Barbed Wire Just For Fun Barbed Wire

Anyone who has been at their genealogical research for any amount of time has come across "Goodies" in the form of poetry, jokes, or even hilarious diatribes lamenting ancestors who must have come from outer space. I have created a page here for some of those that I find particularly amusing or moving. I hope that you enjoy these as much as I do.

If you have come across something you would like to see here, please Email the submission to me, along with the author's name and contact information, if known.

Enjoy! ---Susan


I started out calmly, tracing my tree,
To find, if I could, the making of me;
And all that I had was great grandfather's name,
Not knowing his wife or from which 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;
I'd proved that poor 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 found the old man was as young as his son.

Then, when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.
But the facts I collected made me quite sad,
Dear old great grandpa was never a dad.

I think maybe someone is pulling my leg,
I'm not all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg,
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree,
I cannot help but wonder if I'm really me.

Author Unknown
I search for you yet do not even know your name
I press on praying my efforts will prove fruitful
the records do not list you or the other women who
have lived and loved and laughed, gave birth, and died,
the records perpetrate the myth that you were never here
but I stand whole and bare my soul
and vow to find you as I live

I search for you in old records, in churches, at the Embassy,
in small dimly lit rooms
in the back of obscure libraries and archives
and pour over barely readable handwritten ledgers
with magnifying glass and flashlight
I live on mainly toast these days
there isn't time for meals or much sleep
feeling as I always do, on the very brink of discovery

Perhaps THIS will be the day I find the one
seemingly insignificant clue, which will lead me to you
although I did not find you listed in the Census Records
I am not deterred, you may turn up yet,
on an Immigration or Naturalization list somewhere perhaps,
or maybe tucked away inside some bank of vital statistics,
long forgotten like so many others,
your name having become lost over the long years

Your name could be lying even now
amidst the millions of documents stored and locked away
safeguarded in the bowels of a giant warehouse
all stopped up from apathetic crowds
who have long ceased their visits
your precious name, lying just inside
a myriad of records packed in tight, packed in to stay
never guessing I would come

© Sarah Elizabeth Rose
Reprinted with permission of the Author

(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.

  • You may have come from : England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales....or Iran.
  • You may have American Indian ancestry of the______tribe......
  • 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.

There is a new disease these days for which there is no cure.
So, if it gets a grip on you "You've had it," that's for sure.
This genealogitis, at least that's what I call it,
has no known vaccination that can ever quite forestall it.
It strikes the rich, it strikes the poor. The old and young alike,
and every nation feels it's sting, when the bug makes a strike.
In fact, I'm struck with it myself, I know whereof I speak,
this stuff has kept progressing 'till it almost makes me weak.
Some symptoms of this dread disease are buying old books,
and, you'll find yourself in graveyards and dusty attic nooks.
You write all kinds of letters for no stone is left unturned.
Sometimes, for only postage stamps, a gold mine is returned.
Just let me say, in closing, that when all is said and done,
this malady has brought me joy and such a lot of fun.

Ruby Price, from: Oklahoma Yesterday Vol. II. No. 2, Summer 1978
  • Undocumented genealogy is mythology
  • My ancestors must have been in a "Witness Protection Program"
  • My family tree must have been used for firewood!
  • Whoever said "Seek and ye shall find" was not a genealogist
  • Am I the only person up my tree?
  • Seems like it I'm not stuck -- I'm ancestrally challenged
  • I researched my family tree... apparently I don't exist!
  • Why are there so many gnarled limbs on my family tree?
  • I'm stuck in my family tree.....and I can't get down!
  • My husband has started calling cemeteries "Ancestor Farms"
  • To a genealogist, EVERYTHING is relative!
Remember when our grandparents, great-grandparents, and such stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 Salina, KS, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS and reprinted by the Salina Journal.
8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, 1 hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. per bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No.33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 6 ft. long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800,1849, & 1865

Orthography (Time, 1 hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, 1 hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall, and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

Gives the saying of an early 20th century person that they only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning!

Barbed Wire

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