Friday, July 25, 2008

20 Things That Make Genealogy Fun

This is intended to be a bunch of silly nonsense. So please don't take it too seriously.
  1. In Germany all the women are named Anna Maria and all the men are named Johann. This was done to confuse genealogists.

  2. In Mexico all the women are named Maria and all the men are named Juan. This was done to confuse genealogists.

  3. In Ireland all the women are named Mary and all the men are named James Patrick O'Connor. This was done for "fun in the pub."

  4. In New Mexico the "Kevin Bacon Game" is called the "Juan Baca Game." No one knows who Juan Baca was, but everyone in New Mexico can trace their ancestors to him.

  5. In Boston the "Kevin Bacon Game" is called the "James Patrick O'Connor Game." And you're only allowed to play with a Boston accent. For tips on fine tuning your Boston accent see the Academy Award winning Martin Scorsese film, the Depahhted.

  6. The record you need is always at the end of the microfilm roll.

  7. The records at the beginning of the roll are clear and easy to read with beautiful penmenship. By the time you scroll to the end of the roll where the record you need is located, everything is a blurry mess.

  8. Oh nevermind. They're gonna digitize all of it soon anyway, right?

  9. You actually know what M237 means. You freak.

  10. All of your ancestors settled in Chicago. Whenever you can't find something about them you curse Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

  11. That same cow is probably responsible for the loss of the 1890 census.

  12. Stupid cow.

  13. You wonder why a non-profit religious organization can distribute National Archives microfilm better than the National Archives.

  14. You wish the founding fathers had thought up Social Security so the Social Security Death Index would begin around, oh, 1780 or so.

  15. When someone first tells you their last name you immediately convert it into a Soundex code. This kind of behavior is so not normal. Er wait a minute, since everything has been/will be digitized we don't need Soundex codes anymore, right?

  16. Your ancestors did not swim to America.

  17. You are not a Cherokee princess.

  18. None of your ancestors knew Jesse James.

  19. But my Apache princess ancestor knew Billy the Kid.

  20. So yeah, my ancestors are cooler than yours. Well of course everyone thinks that... Ok, number 19 is not really true.
Your ancestors really did swim to America. Perhaps alongside one of these ships: Finding Passenger Lists 1820-1940s (arrivals at US Ports)

Your ancestors are named Anna Maria and Johann. You'll love it here: German Roots: German Genealogy Resources

Your ancestors are named Mary and James Patrick O'Connor: Irish Genealogy Resources

You've been playing the "Juan Baca Game..." New Mexico Genealogy Resources

Don't know what M237 means? You do now... National Archives Microfilm Publication M237: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1820-1897, which of course, has been digitized.

The Fate of the 1890 Census Stupid cow!

This is a revised and reduced version of my original "25 Things that Make Genealogy Fun" list. So yeah basically I stole this from myself. Please don't bother with the original one. Note lack of link.


Miriam Robbins said...

No. 21: Your immigrant ancestor was not one of three brothers who came to America, then had a falling out and changed the spelling of his last name.


Loved the list...thanks for the laughs!

Anonymous said...

You forgot:

21. Your ancestor with 21 children only used 5 names for them, and they each used the same 5 names for their children.

22. The census taker only used initials. (see 21 and the Christian County, KY census)

Michelle said...

I loved this list! What about the name Rose/Rosa or Michael O'Connor?


Anonymous said...

Add this to the list too: All the men had different first names, but the family all called them by their middle names, which never show up on a census.

Carolyn Paul Branch said...

Thanks for the laughs! But even more - thanks for all the great genealogy tips and links that actually work.

I know how much work it is since I started my Paul Family Research blog.


footnoteMaven said...



18. None of your ancestors knew Jesse James.

Knew Frank, were related to Jesse's wife. Can't come from Missouri without that 6 degrees of separation from Old Jesse.

True or not!


Joe said...

fM: Cool! Hey wait a minute, I was born in Missouri. Hmm... :)

Robert Baca said...

I know who Juan Baca was! He was the father of Cristobal Baca. He also lived in Mexico. Other than that, neither I, nor anyone else on the planet, knows anything else about him - including his spouse's name.

I'm descended from Juan Baca about 100 times. Is it any wonder that I don't have blue skin?

Anonymous said...

Hey thats a funny post...Cracked up over point 4 "Kevin Bacon game"

Anonymous said...

Your ancestor had 21 children, of which 8 died. When one of the children would die, the parents would name the next child born the same name as the child that just died.

You think you have found someone...and nope, it's not them...

or gravestone....or no names on gravestone...or just a rock to mark their grave, or can't find their graves at all...except for the fact the "old" map shows a cemetery right under a house or building!!

And Gregorian/Julian (?) dating. Now, what year was it?

Anonymous said...

If I tell my husband one more time, "I'm related to ... ________" he's gonna go crazy. He doesn't want to hear it anymore! When I start talking about genealogy/graves/history...his eyes get this glazed over look, simular to a donut hole! HA!

Anonymous said...


Great post! In my German town, the women were all Anna Maria or, just for kicks, Maria Anna. But the men were Joseph. It sounds original from all the Johann towns, until you realize that every guy is named Joseph. LOL


Miriam Robbins said...

This week I tried to find my Ida Charlotta Gustavson, born 28 October 1861 in the birth and christening records of a little parish in Sweden. There were NINE Ida Charlottas born that year, and the one with the last name Gustafson has the wrong birth date!

Joe said...

Miriam, So I guess I need to add: "In Sweden all the men are named Bjorn and all the women are named Ida Charlotta. Or perhaps they're all named after members of ABBA." :)

Marsyl said...

Stupid Cow indeed!!! and maybe add:
Two brothers sold out and moved from New England out "west". One stopped in ? and the other went to ?. (Ever since Cain and Abel, I guess!)