Poems for genealogists! 

Where not attributed these have been acquired from the net

Edna Climbed the Family Tree
with apologies to Virginia Day McDonald, Macon, GA

There's been a change in Aunty Edna, we've noticed as of late
She's always reading history, or jotting down some date.
She's tracing back the family; we'll all have pedigrees,
Aunty Edna has a hobby; she's Climbing Family Trees

Poor Uncle Geoff does the cooking, and now, or so he states,
There's been a change in Aunty Edna, we've noticed as of late
He even has to wash the cups and the dinner plates.
Well, Aunty Edna can't be bothered; she's busy as a bee,
Compiling genealogy for the Family Tree.

She has not time to baby-sit, the curtains are a fright.
No buttons left on Geoff's shirt, the flowerbed's a sight.
She's given up her knitting, the serials on TV,
The only thing she does nowadays is climb the Family Tree.

The mail is all for Aunty Edna, it comes from far and wide.
Last week she got the proof she needs to start the 'other side'
A monumental project - to that we all agree,
A worthwhile avocation - to climb the Family Tree.

There were pioneers and patriots mixed with our kith and kin,
Who blazed the paths of wilderness and fought through thick and thin.
But none more staunch than Edna, whose eyes light up with glee,
Each time she finds a missing branch for the Family Tree.

To some it's just a hobby, to Aunty Edna it's much more.
She learns the joys and heartaches of those who went before.
They loved, they lost, they laughed, they wept -- and now for you and me,
They live again in spirit around the Family Tree.

At last, she's nearly finished, and we are each exposed.
Life will be the same again, this we all suppose.
Aunty Edna will cook and sew, serve tiffin with our tea.


Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where, or when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be passed away?
Make time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
The strangers in the box.

Our Ancestors

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row
Would you be proud of them or not
Or don't you really know?

Some strange discoveries are made
In climbing family trees
And some of them you know, do not
Particularly please.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
There might be some of them perhaps
You wouldn't care to know.

But there's another question, which
Requires a different view.
IF you could meet your ancestors
Would they be proud of YOU?

Author Unknown, Courtesy of Shanna Jones


'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.
The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and with letters which said

"Too bad about the data for which you wrote
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."
Stacks of old copies of wills and the such
Were proof that my work had become much too much.

Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.

Christmas was here, and of such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.
Had I not been so busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills.
While others had bought gifts that would bring Christmas cheer,
I'd spent my time researching those birthdates and years.
While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.

Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and I yanked up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.

Up to the housetop the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys, and 'ole Santa Claus, too.
And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.

The TV antenna was no match for their horns,
And look at our roof with hoof-prints adorned.
As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa--KER-RASH!

"Dear" Santa had some for the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet (I could wring his short neck!).
Spotting my face, good old Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy;
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.

He spied my research on the table all spread
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)
"Tonight I've met many like you," Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.

I gazed with amazement-the cover it read
"Genealogy Lines for which you have Plead."
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug,"
He said as he gave me a great Santa hug.

While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library."
"A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folks who can't find a thing.

Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.

While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family History is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"

(Author unknown)

The limbs that move, the eyes that see,
These are not entirely me;
Dead men and women helped to shape
The mould which I do not escape;
The words I speak, my written line,
These are not uniquely mine.
For in my heart and in my will
Old ancestors are warring still,
Celt, Roman, Saxon, and all the dead
From whose rich blood my veins are fed,
In aspect, gesture, voices, tone,
Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone;
In fields they tilled I plow the sod,
I walk the mountain paths they trod;
And round my daily steps arise
The good and bad of those I comprise.

by English author Richard Rolle, written over 600 years ago.

by Thedora Kroeber

When I am dead
Cry for me a little,
Think of me sometimes,
But not too much.

It is not good for you
Or for your children
To let your thoughts dwell
Too long on the dead.

Think of me now and again,
As I was in life,
At some moment
Which is pleasant to recall,
But not for long.

Leave me in peace
As I shall leave you, too,
In peace.
While you live,
Let your thoughts
Be with the living.


Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiselled out
On polished marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.

Author Unknown
Submitted by Bob Kelly


There's a hole inside of me,
It appeared some time ago...
The day my mother passed away.
Tell me, why'd she have to go?

I've tried to fill the hole up
With other family,
And I want to keep her memory alive,
So I started her family tree.

My search has brought me many kin
Who’ve helped to fill that hole,
But I realize now, there'll always be
An emptiness in my soul.

I guess that's just the way it is
With people and their mothers...
A special bond exists with them
That can't be matched by others.

How many times had I heard her say
"Someday I won't be here..." ?
I thought I'd always have her, though.
Now all I have is tears.

I know she's with HER mother now.
That's not what makes me sad.
It's that I never asked her about our past,
Now, too late, I want to know soooo bad.

So please, God, when you see my mom,
Give her all my love.
And tell ALL my kin that I'll see them again
When I join them up above.

In loving memory of Shirley Mae (Stanfill) Carey 1926 - 1991 by Pam Carey Durstock

Why I Am a Genealogist

I get the worst machine and turn the crank,
And watch the names go by,
My eyes bug out and I'll be frank,
I sometimes wonder why

And does it really make a damn,
If Becky married Tom or Sam?
Or sailed upon the sea?
The dusty books, the puzzled looks,
That's genealogy.

The census scrawl, the long lost mall,
The time I once had free,
When hours were spent,
In blessed sleep,
Not genealogy!

