Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sometimes the Genealogy Jokes Just Write Themselves

A sense of humor is definitely a requirement when doing genealogy and family history research. There are times when you find a funny name or funny place or stumble upon a funny story. If you’re really lucky, you get a “double funny” as I call them.

Recently I was working with the U.S. Civil War Era Records page over at FamilySearch (it is an amazing free resource) and looking for possible McEntee ancestors who served on the Union side. Under the Union: Pensions section is the United States Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904 record set which is basically a series of cards noting when someone wrote with an inquiry and the nature of the inquiry.

A New Ancestor: Balls McEntee

So how neat would it be to find an ancestor who either through a given name or through a nick name was called “Balls” as in “Balls McEntee?” That is what I thought I had when I searched the record set:

As my mind is racing with an image of this ancestor, perhaps so nicknamed due to some heroic event involving testicular fortitude, I do what every good genealogist does: I carefully looked at the record to make sure I was gathering every detail. And because of my vision issues, I enlarged the image and found out that the name was Bails and not Balls.

Oh, bullocks.

Bails as in . . . Wait for it . . .

Even with all the air let out of the many family story possibilities, I still had to look at the image itself. And that is where I got the second giggle of the day involving this record:

Cue drums: bah dump dump. So what are the chances that a man named Bails is writing to the US military about his desertion record? As I said before, sometimes the genealogy jokes just write themselves.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

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