Chester Chuckles

The original Chester Chuckles was part of my original Chester County Genealogy site back in the late 1990’s.

My favorite taglinesI’m not stuck, I’m Ancestrally Challenged!Whadya mean my grandparents didn’t have any kids!?!Searching for elusive ancestors? Run for public office!Genealogists do it with dead relatives!Only a genealogist regards a step backwards as progress.


God grant me the serenity 
to accept the ancestors I cannot find,
the courage to find the ones I can,
and the wisdom to document thoroughly.


With profuse apologies to the legitimate 12-step programs: 
The Twelve Steps of Gene-Aholics Anonymous

  • 1. We admitted that we were powerless over our database-that our files had become unmanageable.
  • 2. Came to believe that a GEDCOM bigger than our own could restore us to sanity.
  • 3. Made a decision to turn our data and our charts over to a professional genealogy program.
  • 4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our files.
  • 5. Admitted to the newsgroup, ourselves and to another genealogist the exact nature of our ancestors.
  • 6. Were entirely ready to have others others scoff at our research.
  • 7. Humbly asked them to help us clarify our sources.
  • 8. Made a list of all ancestors we had not documented and became willing to find proper sources for them all.
  • 9. Made changes to all records wherever possible, except when to do so would slander their memory or others.
  • 10. Continued to take record inventories and when we didn’t have a proper source, promptly admitted it.
  • 11. Sought through webpages on the internet to improve the documentation of our ancestors, praying only for the knowledge of their whereabouts and the fortitude to list all the sources.
  • 12. Having had a much improved genealogy as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to all genealogists and to practice these steps in all our databases.

The Top Ten Indicators That You’ve Become A Gene-Aholic

  • 10. You introduce your daughter as your descendent.
  • 9. You’ve never met any of the people you send e-mail to, even though you’re related.
  • 8. You can recite your lineage back 8 generations, but can’t remember your nephew’s name.
  • 7. You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.
  • 6. You’ve ever taken a tape recorder and/or notebook to a family reunion.
  • 5. You’ve not only read the latest GEDCOM standard, you understand it!
  • 4. The local genealogy society borrows books from you!
  • 3. The only film you’ve seen in the last year was the 1880 census index.
  • 2. More than half of your CD collection is made up of marriage records or pedigrees.
  • 1. Your elusive ancestor has been spotted in more different places than Elvis!

A few more just popped into my head:

#whatever. Your dream house plans include a genealogy library.

#whatever. You bought an extra Uninterruptable Power Supply for your fiche reader.

#whatever: Your child learned her pedigree before her ABC’s.


The Inevitable Laws of Genealogy*

1. The records you need for your family history were in the courthouse that burned.

2. John, son of Thomas, the immigrant whom your relatives claim as immigrant ancestor, died on board ship at the age of 12.

3. The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated when the platform under him collapsed turned out to be a hanging.

4. Records show that the grandfather, whom the family boasted, “He read the Bible at four years and graduated from college at sixteen,” was at the foot of his class.

5. Your grandmother’s maiden name for which you’ve searched for years was on an old letter in a box in the attic all the time.

6. When at last you have solved the mystery of the skeleton in the closet, the tight-lipped spinster aunt claims, “I could have told you that all the time.”

7. You never asked your father about his family because you weren’t interested in genealogy while he was alive.

8. The family story your grandmother wrote for the family never got past the typist. She packed it away “somewhere” and promised to send you a copy but never did.

9. The relative who had all the family photographs gave them to her daughter who had no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.

10. A great-uncle changed his surname because he was teased in school. He moved away, left no address, and was never heard from again.

11. Brittle old newspapers containing the info you desired have fallen apart on the names and dates and places.

12. The only record you find for your great grandfather is that his property was sold at the sheriff’s sale for insolvency.

13. The portion of the index you need is continued in the next issue, only the publisher died prior to publication.

14. When you find the obituary for your grandmother the information is garbled. Her name is exchanged with her daughter’s, the whereabouts of her sons is unknown, the date of her father’s birth indicates he was younger than she was.

15. The only surname not found among the three billion in the Mormon Archives is yours.

16. The vital records director sends you a negative reply, having just been insulted by a creep calling himself a genealogist.

17. The 4-volume, 4,800-page history of the county where your great-grandfather lived is not indexed.

*Copyright 1986 Heritage Quest, P.O. Box 40, Orting, WA 98360

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