Once it was the football teams,
Or looking at the stars,
A fish to catch down by the stream,
And playing my guitar.

Now it's names galore and tales of yore,
And thou and thy and thee
The courthouse burned!
What have I learned?
That's genealogy.

But then I look at all the names,
In ordered files, forever claimed,
From time's dark clutch,
It isn't much,
My genealogy.

I know they're out there, calling me,
The names, the dates, the stories,
The lure of genealogy,
Is long lost love and glory.

You ask me why I cruise the Net,
And write for Rooters free,
I guess it's that I love the stuff,
This genealogy!

Randall Black Feb. 26, 1996

Just Folks

I am like him, so they say,
Who was dead before I came.
Cheeks and mouth and eyes of gray
Have been fashioned much the same.

I am like her, so they say,
Who was dead ere I was born,
And I walk the self-same way
On the paths her feet have worn.

There is that within my face
And the way I hold my head
Which seems strangely to replace
Those who long have joined the dead.

Thus across the distance far
In the body housing me
Both my great-grandparents are
Kept alive in memory.

Edgar A. Guest 1934


The way I walk I see my mother walking,
The feet secure and firm upon the ground.
The way I talk I hear my daughter talking
And hear my mother's echo in the sound.
The way she thought I find myself now thinking,
The generations linking
In a firm continuum of mind.
The bridge of immortality I'm walking,
The voice before me echoing behind.

by Dorothy Hilliard Moffatt
Courtesy: BettyAnn von Wallmenich

1 Liners

Pruning family trees is not allowed.

My family tree must be a pecan because it is full of nuts.

Genealogy is not fatal, but it is a grave disease.

My family tree needs more wood and less sap.

Life takes its toll, have exact change ready.

Old flamers never die; they just go to blazes.

Genealogists climb trees.

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
--George Bernard Shaw

Genealogy is relative

Genealogists do it with dead people

Genealogists don't die; they just lose their roots.

I don't do windows - I do genealogy

Having children is hereditary. If your parents hadn't had any, neither could you!

Genealogists never die; they just lose their census!

Genealogy, the only hobby where dead people can excite you!

Life is too short and you're dead too long!

Genealogist: one always in search of a good dead man.

Genealogists can make the dead talk.

Genealogists: the ancestrally challenged.

Genealogists Collect Dead Relatives

Hooked on Genealogy works for me!

I think that I shall never see, A finished genealogy

Genealogists just dig it

Genealogists do it for the memories.

Genealogists do it in the archives.

Genealogists do it off the record.

Genealogists do it with a will.

Old genealogists don't die, they just get filed away

Genealogist do it in Cemeteries!

What do you mean, genealogy is trivial? We're obsessed with the ISSUES!

Q: Why do genealogists die with smiles on their faces?
A: They know they're about to get one more date on their pedigree charts.

Genealogists do it backward!

Genealogists do it in trees.

Genealogists do it in court houses.

When tracing ancestors, please stay within the lines.

Why waste your money looking up your family tree, just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.-- Mark Twain

The fellow who leans on his family tree may never get out of the woods.

Every family tree has its sap.

Shake any family tree and your are bound to get a few nuts.

If your family tree doesn't fork? You might be a Redneck.. Jeff Foxworthy

A Family is

A family is a deeply rooted tree with branches of different strengths all receiving nourishment from an infinite source.
A family is where character is formed, values are learned, ethics are created and society is preserved.
A family is where all members contribute and share, cooperate and work, and accept their responsibilities towards the good of the group.
A Family is where holidays are celebrated with feasting, birthdays are acknowledged with gifts, and thoughts of days gone by are kept alive with fond remembrances.
A family is where each can find solace and comfort in grief, pleasure and laughter in joy, and kindness and encouragement in daily living.
A family is a haven of rest, a sanctuary of peace, and most of all, a harbour of love.

Manny Feldman

Beatitudes of a Family Genealogist

Blessed are the great-grandmothers, who hoarded newspaper clippings and old letters, For they tell the story of their time.
Blessed are all grandfathers who filed every legal document, For this provides proof.
Blessed are grandmothers who preserved family Bibles and diaries, For this is our heritage.
Blessed are fathers who elect officials that answer letters of inquiry, For--some--they are the only link to the past.
Blessed are mothers who relate family traditions and legends to the family, For one of her children will surely remember.
Blessed are the relatives who fill in family sheets with extra data, For them we owe the family history.
Blessed is any family whose members strive for the preservation of records, For theirs is a labour of love.
Blessed are the children who will never say, "Grandma, you have told that old story twice today."

Murphy's Laws of Family History

The keeper of the vital records you need will just have 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 copying machine.
That ancient photograph of four relatives, one of whom is your progenitor, carries the names of the other three.
Copies of old newspapers have holes, which occur only on maiden names.
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 three billion in the world famous Mormon archives in Salt Lake City.
Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.
The critical link in your family tree is named "Smith."

Genealogists' Disease

WARNING: This condition is very contagious to adults.
SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places.

Patient has a blank expression, sometimes deaf to spouse and children.
Has no taste for work of any kind except feverishly looking through records at libraries and Record Offices. Has compulsion to write letters. Swears at postman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins and remote, desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls, mumbles to self. Has strange faraway look in eyes.

TREATMENT: Medication is useless. Disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend Family History Workshops, subscribe to Genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner of the house where he, or she, can be alone.
The usual nature of the disease is - the sicker the patient gets, the more he, or she enjoys it..
H. J. Tucker Courtesy of: Marion Walter