The Soundtrack to My Genealogical Research (In My Head)

If you are able to find a line of your family tree that dates back to some form of nobility, you can find a lot of interesting people and their names. Some of these names come attached to modern songs, and those songs can tend to get stuck in my head in the midst of my genealogical research. This is part of the playlist that I can dedicate to my distant ancestors. (Did I just infect you with one of my earworms? You’re welcome.)

Who Are You? by The Who

Generally speaking, the whole fascination with ancestry stems from wondering who you are and where you come from. This song is appropriate.

Rock Me, Amadeus by Falco

I dedicate this one to my many generations removed great-grandfathers named Amadeus, like Amadeus I of Savoy, my 30th great-grandfather.

Red, Red Wine by UB40

This one isn’t as straightforward as the first one, but with my 28th great-grandfather Odo “The Red,” Duke of Burgundy, it made me think of wine. Red, red wine. Stay close to me, folks. I’ve got a million more where that came from.

Champagne Supernova

I know that Champagne is a region of France. My 26th great-grandmother, Marie of Champagne, got this song in my head. In my head it also morphed into “Wonderwall,” but that’s only tangentially related.

The “Siegfried and Roy” Song from Father of the Pride

So a while back, there was this hilarious animated sitcom called Father of the Pride that featured the animals from Siegfried & Roy’s Vegas stage show. They had a little ditty that played every time they went on stage. I have a few Siegfried’s in my family tree, like my 30th great-grandfather Siegfried I of Spondheim, and I sing “Siegfried and Roooooooooy!” in my head each time. Not sure if I can queue it up to the 08:53 point when I embed the video here, but you can hear the song at that mark.

We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel

This has more to do with the rhythm of some of my ancestors’ names than anything else. Take, for instance, for 34th great-grandfather, Count Bernhard (Barnhard) of Bavaria. In my head, I’ll start singing, “Bernhard of Bavaria, British Beatlemania, Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson…”

Normandy from Once Upon a Mattress

Show tunes also feature into my ancestral earworms, as I have descended from many Norman nobles. And so an amusing song called “Normandy” from the Broadway musical Once Upon a Mattress – it’s a retelling of The Princess and the Pea – can end up stuck in my head for days.

Do you have any songs that run through your head while working on your family tree? Leave me a comment and spread the earworm. 🙂

Christina Gleason (975 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


  1. Any post that includes a song from The Who is a good one in my book.

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