52 Ancestors Week 33: Comedy

+10 votes

52 Ancestors and 52 Photos sharing challenge badgesTime for the next 52 Ancestors challenge!

Please share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:


From Amy Johnson Crow:

Week 33's theme is "Comedy." Have you found something humorous in your research? Perhaps something funny happened while you were researching? Tell the story this week.

Share below!

Participants who share every week can earn badges. If this is your first time participating and you don't have the participation badge, or if you pass a milestone (13 in 13, 26 in 26, 52 in 52) let us know hereClick here for more about the challenge. 

in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
about 3/5ths of the year gone by - Thanks Eowyn for always having these posted and always right on time!
Thank YOU for participating!
Found out I'm distantly related to the little rascals actors.. does that count?
I honestly haven't had any funny stories from family or research. I guess we didn't get the funny bone.

34 Answers

+22 votes
Best answer

My mom's brother was always the comedian of the family and his son (my cousin) was the same.  In looking at my uncle's grandfather (my great-grandfather) I see that playful spirit in some of the family photos.  I never met him but I always envisioned that he had a good comedic sense of humor like my uncle and cousin.

Elmer Ranck (1876 - 1957) and his brother Floyd Ranck (b. 1871) and two young ladies that they were courting:

LInk to the full sized pic: https://www.wikitree.com/photo.php/9/9e/Ranck_family_photos.jpg

by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (573k points)
edited by SJ Baty
What an awesome photo.  These are my Ranck cousins too?  Love it!
Love, love this photo! What a great photo for comedy!
Got to say I love that photo! To plan this out, get everyone on board with it, and then hold for the long flash they took back then had to take some persistence and a real knack for comedy.
What does the sign say?   All I can read is "with" and "fan".

I added a link for the full sized pic but for the sign:

@ Caryl:

Elmer and Caryl are fourth cousins three times removed

Elmer Ranck and Caryl (Short) Ruckert are both descendants of Philip Ranck.

1. Elmer is the son of Oliver Goldsmith Ranck [confident] 
2. Oliver is the son of Jesse Ranck [confident] 
3. Jesse is the son of John Ranck [confident] 
4. John is the son of John Ranck [confident] 
5. John is the son of John Philip Ranck [confident] 
This makes Philip the third great grandfather of Elmer.

1. Caryl is the daughter of Jo (Showalter) Short DNA confirmed 
2. Jo is the daughter of Cecil Oscar Showalter DNA confirmed 
3. Cecil is the son of Oscar Newton Showalter DNA confirmed 
4. Oscar is the son of Perry Lewis Showalter DNA confirmed 
5. Perry is the son of Henry Showalter DNA confirmed 
6. Henry is the son of Mary Magdalena (Ranck) Showalter [confident] 
7. Mary is the daughter of George Ranck [unknown confidence] 
8. George is the son of John Philip Ranck [unknown confidence] 
This makes Philip the sixth great grandfather of Caryl.

Mum says that the two young ladies in the photo are sisters but we do not know their names.  Elmer's wife Faye (this week's photo in Week 33 "Sad") is not one of the ladies in this photo.  It made me wonder if Floyd maybe married one of the ladies.  I don't really know much about Uncle Floyd so I've started to research him.  If one of these ladies did marry in to the family, it would be nice to find their descendants and share the pics with them.
Thanks.  I'm afraid green gooseberries would cause more digestive distress than any medicine could cure.  But the sign
adds just the right touch to the picture.  Old newspapers give us ads that promised to cure almost every condition that existed in those times.  Too bad they didn't actually work.
I dunno - I know people that still swear by ice cream curing a lot of ills. Especially as a cure for depression.
A warm green gooseberry pie with ice cream on it would certainly make me happy today!
Ice cream ,YES.  All the pills advertised are the ones I am
referring to in the old ads.  Mostly some form of alcohol
as I understand it.  Don't gooseberries turn reddish when they are ripe?
As for gooseberries, when I would stay with my three great aunts in northern Missouri, near Iowa, we would make wonderful pies out of the little green ones that grew there. I bought some larger purple ones in the grocery store, and the pie was not very good. I live too far south in Oklahoma to have gooseberries. I sure miss my aunts and those pies.
No expert on gooseberries here in northern New York.  Those
I see grow along roadsides, and most are above my safe reach.  All I could pick in a week wouldn't make a five inch pie, if I found a tin that small!  Never tried to eat any.
+14 votes

I haven't encountered anything I'd consider humorous while researching. But I do have funny story about my grandfather Frank McCarty Mathews who came to live with my family for a short time before his death in 1958.

