A Poem For All You Genealogists


Image provided by Len Augsberger

I am taking a short break from working with data sets about my ancestors from the Tidewater Region, Virginia. Today I am exploring old periodicals made available online.This time I happened upon a poem in the monthly magazine, Hobbies from the May 1940 issue.  As an aside, Hobbies began in 1931 with articles of interest to various collectors. Its publisher, O.C. Lightner of Chicago, (still listed at this address when this 2010 photo was taken), started by purchasing a stamp magazine and then “rolling up” more than 20 other publications which were usually in financial difficulty as the Great Depression lingered. The monthly issues might have as many as 130 pages, mostly text, smatterings of photos, and small ads paid for by collectors.

Mary Louise TredinnickMary Louise Tredinnick (1892-1964) , author of The Genealogist poem that follows, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1892, the daughter of William and Mary Emma Hutchinson. Her family moved to Wakefield in 1914. She actively served in many Wakefield, Massachusetts, community and national organizations from 1936 on; including the  England Genealogical Society.  Mrs. Tredinnick was a member of the Court of Honor for the Massachusetts Mother of the Year in 1946 and honored as the West Side Social Club’s Citizen of the Year in 1958. A gifted writer and an avid student of music, poetry and dramatics. She was a weekly contributor of poems to the Boston Herald and authored a book of poems as well as an essay ‘The Only Book’ to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the printing of the Bible. The essay was reprinted widely throughout the country and in college textbooks. Mary Louise Tredinnick passed away in April 1964.

The Genealogist
by Mary Louise Tredinnick (1892-1964)
As Published in Hobbies Magazine, May 1940, Page 112

The genealogist is one who traces back the family tree

In all its sad diversity,

Pride, shame, and plain perversity.

We are preoccupied with graves, and probate courts, and slaves

Deciphering epitaphs, and saves

the evidence of queer old Dave’s

Odd will–Aunt Phoebe’s sin–

Apprentice, convict,( with chagrin

Too bad this line is genuine–

Thought it began with Peregrine!).

No mercury so fleet as we

In search of widow number three

Relict of Uncle Zebedee,

Died in Portsmouth, 1693

His figure is a question mark!

Direct collateral, to the Ark.

Female and male, each patriarch

He was recorded with remark.

Born, married, humble, eminent–

Careers good, bad, indifferent.

No genealogist is content

Until “died” seals the document.

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