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MURPHY'S LAW FOR GENEALOGISTS
From the Internet
- The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor
participated and at which the platform collapsed under him
turned out to be a hanging.
- When at last after much hard work you have solved the
mystery you have been working on for two years, your aunt
says, "I could have told you that"
- You grandmother's maiden name that you have searched for for
four years was on a letter in a box in the attic all the
- You never asked your father about his family when he was
alive because you weren't interested in genealogy then.
- The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.
- Copies of old newspapers have holes occurring only on the
- John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim
as the family progenitor, died on board ship at age 10.
- Your great grandfather's newspaper obituary states that he
died leaving no issue of record.
- The keeper of the vital records you need has just been
insulted by another genealogist.
- The relative who had all the family photographs gave them
to her daughter who has no interest in genealogy and no
inclination to share.
- The only record you find for your great grandfather is that
his property was sold at a sheriff's sale for insolvency.
- The one document that would supply the missing link in your
dead-end line has been lost due to fire, flood or war.
- The town clerk to whom you wrote for the information sends
you a long handwritten letter which is totally illegible.
- The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no
relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.
- None of the pictures in your recently deceased grandmother's
photo album have names written on them.
- No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy,
owned property, was sued or was named in wills.
- You learn that your great aunt's executor just sold her
life's collection of family genealogical materials to a
flea market dealer "somewhere in New York City."
- Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely
proportional to the value of the data recorded.
- The 37-volume, 16,000-page history of your county
of origin isn't indexed.
- You finally find your great grandparent's wedding records
and discover that the brides' father was named John Smith.