Saturday, February 19, 2005

Jane's Your Aunt? What's With This Title?

I've been using 'Jane's your aunt', for years, as in
"Press alt, control, delete & Jane's your aunt, (& Bob's your uncle),
that frozen programme's shutting down!"

As a girl, I really thought that 'Bob's your uncle' was western Canadian slang, but apparently not. It's been heard in England, & other Commonwealth countries, including Canada, since at least 1937, according to Michael Quinion, who is my favourite word expert.

Anyway, I like to feminize, or womanize, my expressions (these two words need new definitions, too!), so I started using 'Jane's your aunt'. I see on the web that a few other people use it too.

Till recently, the Toronto, (Ontario, Canada) Public Library had a great genealogy search engine called "Bob's Your Uncle, eh". That's been discontinued, although the library still has a good genealogy section in its Virtual Reference Library.

Since "Bob's Your Uncle, eh!" was so well known in Canadian genealogy, I thought 'Jane's Your Aunt' an almost perfect title for my blog about Canadian genealogy & women's history. (Could be Jeanne, in French.)

Just for the record, I was born & brought up in British Columbia, and don't think I ever heard of that 'eh' before the Bob & Doug McKenzie characters of SCTV's "Great White North" spread it all across our country in the 1970's. Now it seems a point of Canadian honour to add it in somewhere, once a day at least.

Michael Quinion's World Wide Words is at
The Toronto Public Library's Virtual Reference Library is at

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