The Laws Of Genealogy (updated by our members)
1. The document containing evidence of the missing link in your research has been lost due to fire, flood or war.
2. The keeper of the vital records you need will just have had an argument with a previous genealogist.
3. Your great, great grandfather's obituary states that he died leaving no issue.
4. The town clerk you wrote in desperation, and finally convinced to give to you the information you need, can't write legibly, and doesn't have a copying machine.
5. The will you need is in the safe on board the "Titanic."
6. The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.
7. Copies of old newspapers have holes which only occur on last names.
8. No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, they always
rented property, never sued, never went to gaol or were never named in anyone's will.
9. You learned that great aunt Matilda's executor just sold her life's
collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer.
10. Yours is the ONLY last name not found among the three billion in the world-famous Mormon archives in Salt Lake City.
11. Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.
12. The 37 volume, 16,000 page history of your county of origin isn't
13. The critical link in your family tree is named "Smith."
14. No matter how large the collection of special records, the one you are searching for is NEVER there!
15. You finally send away for that necessary certificate, and your aunt tells you she's had the original in a box under her bed for years.
16. The box of family photographs, you found in uncle Edgar's house after he died, have no names or dates on them
17. Your aunt can remember exactly how many times you missed sending her a birthday card, but not why her father went in gaol.
18. Everyone that shares your last name, but is not related is listed in great detail, your ancestor has nothing.
19. The family Bible that contains all the names you are researching was given to a person who doesn't care who any of his relatives are, and either misplaced, sold at a garage sale, or gave away the family Bible to his neighbor who is collecting Bibles to be sent to a mission in a non-English speaking nation.
20. The elderly great-aunt who could help you fill in the missing pieces says, "I don't believe in dredging up the past" and changes the subject - again.
Some of the above laws I found in The Hawkesbury Crier
of June 2006 (archived) author is unknown
The rest have been added by Family Tree Circle members