If you've spent much time working on Genealogy, then you know
there are some funny stories and things that happen along the
way. This page gives me an opportunity to share some of
the "funny" things that I stumble across as I do my research.
Are You Sure That's Against the Law?
The Claremont Courier
Vol. 5, Issue 3 - March 2011
There are some very unusual laws on the records of towns, cities
and municipalities in North Carolina and her neighboring states.
Even though it seems they were initiated for logical reasons for
the time period, many are still active and carry some form of
punishment if broken.
NORTH CAROLINA LAWS
1. "No one may be a professional fortune-teller and if one
wishes to pursue the practice as an amateur, it must be
practiced in a school or church."
2. "It's against the law to sing off key."
3. "Elephants may not be used to plow cotton fields."
4. "If a man and a woman who aren't married go to a hotel/motel
and register themselves as married, then according to state law,
they are legally married."
5. "All couples staying overnight in a hotel must have a room
with double beds that are at least two feet apart."
6. "A marriage can be declared void if either of the two persons
is physically impotent."
7. "Persons in possession of illegal substances must pay taxes
8. "Organizations may not hold their meetings while the members
present are in costume."
9. "Bingo games may not last over five hours unless it is held
at a fair."
10. "Serving alcohol at a bingo game is not allowed."
NC MUNICIPALITIES' LAWS
1. "In Barber, fights between cats and dogs are prohibited."
2. "In Charlotte, women must have their bodies covered by at
least 16 yards of cloth at all times."
3. "In Dunn, it is illegal to drive cars through city cemeteries
for pleasure; cars may not be driven on sidewalks; it is illegal
to throw rocks at a city street; and no person shall spit on a
4. "In Forest City, you must stop and call city hall before
entering town in an automobile."
5. "In Greensboro, restaurants with on sidewalk dining must post
their menu so that it is clearly readable from the sidewalk but
is not readable from the street."
6. "In Rocky Mount, it is required that you must pay a property
tax on your dog."
7. "In Kill Devil Hills, you may not ride a bicycle without
having both your hands on the handle bars."
8. "In Zebulon, it is illegal to stand outside the police
station for any purpose after dark; and no person may walk on
top of the water tank of the city."
9. "In Ashville, it is illegal to sneeze on the streets."
1. "It is against the law to have a bathtub inside, they must be
2. "It is illegal to handle snakes at church."
3. "It is illegal to kick your wife out of bed in Lebanon."
4. "It is the law that only babies are allowed to ride in baby
carriages in Roderfield."
5. "In any eating establishment, it is illegal to flip a coin to
see who will buy a cup of coffee."
December 11, 1880
To the Editor of the Enterprise:
A man by the name of Loftin, who selleth "ardent
spirits", between Newton and Catawba, got to peddling
his stuff down near Sherrills Ford, and because a
certain friend of humanity put a stop to his selling at
that point, he, Loftin, has been talling all sorts of
fabricated tales about the friend aforesaid, and in
order to show that it was proper and right to stop his "accuresed
traffic", I will give you the result of the use of some
of his liquor, so called: Messrs. L. & M. both made
purchases of him. L. got sick and vomited; his dog
in turn sickened and died, as if dosed with strychnine.
M. heard of the result. So, when he took sick he
yelled to his wife to "tie the dog", he "did not want to
lose it, too". If they had not rid their stomachs
of the stuff, they too would have sent in their checks.
Furthermore, a Mr. B. says Loftin's liquor all froze up
last winter. So it would seem that his liquor has
a body instead of spirit, as spirits do not freeze.
With such stuff on the market we think all mankind and "dogkind"
too would favor prohibition.
As I started studying my own family
genealogy, I remembered a humorous song that I had heard in the
1960s entitled "I'm My Own Grandpa". The song was actually
written in 1948 by Dwight Latham and Guy Jaffe, which became a
hit for the country duo Lonzo & Oscar. Ray Stevens also
recorded the song again in 1987. Be sure to check out the video
I'm My Own Grandpa
by Dwight Latham & Guy Jaffe
Many, many years ago, when I
I was married to a widow who was pretty as can be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her, and soon they, too, were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law and really changed my very life,
My daughter was my mother, cause she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matter, even though it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby then became a brother-in-law to Dad,
And so became my uncle, though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle, then that also made him brother
Of the widow's grown-up daughter, who, of course, was my
Father's wife then had a son who kept him on the run,
And he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother, and it makes me blue,
Because, although she is my wife, she's my grandmother, too.