I don't remember how long he lived with us or why he was there. He was just there one morning when I got up and this white-haired gentleman was sitting in my seat!

Mom said he was my grandfather. She poured milk over my cereal and told me to eat. She turned back to the stove and finished making bacon and eggs for his breakfast. I sat down and began eating. Mom handed him his plate of food. He bowed his head and said his grace.

I was quite startled when I saw him pick up a bottle of ketchup and pour it over his eggs. It wasn't a little bit, you couldn't see eggs under the ketchup!

"Mom! Mom! Why is he putting ketchup on his eggs?"

She replied, "Some people like it that way."

What is funny is that this is the only memory I have of my grandfather who died when I was 6.

by Diane Hildebrandt G2G6 (9.4k points)
It is a lovely story. Be sure to add it to his profile for future generations to read about.
+14 votes

I was very close with my maternal grandmother   Caryl Pruett Showalter.  She lived a long life of ninety years so over the years I was able to ask her lots of questions about her life.  She never told me a story that I learned while researching her and creating her biography about her engagement to my grandpa. Their engagement was announced at the weekly evening meeting at the Baptist church "by letting the "cat out of the bag,"' Miss Pruett and her hostess actually resorted to that expedient. A complacent household pet was liberated among the guests from a large paper bag, to reveal the information that the young couple were planning to be married."  Here is a photo of them in later years. 

by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (129k points)
Ha! Can't say that I've ever heard of someone literally letting the cat out of the bag, but you are 100% right - that had to be one complacent feline to calmly allow them to carry him/her around like that and then be let out in a strange place. Funny story.
Nicely done!  My grandmother said she was "blown away" by my marriage announcement, and then she lay down on the floor to illustrate.  I think she'd have liked your gran.
+14 votes

This is a photo of my uncle Scott Marvin Jr. driving out to an oil rig in Wyoming. He followed in the footsteps of my grandfather Scott Marvin Sr. working as an oil well driller. Because the oil field workers would come from several states, their favorite jokes were making fun of each others states. We from Oklahoma did not like being called Okies when I was a child, but it seems to be fine today, as we like Merle Haggard's song--Okie From Muskogee. My uncle did have a favorite Okie joke, and this is it. "You can tell how rich an Okie is by how much junk he has in his front yard."

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Mach 6 (67.3k points)
That is cute, Alexis. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Cheryl, he was such a wonderful uncle.
+9 votes
My Uncle was a big comedian - he'd always come over to the house and joke with us kids, hiding coins behind our ears, making us wind up his thumb and then his hand would flop all all over the table, and silly stuff like that. When we were younger we thought it was hilarious. Even when we grew up we had fond memories of him coming over to entertain us.

Well, flash forward to the day he passed away. We went to the funeral and ran into a woman there who was one of his close friends. While we were talking just before the funeral started, she was telling my wife and I that my Uncle had always wanted to go into the ground, but only after he'd smoked his last cigarette. He'd apparently been talking with the funeral director before he passed away and they had been talking about some sort of way to get him to sit up in the coffin, light up a cigarette, and put it to his lips before they closed it up and sent him on his way.

I swear we sat back in the seats and tried so hard not to laugh the whole time. We had to stop looking at each other, as each time we'd see that look in one or the other's eyes, we'd start laughing (as quietly as we could) and then stuff our fists in our mouths and try to stifle it. We had a few people giving us odd looks the whole time, especially when the Masons showed up and performed a very serious and solemn part of the ceremony to honor their brother Mason. We kept it together through that part, but I know he'd have appreciated the joke (even though he never did sit up and smoke that last one).
by Scott Fulkerson G2G6 Pilot (416k points)
Many years ago, as a sole supporting parent, I worked on preparing my children for my eventual demise.  I broke it to them gently by saying "you know, I'm dying".  *cue the shocked looks and gasps of outrage*

I followed up by explaining that every one of us is dying from the moment we are born, we just don't know when.  (There was more .. and they lapped it up.)

One of the other things I said to them was that for my funeral,  once everyone had filed into the church and sat down, they were to trigger a recording of my voice telling those present "now all of you get up, move around, and sit somewhere you never normally sit".  (The congregation all had "their" places in "their" pews and it was sometimes amusing to see what happened if some visitor sat in "their" places.)
I know exactly what you mean, Melanie! My Dad actually seems to believe that his name is etched on his seat somewhere (even though I'm sure he knows that's not the case). But that would definitely freak everyone out to hear the Voice From Beyond telling them to move around a bit. Some of them might just move as far as the parking lot after that... ;)
I remember reading a snippet in a Reader's Digest many ears ago that described this very thing.

