So where might you find such humor? Start by really examining what was written in an ancestor’s Will. Many times the decease had the last word, by placing some unusual or strange request or statement relating to property, animals or other relatives. If you find something like that, write it down and keep a separate record of it. Include who, when and where beside what was the funny item.
Another great place to find funny items relating to an ancestor is in the census records. This is especially true relating to occupations. If your great grandmother worked in a factory making rugs, her occupation might have been listed as a ‘hooker’ — hooking rugs.
Another funny item can actually be someone’s given names. Stop and review the list of names on the family tree. On my mother’s side there was two sisters named Nannie and Fannie. Some other unusual given names you might find are ‘Friendly’, ‘Perfect’, ‘Fabulous’, ‘Stormy’, ‘Joker’, ‘Desire’, ‘Welcome’, ‘Royal’ and ‘Temperance’.
If there was a divorce in the family, some of those divorce papers can have some outrageous statements about either the wife or husband.
A really great source for the usual and funny are hometown newspaper articles about your ancestor. One for a great great granduncle, in The News of Frederick, Maryland, on October 10, 1887, was a medium-sized article about Mr. and Mrs. Levi Groff and their house boarder, Capt. Alfred Schley. It provided a good deal of information about the couple and how Capt. Schley had won the affections of Mrs. Nancy Groff, enough to run off with him. It even described Levi’s attempt to stop them as they were ready to leave on the train as “walking along the side of the train descried his runaway wife”. The title of the article: “Eloped With Another Man” and Nancy Groff was described as “51 years old and very genteel in appearance”.
Keeping a separate record of anything funny about your ancestors just proves to you and others, they were just a human as anyone else, then or now.
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