Now if my wife is my grandmother, then I'm her grandchild,
And every time I think of it, it nearly drives me wild,
For now I have become the strangest case you ever saw,
As husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa!
Oh, I'm my own grandpa.
I'm my own grandpa.
It sounds funny, I know, but it really is so,
Oh, I'm my own grandpa.
Rules For Our Ancestors - or
How to Confuse Your Descendents
Thou shalt name your male children: James, John, Joseph, Josiah,
Thomas, and William.
(2) Thou shalt
name your female children: Elizabeth, Mary, Martha, Maria,
Sarah, Ida, May.
(3) Thou shalt
leave NO trace of your female children. (4)
Thou shalt, after naming your children from the above lists,
call them by strange nicknames such as: Sally, Polly,
Dolly.---making them difficult to trace.
(5) Thou shalt NOT
use any middle names on any legal documents or census reports,
and only where necessary, you may use only initials on legal
learn to sign all documents illegibly so that your surname can
be spelled, or misspelled, in various ways: Loftin, Lofton,
Loften, Lofften, Lipton.
(7) Thou shalt,
after no more then 3 generations, make sure that all family
records are lost, misplaced, burned in a court house fire, or
buried so that NO future trace of them can be found.
(8) Thou shalt
propagate misleading legends, rumors, & vague innuendo regarding
your place of origination.
(A) You may have come from:
England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany....or Italy.
(B) You may have American
Indian or Black Dutch ancestry.
(C) You may have descended
from one of three brothers that came over from England.
(9) Thou shalt
leave NO cemetery records, or headstones with legible names.
shalt leave NO family Bible with records of birth, marriages or
shalt ALWAYS flip thy name around. If born James Franklin, thou
must make all the rest of thy records in the names of James,
Jim, Franklin, Frank, JF.
must also flip thy parent's names when making reference to them,
although "Unknown" or a blank line is an acceptable alternative.
shalt name at least 5 generations of males, and dozens of their
cousins with identical names in order to totally confuse
researchers. (Example: William Alexander Loftin had a
sister named Mary Frances Loftin. He also named his first
daughter Mary Frances Loftin. Both of these women then
married men with the last name of Drum)
You finally find the wedding record for your gggrandfather only
to discover he married Mary SMITH whose father was John SMITH
and mother was Mary JONES!
You have finally found the information you needed to solve the
family mystery you have been working on for 2 years and your
elderly aunt says " I could have told you that!"
You find an old family photo album and upon close examination,
there are no names on the pictures.
You learn that your great grandmother's family bible (passed
down through the family for 3 generations) was sold at an estate
sale in New York City.
You find your family in the census and write to the county
where they lived for 40 years, only to receive a letter stating
all the county records burned.
You learn there is a county history on microfilm of the county
your ancestors originated. It has 16000 pages and is not
The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor
participated and at which the platform collapsed under him,
turned out to be a hanging.
From "Dear Abby"
I have always wantedto have my family history traced,but I can't afford to spend a lot
ofmoney to do it. Any
~ Sam in California ~
Dear Sam: Yes. Run for public office!
Genealogy begins as an interest,
Becomes a hobby;
Continues as an avocation,
Takes over as an obsession,
And in its last stages,
Is an incurable disease.
Ocupayshun: Census Taker (Ever wonder why you
can't make heads or tails out of the census?)
"I am a cencus takers
for the city of Bufflow. Our city has groan very fast in resent yeers & now in 1865, it has
become a hard & time consuming job to count all the peephill.
There are not many that con do this werk, as it is nesessarie to
have a ejucashun, wich a lot of pursons steal don not have.
Anuther atribeart needed for this job is god speling, for meny
of the peephill to be counted can hardle speek inglish,
let alon spel there names!"
