I Dream of Genealogy

Nowhere Man

By Ken McFarland

[Editor’s Note: A few years ago, during an interminable conversation about family histories—the kind of conversation that proves there are two types of people in the world: genealogy nuts and the rest of us—someone who might have been the editor of PIE & CHAI allowed as to how his people were no doubt of some vague European heritage, but other than that, well, meh, who knew and who cared? Ken McFarland, who had initiated the discussion, was so distraught that he couldn’t sleep for several days and several nights until he took pen in hand and channeled his concern into the following verse, recently discovered in the bottom of one of several boxes containing years of painstaking research into generations of the McFarland clan, who may or may not have once roamed the Scottish Highlands hunting haggis, armed solely with forks and knives (the McFarlands, not the haggises). Or something.] 

He’s the man who comes from nowhere,
Not from England, nor France, nor Spain.
He has no illustrious forebears,
And he suffers immeasurable pain.

He decided to check his DNA
But the findings brought him no mirth.
The papers that came, what did they say?
Your family’s from nowhere on earth.

Genealogists, he has paid big fees
To help him not feel like a chump.
But in lieu of mighty family trees,
They came up with a miserable stump.

No Neustatters or Elsteins to brag about.
No Ruggs or Ackermanns or Stones.
No great leaders for him to shout out loud.
There’s no history at all in his bones.

With this tale I’ll no longer bother
There’s little else I can say.
The answer must be Biblical:
God made him straight out of clay.


Ken McFarland. who reports for Pie & Chai from small town Vermont, was born in Martinsville, VA and grew up in Durham, NC. His place of death has yet to be determined