In Which I Piss Off Pretty Much The Entire Genealogy Establishment

In Which I Piss Off Pretty Much The Entire Genealogy Establishment

by Kerry Scott on 20 October 2010

I’m inventing a new drinking game.  It’s called the Clue Wagon Genealogy Drinking Game, because I’m super-original when it comes to naming stuff.  It’s a trait I inherited from my German ancestors, who named all of their children Frank or Viola.

This drinking game is played with Sprite, not alcohol, because a lot of genealogists are LDS, and we don’t want to leave them out.  I get to play with Diet Coke, though, because I’m not LDS, and because dammit, it’s my game.

Don’t even think of trying this with real booze.  Seriously.  You’d be dangerously drunk in, like, 12 minutes.

This is the game:

You get a group of professional genealogists together.  Listservs are ideal for this.  In fact, they’re the perfect place to play.  From there it works like most drinking games (c’mon, I know you know how those work).

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Someone wants help on a source citation—one drink
  • Someone says, “The comma goes HERE, not there.  We haven’t put the comma THERE since 1973.”—one drink
  • Someone says, “What do you mean, a COMMA?  Of COURSE it’s a semicolon.  Duh.  Were you not at the Meeting of the Geneva Convention of Punctuation and Dottery?  Because we all agreed that a semicolon was far superior to a comma.  It’s the extra dot that makes you a Real Genealogist.  Without the dot, no one will take you seriously, and you will die alone in a gutter, and assorted birds will pick at your eyeballs while we all point and laugh, and we’ll also make sure your name is misspelled on your headstone so your descendants don’t have to suffer the shame of being related to a Comma-ist”—two drinks
  • Someone says genealogists should be licensed by the government—one drink
  • Someone says genealogists should be licensed by the government because you need a license to cut hair but not to practice genealogy—no drinks, but we all get to go to that person’s house and give them a perm
  • Someone says genealogists should be licensed by the government when you know from their Facebook page that they’re members of the Tea Party—two drinks
  • Someone bashes Mormons—one drink
  • Someone bashes Mormons days after they announced their great find at their local FHCtwo drinks
  • Someone bashes social media—one drink
  • Someone bashes social media but calls it Tweeter instead of Twitter—two drinks
  • Someone bashes social media but calls it Tweeter instead of Twitter AND they’re doing it from an AOL email address—still only two drinks, because that’s actually kind of adorable
  • Someone complains that Ancestry is too big—one drink
  • Someone asks why the government isn’t looking into the size of Ancestry because they’re totally a monopoly—two drinks, and you have to wink like Sarah Palin
  • Someone starts talking about how all of the people on Ancestry’s Expert Connect are losers who live in a van down by the river—one drink
  • Someone starts talking about how the word “Expert” in “Expert Connect” is misleading—one drink, and you have to brainstorm more apt names for Expert Connect and send them to Ancestry.  Sucky Connect?  Loser Connect?  NotAsGoodAsMe Connect?    YouDON’TGottaStartSomewhereBecauseIWasHereFirst Connect?  IKnowYouSuckEvenThoughWe’veNeverMetOrSpoken Connect?
  • Someone starts talking about how the riff-raff is everywhere, and how those loser un-expert non-perfect people can even, like, send their money to APG and become members, and then consumers will totally confuse them with the Excellent Genealogists, and then poor unsuspecting consumers might get bad information about their grannies, and then they’ll learn that you get what you pay for die alone in the same gutter with the Comma-ist, and won’t someone PLEASE think of the children consumers?—two drinks
  • Someone accidentally sends a nasty message to the whole list instead of the just the one person they meant to snark to—one drink (drunk slowly while you sit and speculate as to who they were meaning to send it to, because I cannot possibly be the only person who wonders who the Unnamed Snarkists are)
  • Someone accidentally sends a nasty message to the whole list and then demands that the list structure be changed so this can never happen again, because clearly that’s where the problem lies—two drinks
  • Someone bashes BCGburp
  • Someone bashes BCG while singing the praises of an unaccredited institution—burp out the lyrics of Alanis Morrisette’s “Isn’t It Ironic”
  • Someone refers to hair-splitting or uses the term “persnickety”—one drink
  • Someone refers to his own circumcision—switch to real alcohol, because ain’t no can of pop that can stand up to that

DISCLAIMER: This is totally meant to be funny.  Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely mostly a little bit coincidental.  Except for the part about the circumcision, because that totally did happen, and it was funny as hell.  The apology was even funnier.  If that guy had been smart, he would have just claimed someone hacked his account, which is absolutely what I plan to do tomorrow when I realize that I actually hit “publish” on this post.

Photo by jaqian

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Elyse Doerflinger May 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Kerry –

You are brilliant and this post is absolutely HILARIOUS! I nearly cried!


Margaret E June 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Ha, ha. Propetic about blaming some embarrassment on a hacked account. Some congressman must have been reading your blog.


Walter Anderson July 9, 2011 at 6:34 am

The bad Genealogy for free idea, can be summed up in the following quote:

“Anything you get for free is usually worth exactly what you pay for it, NOTHING”

I quoted myself!


Sherry Kimbrough October 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Hey Kerry, if I was a member of the Professional Genealogists I’d vote for you!! Please don’t stop blogging when you get all “important” with Gen. job and Board position, OK? Us lil’ ole grannies in the trenches need you!


Dan Hoffman October 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm

When I started working on genealogy in the 70s I was less than 40 yrs old. I am not saying how old I am now. But in those days the publications were boring. When I would go to the genealogy library in the Indiana State Library everyone looked and acted really old. It seemed like an endeavor for geriatrics wards. But I stuck with it and, hey, now I am probably the age of those persons. And a lot has changed. I think your blog demonstrates a freshness and slightly (well, sometimes more than slightly, contrarian) approach to genealogy. Keep it up Kerry. I read several blogs but yours is the only one I laugh with and the only one I open as soon as I see it arrives. It has taught me a lot too. If the professionals don’t put you on their board, then I would say it is being out of touch with the times and with popular culture. Daniel


Kerry Scott October 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Well, it’s possible that if I don’t get elected, it’s because there were more qualified candidates who people thought were a better fit. I don’t want to bash anyone else, because there are lots of smart, savvy people on that list (including some who are older and some who are younger than me). I just feel like if I’m the right person for the job, I’ll get elected…and if I’m not, I won’t. And it will be fine either way.


Dianne A October 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm

So glad you posted the link back to this; I had missed it the first time. It is brilliant; thanks for a great bout of laughing on a Monday.


Lisa Alzo October 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I couldn’t finish any of the drinks because I was laughing so hard and would have spit them all out! Don’t know how I missed this post the first time around!


Leslie Lawson October 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm

You’re right, Rhoda WOULD leave it up, and so should you. Good call! I appreciate your humor, a LOT!


Margaret E October 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm



Lisa March 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Stumbled across “Clue Wagon” yesterday; already a big fan. Thanks for keeping it real!

(note my probably incorrect use of the semi-colon ;)


Kerry Scott March 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thank you!


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