The inhabitants of this place have been stricken with
A Deadly and Infectious Disease
Symptoms: Notepapers stuffed in pockets and files; heart
palpitations at the sight of gravestones and old trunks
filled with letters; bloodshot eyes from excessive microfilm
exposure; erratic speech patterns punctuated with pilgrims and
princes; cold sweat upon the arrival of the daily mail.
The Wrong Email Address
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during
a particularly icy winter. They
planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their
honeymoon 20 years before.
Because of their hectic schedules, it was difficult to
coordinate their travel schedules, so the husband left
Minneapolis and flew to Florida on Friday, and his wife was
flying down the following day.
The husband checked into the hotel, and unlike years ago, there
was a computer in his room, and he decided to send an email to
his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her
E-mail address, and without noticing his error, sent the email
to the wrong address.
Meanwhile ... Somewhere in Houston ..... A widow had just
returned home from her husband's
funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory after
suffering a heart attack
The widow decided to check her E-mail, expecting messages from
relatives and friends. After
reading the first message, she screamed and then fainted. The
widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor,
and then glanced up and saw the computer screen which read:
To: My Loving Wife
Date: Friday, October 13, 2005
Subject: I have arrived!
I know you are surprised to hear from me. They have computers
here now, and you are allowed to send E-mail to your loved ones.
I have just arrived and have been checked in. I see that
everything has been prepared for your
arrival tomorrow, and look forward to seeing you then.
Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
PS . It sure is hot down here
As I Age, I Realize That:
A. I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert
B. Sometimes I roll my eyes out loud.
C. I don't need anger management. I need people to
stop "ticking" me off.
D. My people skills are just fine. It's my
tolerance of idiots that needs work.
E. The biggest lie I tell myself is, "I don't need to
write it down, I'll remember it."
F. When I was a child I thought name time was punishment.
Now it's like a mini-vacation.
G. Even duct tape can't fix stupid, but it can muffle the
H. Wouldn't it be great if we could put ourselves in the
dryer for ten minutes and come out wrinkle-free & three sizes
I. If God had wanted me to touch my toes, He would have
put them on my knees.
J. When the kids text me "pls" which is shorter than
"please", I text back "no" which is shorter than "yes".
K. At my age "getting lucky" means waling into a room and
remembering what I came in there for.
Someone asked the other day, "What was your favorite fast food
when you were growing up?" We didn't have fast food when I
was growing up. Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home
from work, we all sat down together at the table.
Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot
on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit
My parents never drove me to school. I had a bicycle that
weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed - slow.
We did have a television is our home - but only one. It
was, of course, black and white, and was only able to pick up 3
stations (3, 9 and 12). The stations went off the air
every night between 11:00 and 1:00 a.m., after playing the
national anthem. It came back on the air about 6:00 a.m.
and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show,
featuring local people.
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in our
house was on a party line with our next door neighbor.
Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure someone
wasn't already using the phone line.
Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut - at least they did in
the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies
were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without
profanity or violence or almost anything offensive.
Headlight dimmers for cars were located on the floorboard - and
people used hand signals before turning right or left.
Count All The Ones That You Remember
(not the ones you were told about) -
Ratings at the bottom
A. Candy Cigarettes
B. Coffee Shops with tableside juke boxes
C. Home milk delivery in glass bottles
D. Party Lines on the telephone
E. Newsreels before the movie
F. TV test patterns that came on at night after the late
H. Howdy Doody or Roy Rogers
I. 45 RPM records
J. Hi-Fi records
K. Metal ice trays with lever
L. Blue flashbulbs for cameras
M. Cork popguns
N. Studebakers (Car)
O. Washing Machines with "wringers"
P. Saturday morning cartoons
If you remember 0 to 3 = You're still young
If you remember 3 to 6 = You're getting older
If you remember 7 to 10 = Don't tell your age
If you remember 11 to 15 = You're older than dirt!
For Those of You Born 1930 to 1969
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks or doors on
cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not
helmets on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car
seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires
and sometimes bad brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a
special treat - especially when you were standing up and could
feel the air on your face.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and
no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We
drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar, and we weren't
overweight. WHY? Because we were always playing
outside. We'd leave home in the morning and play all day,
as long as were were back home before supper.
