WARNING: The Genealogy Bug is highly contagious, easily spreading from person to person. It is also capable of passing from one generation to the next. Signs you may have it and the seriousness of your case varies. But, those who catch it tend to experience similar symptoms that family researchers and genealogists will recognize.
Friends may start to notice
- You know more about your ancestors than your living relatives.
- Your vocabulary sounds like you were raised by a lumberjack, constantly using words like – trees, branches and roots.
- You’ve spent more hours in the cemeteries than the movie theater.
- Your favorite collection is made up of obituaries.
Can affect everyday living
- Your prize vacation photo was taken in a cemetery.
- Your computer home page features your favorites, findagrave.com, ancestory.com and familysearch.org.
- You once discretely recorded the longitude and latitude of a gravesite during a funeral.
- Certain strange, archaic words keep creeping into your everyday vocabulary …forthwith, dropsy, dower, consumption.
- You start searching one ancestor, but get distracted by another, which causes you to bounce back and forth between other ancestors, until you forget what ancestor you were originally searching.
- You have certain compulsions, like searching for people for whom you have no relationship, just because someone asks a question on Facebook.
Bad among family historians
- At your last family reunion you collected DNA samples from all of the plastic cups…just in case there were any questions.
- You carry a relationship worksheet in your purse to family gatherings…cousin, second cousin, third cousin once removed.
- You giggle with delight when you learn the new edition of your favorite genealogy guidebook will be hitting the bookstore shelves soon.
Causes unpredictable reactions
- Your vehicle automatically brakes when you spot a cemetery.
- Your family research materials are perfectly indexed and organized, but the rest of your house resembles a disaster zone.
- You merrily sprint into the courthouse when you learn they have a land record available.
- You act like a kid on Christmas morning when you discover a death certificate.
- Snapping a photo of a gravestone is more exciting than taking one of the beach.
- You write the dates on your checks in date, month, year sequence.
- You can’t sleep because words like genomes, DNA, and halpogroup dance in your head.
Some obsessive tendencies
- You spend more hours in your pajamas in front of a computer than in your own bed.
- If your spouse wakes up at 1 a.m., they could find you slumped over your computer mumbling something about “cause of death.”
- You may spend hours looking through a magnifying lens trying to interpret a probate record.
Turns blood from red to blue
- You know the birth dates of multiple generations of grandmothers, but just forgot your spouse’s or partner’s birthday.
- You told your sister to name her first son George, because you discovered your family descends from a line of royalty named George.
- You can’t remember what you had for breakfast, but you can name all of the county seats in your state.
- You introduce your best friend as — this is Sally’s sister’s second cousin twice removed.
Consult a fellow genealogist
- Your physician asks for your family history, and you reply, how many generations do you want.
- You know more about your grandfather than he does.
- You really should go to bed, but stay up to do genealogy instead.
- You once called in sick because you stayed up all night on a family research binger.
- You discover you are your own cousin.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms or others, please let us know in the comments below. Or, just consult your favorite genealogists.