high with no wood underneath. Little animals would get in the thatch roof to stay warm. All the cats, dogs, mice, rats, bugs and other small animals lived in the roof. When it rained, it became slippery and wet 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. 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. Hence..."4 poster beds with canopies".
Most houses had dirt floors. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt....thus the saying; "dirt poor"
Wealthy people had slate floors but in the winter they would get slippery when they got wet. To solve this problem, thye started spreading thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they would just keep adding more thresh until when they 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 hang a big kettle over the fire. Every day they would light the fire and start adding things to the pot. Mostly they ate vegetables and didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, they leave the leftovers in the pot to get cold over night and then start all 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 would get their hands on some pork. This was a special occasion. When company would come over, they had a rack in the parlor where they would bring out some bacon and hang it up to show it off. It was a sign of wealth and that a man could really "bring home the bacon". They would cut off a little to share with their guests and they would all sit around and "chew the fat"
If you had money, your plates were made of pewter. Sometimes food with a high acid content caused lead to 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 had trenchers. Trenchers were pieces of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often times, worms would get into the wood. After eating from the trencher with worms, they would get "trench mouth".
If you were traveling and stayed an an Inn, they usually served bread. The bread was divided according to status. The workers would get the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle and the guests would get the top or "upper crust".
A little about death.......
They also had lead cups and when they would drink ale or whiskey from them, the combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. This caused people to think they were dead. They would pick them up, take them home and get them ready to bury. They would lay them out on the kitchen table for a couple of days, the family would gather around to eat, drink and wait to see if they would wake up. Thus the custom of holding a "wake".
Since England is so old and small, they started running out of places to bury people. So, they started digging up coffins, taking the bones out and reusing the graves. This is when they discovered that some of the coffins had scratch marks on the inside. One out of 25 coffins were this way and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they decided they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin, 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. Thus the saying "graveyard shift". If the bell would ring they would know that someone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer"