Friday, December 2, 2011

100 Signs You're Addicted to Genealogy

You might be addicted to genealogy if:
  1. Every vacation includes at least one stop at a cemetery, library, courthouse and/or archives.
  2. Your doctor asks your family history and you ask how many generations back they want.
  3. Your kids can name more generations of ancestors than most adults.
  4. You've ever driven 100 miles out of your way because you hate to leave the state without stopping in where your ancestors once lived.
  5. You have more pictures of headstones than living people.
  6. Your ideal gift is a subscription to a genealogy website or publication, gift cards to bookstores or gas cards.
  7. You are a lifetime member of a genealogical society. Bonus points if you're a lifetime member of more than one.
  8. You've stalked the mailman because you're waiting for records to arrive.
  9. You regularly check obituaries and funeral home websites in the areas your ancestors lived to see if you recognize any family members.
  10. Your home is decorated with photos of ancestors, historic memorabilia and old maps of locations your ancestors lived in.
  11. You remember your 6th great grandmother's birthday, but forget your spouse's.
  12. Your family knows that "Just let me look at one more record" is code for "Mom's not cooking. Order pizza."
  13. You can find your 5th great grandfather's will easier than you can find the electric bill that needs to be paid.
  14. You know every cemetery within a 50 mile radius of your ancestor's hometown, but have to ask for directions to the hotel.
  15. You seriously consider moving to be closer to where your ancestors lived for easier access to records. Bonus points if you did it.
  16. A family member mentions someone died and you immediately ask how that person connects to the family tree.
  17. You know more about your ancestors than older relatives that actually met them do.
  18. You've joined a social networking site just to find relatives. Bonus points if it worked. Double bonus points if you got family pictures or a clue to a brick wall from it.
  19. You've logged more miles on your car visiting cemeteries than you have going to work.
  20. You've consider buying a microfilm/microfiche reader so you can spend more time researching and less time driving to the library. Bonus points if you actually did buy one.
  21. You have to buy another hard drive because your current one is completely full of genealogy files.
  22. You schedule major necessary surgery around your family reunion because you don't want to miss the opportunity to talk to older relatives.
  23. You start most letters with "You don't know me, but we're related through (common ancestor)."
  24. Your kids can spell genealogy before they can spell their name. Bonus points if it was their first word.
  25. Whenever you meet a new person with the same surname as one of your ancestors, you immediately ask them for their pedigree so you can figure out if you're related.
  26. You can pinpoint a tiny now extinct village on a map, but can't name the next town over from where you live.
  27. Librarians and town clerks know you by name.
  28. Your genealogy budget is bigger than your budget for household bills.
  29. You haven't checked your work email in a week, but you check your genealogy email hourly.
  30. You have your own keys to the local archives, library and courthouse.
  31. You have your own mailman.
  32. You've ever knocked on a stranger's door and asked permission to look around because an ancestor once lived there.
  33. Your internet home page is a genealogy website.
  34. You've ever solved a genealogical mystery found in a newspaper article.
  35. Your will gives all your property to the first person that solves your brick wall.
  36. You start planning for the next census release years in advance.
  37. You research a unique non-related surname just for fun.
  38. You talk more to dead relatives than you do the living ones.
  39. You haunt eBay, antique stores, yard sales and thrift stores for photos of your ancestors or items that once belonged to them.
  40. You beat the librarian to the library in the mornings.
  41. The librarians turn all genealogy help requests over to you because you know more than they do.
  42. You've traced your pet's pedigree.
  43. You look forward to marriages because it gives you more lines to research.
  44. Your personal library has only genealogy and local history books.
  45. You go on vacation to Europe not to see the Eiffel Tower or Buckingham Palace, but your ancestors' homeplaces.
  46. You know more about historical events than current ones.
  47. The only maps you own are historical ones.
  48. You buy local history and cemetery books from areas your ancestors never lived on the off chance you might discover one that did live there.
  49. You've invented a genealogy game.
  50. You get more excited over a sale at your favorite DNA testing center than a sale at the mall.
  51. You have more books about genealogy than the local library.
  52. You are offered your choice of items from a deceased relative's home and you put dibs on the box of miscellaneous papers from the attic.
  53. You've spent hours crisscrossing backroads to find the location of a forgotten cemetery.
  54. You visit the nursing home in your ancestor's hometown to see what the older residents might know about your family or the area's history.
  55. The labor and delivery nurse tells you that you need to put the computer down so you can push.
  56. Your calendar includes birthdays of ancestors long passed.
  57. You give your children unique names to make it easier for descendants to trace your family.
  58. Someone asks a question about family history and everyone recommends they talk to you.
  59. You fantasize about being locked in a library or archives overnight, or even better for a long weekend.
  60. You personally make up the budget deficit so the archives doesn't have to cut their hours.
  61. Politicians know you as the person who gets mad and tries to have them voted out of office when they suggest cutting the budget for the archives.
  62. You move to a new house and unpack your genealogy files before the kitchen stuff.
  63. Your car breaks down and you have to wait for a tow because your emergency kit consists of eye drops, sunscreen, a mirror, extra batteries for your camera and bug spray.
  64. You come home late with wrinkled clothes and mussed hair and your spouse knows you have been reading microfilm rather than having an affair.
  65. Your kids learned their letters from headstones.
  66. You get upset when people come to your genealogy blog via a search of an ancestor's name, but don't contact you.
  67. You've ever overslept because you were up all night researching.
  68. You've ever called in sick because you were hot on the trail of an ancestor and didn't want to stop.
  69. Your local library asks you for recommendations before adding any new genealogy books to their shelves.
  70. You can calculate a new relative's relation to you in your head without referring to your files.
  71. Your ideal genealogy technology tool would be a time machine so you can go back in time to talk to your ancestors and get all those burning questions answered.
  72. You've pestered relatives you've never met in person to do DNA testing. Bonus points if you succeeded.
  73. You recognize the names of ancient occupations.
  74. You can identify ancient diseases and their modern-day equivalents.
  75. You move into an old house and immediately start researching the history of not only the house, but also the families that have lived in it.
  76. You had to rent a storage unit, build an addition or move to a bigger house to contain all your genealogy files and books.
  77. You wish more of your ancestors were black sheep because that would mean more records for them.
  78. Your only interactions with live people are librarians, courthouse clerks and people on genealogy message boards.
  79. You know how to cite non-traditional items (i.e.-engraved spoons, quilts, etc).
  80. You go through withdrawals when your internet is down.
  81. Your child introduces you on Career Day as the person who studies dead people.
  82. You've ever got a speeding ticket because you wanted to get to an archives early.
  83. You're allergic to dust but take allergy medications so you can stay all day in a dusty courthouse.
  84. You've ever done the genealogy happy dance. Bonus points if you've recognized anyone else doing it.
  85. You never leave the house without a roll of quarters, pen, paper and your camera, just in case you get a chance to stop for some research.
  86. You know more about the area your ancestors lived than the current residents do.
  87. You weigh a non-essential purchase by how many vital records you will have to give up to get it.
  88. You know where all cemeteries within a 25 mile radius are even though none of your ancestors anywhere near where you live.
  89. You've ever met a cousin while requesting a lookup.
  90. You regard burned courthouses as a challenge, not an obstacle.
  91. New people are warned not to mention anything related to family history before they are introduced to you.
  92. Instead of running background checks on prospective dates, you check their family history.
  93. You find out after spending hundreds of dollars and several years of researching that your great-aunt knew the answer to your question all along, but you don't care because you love the thrill of the hunt.
  94. You have more movies than NetFlix and they're all about your family-recordings of family reunions, interviews with older relatives and home movies.
  95. You are jealous of other genealogists because they have family Bibles, handwritten letters and other family memorabilia while yours apparently didn't save anything.
  96. The pharmacist asks you to decipher the doctor's handwriting on your prescription because you're better at reading hard to read handwriting than he is.
  97. You've arranged to have a QR code put on your headstone that points to a perpetually maintained website with your genealogy so that anyone with a smartphone that visits your final resting place can learn about your family.
  98. You've been offered a job at a courthouse, archives or library because you know more about the holdings than the employees do.
  99. You can pinpoint the exact location of your ancestor's 18th century land patent. Bonus points if you've traveled there to see what it looks like now.
  100. You've read this entire list and more than half of it applies to you.
There is no cure for a genealogy addiction. Passing on your addiction is others is recommended.


    1. Well I just counted and I got 33 / 100 not too bad. I don't have kids yet but I'm now seriously considering following the 'advice' in number 57 :0)

      p.s. if anyone finds a time-machine can I borrow it? Thanks

    2. I love this! I am actually afraid of count how many apply to me. As for that time machine Carole mentioned? I'll ride along.

    3. What a hoot! Thanks so much. Gotta start working on that QR code.

    4. I love this list, but I didn't dare count points because I might end up on the "hopeless cause" list. I love the time machine idea, but I'd probably catch the plague or something and bring it back!

    5. This was fantastic. I laughed out loud (that laugh of embarrassed recognition!) at lots of them!

    6. Loved this! I laughed out loud, too, with recognition. Some I've done, some I plan to do :) (like move to where my ancestors lived...actually, move back home but the thought crossed my mind--easier access to records!) I like the QR code on the tombstone idea!

    7. Pleased to see that I'm not unique!

    8. Love, love, LOVE this list!!! We also laughed out loud at so many of the entries. Very proud to be part of the crazed group who love family history.

      Cheers to you,

    9. Excellent! You gave me some ideas on how I can expand my search!

    10. LOL! How many points do I get for all 100? You are right on the money! Congrats!

    11. Spot on! I wrote a short comedic film about it too. I'd love it if you would check it out!