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Tribute to the Genealogist

Updated on September 14, 2012

No Evil Minded Person

Some time ago, while researching my family history, I stumbled across this passage and it really touched me. This verse can be found in the introduction to a book on the Buell Family. The book, a 500 page genealogy, was compiled by a man named Albert Welles and published in the 1880’s. He is noted in the title page as the president of the “American College for Genealogy Registry, Family History and Heraldry,” which was located in New York.

So here it is, an ode to the genealogist:

"No evil-minded person ever felt any interest in his ancestors, or made any efforts to rescue their History from oblivion. The Genealogist is hereditarily and constitutionally a good man. The pride of Ancestry is the foundation of pride of character, and no man can be great without it. The most important and valuable occupation for a man of refinement and culture is to write the History of his family. It is also a most delightful and absorbing pursuit, in-as-much as the Genealogist never wearies with this work. After many years of toil and persistent investigations he is as fresh and vigorous as in the early days. Accumulation of material only adds to the desire for more, and when once he begins, he continues a Genealogist during his entire lifetime . . . "

Credited to Albert Welles, 1881.

This passage was found in the book “History of the Buell Family” (full title: “History of the Buell Family in England from the Remotest Times Ascertainable from Our Ancient Histories and in America from Town, Parish, Church and Family Records”). If you are interested, the book (including its introduction) can be read at Google Books.


Fitting Tribute

Mr. Welles was a genealogist who published a number of books around the turn of the century. I have tried to find out more about him but not come up with much. Back in April of 2011, I wrote a short article at my genealogy blog about this passage which I called "An Ode to the Genealogist." I am so fond of the verse that I thought I should repeat it here. Keep in mind that this was written at another time so it talks about the genealogist as a male (for you female genealogists, sorry about). I also want to point out that I see this as a fitting dedication to all of the genealogists that did the hard word of researching family histories over the last 150 years, especially the early ones.

I hope you enjoyed it . . .


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      Bruce 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Thanks for the comment - I really did stumble on this by accident - after all, who reads the introduction to old genealogy texts? But I'm glad I found it - a real gem.

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      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      That is a great quote. I am not sure everyone believes that all genealogists are good, men or women, but I believe it, and I especially like the latter half of the quote that it is something that you don't tire of.