The setting: some church somewhere in America.

The characters: a family of five, not exactly Twiggy-esque, and a somewhat more slender couple from out of town.

The pew.

Church service one Sunday saw (I don't recall if the story said "new to town", or "passing through") a young married couple arrive and take their seats in a  vacant pew.  Some short while later the family who would normally sit in that pew showed up.  Despite there being insufficient room for seven people of all the same size, this family of five, each one larger than either of the couple, proceeded to squeeze themselves in beside the young couple.  None of the five would sit anywhere else, because this was THEIR pew.  It had always been their pew.  Their ancestors has sat in the same pew.

That must have been one of the most uncomfortable services ever .. and I'll bet it seemed as though it lasted forever.
Oh Scott, I imagine your Uncle would have been pleased as punch if he could have seen you snickering at his funeral.  I wonder how the funeral director kept a straight face.
+14 votes

A weak joke this week.  I forge ahead nonetheless with 52 ancestors, 52 surnames. Her name is Maria Eva Hamen https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hamen-2 and I don't know if she was a ham, but I know I'm often tempted to be one! 


by Margaret Summitt G2G6 Mach 4 (47.1k points)
I get it! HaHa!!

Made me smilesmiley

You are!
+12 votes

Another tough one for me.  I seem to come from a very staid family tree, as does my husband.  Neither of us could think of one comical person among our clans.  But I remembered that my husband had a great uncle, Leroy Samse, who was in Vaudeville (after receiving the Silver Medal at the Olympics for pole vaulting in 1904).  The question was, "Was it a funny act?"  I found an article on the internet that answered that -- https://www.kokomotribune.com/sports/kitchell-samse-here-s-the-rest-of-the-story/article_407302c0-43fb-56a5-b96c-c4fc9d7e8aff.html .  It stated that Leroy was the straight man — the serious gymnast — while his equally talented partner (one of his acrobatic friends) was the clown.  Their act which traveled with Vaudeville acts all over the mid-west was usually billed as "The Sensational Triple Bar Act".  Unfortunately, I have been unable so far to discover what their act actually entailed, but it must have been good as it appears they worked steadily until they moved on to other occupations.  Eventually Leroy ended up teaching in California which was what he really enjoyed.

by Robin Shaules G2G6 Pilot (325k points)
According to Google, a "triple bar" is a trapeze with 3 bars all attached. So not sure how that would work with 2 people, except that maybe the straight man would swing and do flips and such and the clown would harass him on the bar by either joining him on the trapeze or from the nearby platforms and pretend to try to knock him off.

In general, it sounds like it would definitely be entertaining to watch.
Thanks for that, Scott. Your descriptions sounds feasible to me. I'm going to try to get in touch with one of Leroy's grandsons and see if he can give me any more information. I'll let you know if I learn anything new.
+7 votes

How I got in contact with cousins in Italy is a bit of a funny story: https://allroadhaverhill.blogspot.com/2019/08/52-ancestors-week-33-comedy.html

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (243k points)
+11 votes

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Buzzelli-12  This is the sister of my gg grandmother. In 1897 at the age of 17 she and her boyfriend ran off from their home in Niagara Falls, NY. They turned up in Philly where she had herself declared an orphan and then got married. 

by Jim Tareco G2G6 Mach 2 (28.3k points)
+12 votes

My dad (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Baldwin-10524) was hilarious when it came to tall tales that seemed absolutely believable and pure (and sometimes impure) comedy. One of the most memorable was a camping trip taken around 1968 with my dad, stepmom, brother and sister-in-law, and another couple with whom my ex-husband and I spent a great deal of time. It was camping in the rough in state parks with sleeping bags, campfires and outhouses. We camped one weekend. On one of the days early in the morning, my friend, Janelle, and I went to use the outhouse. A light was shining up from her side of the two-seater. When we returned, she was carrying on about a light shining on her behind. My dad didn't miss a beat! He said, "Janelle, don't you know that's the crack inspector?" We knew that we were in for a yarn and the gleam in his eye warned us that we better not laugh and ruin the fun. He went on to explain to her that every 12 months or so, a park ranger was required to don a deep sea diver-type suit and submerge in the human brine in order to make sure the out house holes were large enough to accommodate various sizes and shapes of behinds. The only way this could be done was to shine a light from below to make sure the outhouse holes were adequate. It was incredibly believable in the telling and Janelle gullible enough to believe (she hadn't been around my dad enough to not believe him). My sister-in-law and I had to walk away and listen as our faces would have spoiled the fun. My dad died 37 years ago; however, we still laugh until we weep sharing the "Crack Inspector" story with our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends. He was gifted in this type of comedy in the spinning of a yarn, telling a tall tale and making it sound absolutely plausible. And, yes, the crack inspectors do get paid double time for this work.

