The Top-10 Most Satisfying Genealogy Events

The television networks, and papers have been in a dither today over the most annoying words being used in America. It seems that Marist College took a poll, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

The dismissive word, “Whatever,” won the competition for the most annoying with 47% saying they didn’t like it. Other annying words were:

  • Whatever – 25%
  • You Know – 25%
  • It Is What It Is -11%
  • Anyway – 7%
  • At The End Of The Day – 2%

This bit of annoying information got me to thinking about annoying things in genealogy. I thought for a few minutes and couldn’t really come up with anything that annoys me all that much. I guess I could have claimed that errors in indexing & indexes, incorrect information in genealogy books, county histories, databases, and such are annoying – but honestly, I consider these things to be just inherent to doing genealogy, so I don’t get annoyed at all. Then again, as I blogged in my statement for the FTC a few days ago, I see most everything in a positive light – the “glass is half full” phenomena.

The Top-10 Most Satisfying Genealogy Events
So I got to thinking that it would be fun to steal a line from the beleaguered David Letterman, and create my Top-10 list of the most satisfying events in genealogy research. While we’re at it, why not create your own, and post it in the “Comments” below – or post it on your blog, and post a link to your site in the body of a comment below?

Leland’s Top-10 Most Satisfying Genealogy Events

  • 10. Having the winning bid on eBay for a book with my ancestor’s biography in it
  • 9. Breaking what I thought was a brick-wall problem in my research
  • 8. Visiting the home-place where an ancestor lived
  • 7. Finding a relative in a newly-posted online resource
  • 6. Attending a family reunion
  • 5. Locating a new-found cousin
  • 4. Finding a picture or image of an ancestor for whom I had none previously
  • 3. Adding another generation to my pedigree chart
  • 2. Getting my family history into print
  • 1. Playing with a grandchild who I’m sure will take over as the family genealogist when I’m gone

Now create your own Top-10 Most Satisfying Genealogy Events!

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

9 thoughts on “The Top-10 Most Satisfying Genealogy Events”

  1. Miriam- It does? Yes – I think you’re right. But if my little challenge can be compared to Randy’s, then that makes me think it must have been a good idea. 🙂

  2. Hey, you can do the SNGF post this week if you want to! I’m buried in Powerpoint slides because I bit off too much about six months ago when I foolishly agreed to do three new presentations in a two week period. Plus teaching my four session adult ed Genealogy class. Poor martyr of Genea-Musings, eh?

    If you don’t get many responses, then can I use it for Saturday Night, with credit to you for the idea?

    Cheers — Randy

    PS. I completely understand about the grandson…aren’t they fun! And tiring.

  3. Sounds good to me, Randy – whether I get a lot of posts or not. And I wouldn’t know a thing about biting off more than one can chew. That’s the story of my genealogy life.

    Take care, friend, and good luck with all that volunteer genealogy work. We do appreciate everything that you do.

  4. Yes – I agree with those so-called annoying things – they are just “par for the course” (or is that another annoying saying?)

    Off the top of my head my top satisfying genealogical events are (in no particular order):

    10. Having a client who wants me to research all the censuses for all their family. Joy and bliss.
    9. Finally finding my grandfather on the 1871 census and realising I hadn’t found him before because his name was spelt wrong
    8. Holding the birth certificate for my grandfather
    7. Getting anywhere with Irish records
    6. Finding more ancestors and cousins on Friends Reunited
    5. Someone sending me a photo of a portrait of a distant ancestor
    4. Solving a family mystery
    3. Selling my e-book (a future satisfaction!)
    2. Seeing the names of a further generation for the first time
    1. Piecing together a biography of an ancestor

    So much to be thankful for!


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