No one was able to reach us all day (by cell phone) - and we
We'd spend all day building go-carts out of scraps and then ride
them down the hill, only to find out we had no brakes.
After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve
We did not have PlayStations, Nintendos, or X-Boxes. There
were NO video games, NO 150 channels on cable or satellite, NO
DVDs, NO surround-sound or CDs, No Ipods, NO
cell phones, NO computers, NO internet and NO chat rooms or
FaceBook. We had friends and we went outside and found
We built tree houses and forts. We fell out of trees, got
cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt.
We got BB guns by the time we were 9 or 10 years old, made up
our own games, threw rocks, and although we were told it would
happen, we did not put over "very many" eyes.
We usually only got one or two presents for Christmas - and
didn't have a birthday party every year. (I only had one.)
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and usually just
walked in the door.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't, had to learn to deal with disappointment.
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we got into trouble at
school was unheard of. My Dad told me that if I got a
"whipping" at school, I'd get one when I got home, too.
Our heroes were Roy Roger or Gene Autry, Flash Gordon, Superman
and Tarzan - not professional ball players or rock musicians.
These generations produced some of the best risk-taker, problem
solvers and inventors ever.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we
learned how to deal with it all.
Disclaimer: This was shared
with me by a friend (from up north) and I just had to post it.
Not sure where it came from originally. I'm a proud
southerner, and being from the south, myself, I've heard all of
the "southern vocabulary" sometime during my 60+ years.
Southerners know their summer weather report:
Southerners know their vacation spots:
Southerners know the movies that speak to
Fried Green Tomatoes
Driving Miss Daisy
Gone With the Wind
Southerners know their religions:
Southerners know their cities dripping with
N'awlins (New Orleans)
Foat Wuth (Fort Worth)
Southern girls know their prime real estate:
The Country Club
The Beauty Salon
Southern girls know the 3 deadly sins:
Having bad hair and nails
Having bad manners
Cooking bad food
Only a Southerner knows the difference between
a "hissie fit" and a "conniption fit",
and that you don't "HAVE" them, you "PITCH" them.
Only a Southerner knows how many fish, collard
greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess".
Only a Southerner can show or point out to you
the general direction of "yonder".
Only a Southerner knows exactly how long
"directly" is ...
"Going to town, be back driectly." (directly)
Even Southern babies know that "Gimme some
sugar" is not a request for the white, granular, sweet substance
that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.
All Southerners know exactly when "By and By"
They might not use the term, but they know the concept well.
Only a Southerner knows instinctively that the
best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a
plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad.
If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, they also know to
add a large banana puddin'!
Only Southerners grow up knowing the
difference between "right near" and "A right far piece".
They know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.
They also know that when someone says "rat there", they're not
talking about a bunch of big mice.
Only a Southerner knows and understands
the difference between a redneck,
a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.
No true Southerner would ever assume that the
car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a
A Southerner knows that "fixin" can be used as
a noun, a verb, or an adverb.
Only Southerners make friends while standing
... and when we're in line, we talk to everybody!
Put 100 Southerners in a room and half of them
will discover they're related,
even if only by marriage. (TRUE!)
In the South, "Y'all" is singular, and "All
Y'all" is plural.
Southerners know grits come from corn and how
to eat 'em.
Every Southerner knows that tomatoes with
eggs, bacon, grits and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red
eye gravy is also a breakfast food; that scrambled eggs just
ain't right without Tabasco, and fried green tomatoes are not
When you hear someone, say, "Well, I caught
myself lookin', "
you know you are in the presence of a genuine Southerner.
Only true Southerners say "sweet tea" and
"sweet milk". Sweet tea indicates the need for sugar and
lots of it - we do not like our tea unsweetened. "Sweet
milk" means you don't want buttermilk.
A true Southerner knows you don't scream
obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 MPH on the
freeway. You just say, "Bless her sweet little heart" - and
go on your way.
Southern girls know men may come and go, but
friends are fah-evah (forever)!
*There ain't no magazine named "Norther Living" for good reason.
There ain't nobody interested in livin' up north, and nobody
would buy the magazine.
If you're a Northern transplant, bless you
little heart, fake it.
We know you got here as fast as you could.