by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Mach 5 (59.9k points)
Oh my - sounds like he was a real character for sure. Got to love the ability to come up with stories on the spot like that. Much better than simple snipe hunts or ghost stories, although from the sounds of things, he might have been good at those too!
+10 votes

Have you found something humorous in your research? Perhaps something funny happened while you were researching?


As I don't have any rip-roaringly funny ancestors (except, maybe, my great-great-grandfather the Judge—whose dry humour seems to match my own), I'll go with the above suggestion of something funny found.

Most people would know those we refer to as "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" (unknown .. inconnu(spelling?)), but we sometimes forget their cousin "Joe Blow".  Well, one day I was doing immigration research and came across a real guy named Joseph Blow.  You could have heard me blocks away, I laughed so loudly.

Then, too, is the expression many of us here use of "going down the rabbit hole".  

I forget exactly who it was I was looking up on the Queensland BDM site, but among the result offerings below my search was a "Charlotte Rabbitt".  Seriously.  Again, I laughed aloud, so louldy  I'm sure I startled my neighbour's cats!  What amused me even more was .. me being me, I decided to look up this Rabbitt (ie, I followed it down the Rabbitt hole).  In so doing I found that there was a daughter Rabbitt who had also had children, one of whom was Alice Rabbitt. 

Then, too, a granddaughter of "my" Charlotte Rabbitt was Florence Emily Rabbitt, who just happened to marry a Victor August Emmanuel Blank.  Yes, Blank.  I kid you not.

I had so much enjoyment researching these Rabbitts (also Rabbit) that I tracked down the one I took to calling "Papa Rabbit", back to Bedfordshire, England.  I have yet to complete documenting his parents and siblings, but I have a multi-page text document just for "my" Rabbitts and intend to add the rest of those I have in between sourcing and doing other things. 

Week 33 .. 33rd week participating.

by Melanie Paul G2G6 Pilot (187k points)
Careful with the rabbits, once you find two, the numbers keep growing.

Oh, I know.  I know.  Rabbitt (and rabbit) holes can be unending!  laugh

"My" Alice, though, her lot (no longer Rabbitts) was stopped by the privacy cutoff.  I still have sideways to go, though, as she had siblings.  Not to forget Papa Rabbitt (Rabbit) and his English forebears.  (Nice term, that, does it mean we should also look for bears)

I live in British Columbia, and always look out for bears.  

Plus I came across a Bearse or Barss family in New England and Nova Scotia, so its possible to do.

Now, don't you go setting me off on falling into a bear cave!  laugh

+17 votes

Apologies in advance for a bit of lame humour.

Sometimes in my research I've encountered births and marriages that create combined names that make me smile. 

The one I want to pick this week is a lady called Elizabeth Speedy.

She moved around a bit with her parents – they originally migrated from Ireland to Australia and then from Australia to Canada. When she was in Canada she got married, to my delight, to Wilfred Russell Trotter, so she became Elizabeth Speedy Trotter.

by Linda Hawkes G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
Don't know why, but this really made me laugh. Unintentional names like that are always good for a chuckle. Thanks for sharing.
Maybe it was lame, but I thought it was good. Made me chuckle! Thanks.
+13 votes

My Grandfather, Harold "Hal" Knott Rammel (1892-1930) was an editor and writer for a newspaper in Escanaba, Delta, Michigan.

He was always interested in the cartoons in the newspaper.  So he took a course in cartoon drawing.

Below are a couple of his original drawings.  Some of his were actually published.  Maybe because he was the editor?cool

by Bill Sims G2G6 Mach 2 (26.5k points)
+13 votes

I have always been mildly amused by the fact that one of my ancestral family names is Cushion, with James Cushion being my brickwall ancestor on that line.
I haven't found a child named Whoopee yet laughlaughlaugh

by Ray Hawkes G2G6 Mach 2 (20.5k points)
I had neighbors down the street - Mr. and Mrs. Woods.

