You might be a genealogist if…
…the only t-shirt you own is related to genealogy.
…you think the phrase “related to genealogy” is funny.
…your significant other has threatened you with bodily harm if you utter the words “It’s all relative” one more time.
…you go by three names because they’re all important to you.
…people refer to you by your initials because your name is so long, and you’re ok with that. Alternatively: Your significant other knows who you’re talking about when you refer to other genealogists by their initials.
…genealogy is your vocation and your avocation, and you don’t think that’s obsessive at all.
…your vacation is planned around national conferences and researching brick wall ancestors.
…the highlight of your week is discovering a new cemetery.
…you feel comfortable in a remote cemetery at dusk.
…you spend an hour carefully arranging a bouquet for your grandmother’s grave, then tear it apart when you get to the cemetery so you can disperse the flowers amongst the undecorated graves of three children, and know your grandmother would understand why.
…you buy a house because of the cemetery located in the back yard.
…you add a room on to your house so you can expand your home office/library.
…your fund for oops1 is larger than your new car fund.
…you keep an updated to-do list and a crate of extra research supplies in your car, just in case.
…the bumper stickers on your car read: Wake the Dead; I Brake for Cemeteries; and I’m not a Redneck Hillbilly, I’m an Appalachian American.
…your map collection is more extensive than your local library’s.
…you’re the only person living who knows how to repair your library’s microfilm reader.
…you can quote your lineage for generations, including dates, places, and siblings, but can’t remember the names of your high school classmates.
…Donald Lines Jacobus is your hero.
…your ultimate goal is to join the Royal Bastards, as much because you appreciate the irony as anything.
…Black’s Law Dictionary is light reading. Alternatively: You have three different editions of Black’s Law Dictionary on your shelf, and a first edition behind glass casing.
…your bedtime reading includes Greenwood and EE.2
…you knew what I meant by Greenwood and EE without having to check the footnote.
…you agonize over whether to use a comma, semi-colon, or colon in a source citation.
…your every-day speech is littered with words like thereunto, aforesaid, and herein. Alternatively: You can use the phrase “for that whereas heretofore to wit” and make it sound natural.
…you’re on a first-name basis with county clerks in three states. Alternatively: Your local county clerks ask you to answer the phone for them so they can take a quick bathroom break.
…you teach your children how to cook so you can spend more time researching, and eat sage-and-rosemary scrambled eggs as a consequence.3
…your four-year-old knows that a cemetery is “where dead people live,” your nine-year-old can use an index and a card catalogue, and your fourteen-year-old acts as your research assistant.
…the last three named children are actually all the same person because you’ve been too busy researching to beget any other heirs.
…you watch historical movies to get a feel for how your ancestors from those time periods lived.
…The Sixth Sense is your favorite movie, because you identify with the main character. Alternatively: HJO has a restraining order against you because of that week you spent camped outside his house so you could ask him to commune with your Great-Uncle Fred.
…you can’t wait to get to Heaven so you can ask all your brick wall ancestors who their parents were.
And finally, you might be a genealogist if you think Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is a new-fangled genealogical methodology…and you’ve successfully used it to solve a genealogical research problem.
* * * * *
1. Out of print books.
2. Val D. Greenwood’s The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy and Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace.
3. Those are good, by the way.