They proceeded to name their two girls.

Gay Woods

Holly Woods

I was sure there was some intention in those names, but we tried not to make fun of them too much, as they were lots of fun to hang out with, and as kids, you try to get along in the neighborhood - especially when they have the best yard for certain types of sports.
+10 votes
I have been accused of making family history notes on anything - my kids homework, margins of pictures, napkins, etc. but the funniest family tree I saw was carefully recorded on a pedigree form for cattle. Wish I could find it now.
by Judith Chidlow G2G6 Mach 2 (28.2k points)
Thats funny Judith!  thanks for the chuckle
Not funny, but FYI, The Master Genealogist was used by breeders because it was flexible enough. Wonder what they are using now? RootsMagic?
+11 votes

Anyone else descended from Captain Jack Sparrow, my 9th great-grandfather on my mother's side?

I was warned there were pirates in the family tree, but I was still startled to find him.  Long story short, he was Captain of the militia, a landlubber, and it's not likely he used mascara - but its still a bit of a chuckle.

by Laurie Giffin G2G6 Mach 5 (56k points)


Laurie, I wanted to share this picture with you. Our own has an annual Gladiolus Festival, and every year Capt. Jack Sparrow shows up. When I read your story, I knew I had to share his picture with you.

Fabulous! Thank you so much
Laurie - his picture could be considered funny. But the kids run from him in the parades. They are afraid of him.
+8 votes

Interesting topic. I have a relative who used to sit on his front porch and shoot at visitors. I was amused by the story, but can't remember who it was. Scratch that.

I do remember my Aunt Patricia telling me about her uncle James Leo Patrick Brien, who used to tease her and was considered to be "funny" He met with an untimely death at the age of 18.

I'll also point to the profile of George Jessel, comedian. Only he's not my ancestor, just one of the many profiles I've worked on.

by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
We have two signs on our big electric front gate:  "WARNING: Area Patrolled by Standard Poodles, Inc." and "No Trespassing! We're Tired of Hiding the Bodies."

In reality, we breed standard poodles and have 12 adults now with seven puppies still to sell from the last litter and another litter due in a week. Poodles are a very affectionate dog. If you aren't threatening one of us, they will just bark and lick you. They are great for service dogs, but not guard dogs.
My coffee buddy has a poodle, small size, That dog is incredibly smart.
Make that x2 for the standard sized. --or more. The Standards are the originals. We had to replace all our lever door knobs because the dogs would open the doors.
+11 votes

Not exactly "comedy" but it gave me a good chuckle. My GGGF Philip Forsyth(1814-1891) like most of my ancestors arrived in California not as 49ers, but as early 50ers. The were a tough and rather wild bunch but Philip seemed to make the local papers due to misbehavior more than most. The following two articles appeared within days of each other in the Sacramento Bee in March 1860. 

week 4 for me!

by Lyn Sara Gulbransen G2G2 (2.5k points)
edited by Lyn Sara Gulbransen
Love it!  He jumped over the butcher and got off scot-free
+10 votes

I am always slightly amused when I am working on the Budds family. One of several unusual surnames, including Onions which I have encountered while researching my tree.

by David Urquhart G2G6 Mach 4 (44.5k points)
+11 votes

What could be more fitting than the comic opera HMS Pinafore?  My great grandfather John Adams Glover played the male lead, Ralph, in a school production of Pinafore.  The whole Glover family was very musical so I’m sure he was great.  The genes have carried on so that following generations have done musical comedy and even tho I was an engineering student in college I was in productions like Once Upon a Mattress. Here is JA as Ralph:

by Ward Hindman G2G6 (6.2k points)
He looks the part. Thanks for sharing his pictures as well as your family musical history.

Related questions

+12 votes
22 answers
370 views asked Aug 13, 2018 in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (600k points)
+10 votes
55 answers
913 views asked 4 days ago in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+10 votes
45 answers
850 views asked Aug 5 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+19 votes
45 answers
703 views asked Jul 29 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+12 votes
48 answers
448 views asked Jul 23 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+10 votes
58 answers
825 views asked Jul 15 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+12 votes
52 answers
563 views asked Jul 8 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+12 votes
55 answers
758 views asked Jul 1 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+14 votes
62 answers
780 views asked Jun 24 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+13 votes
67 answers
1.1k views asked Jun 18 in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright