Providing practical, down-to-earth advice for family historians since 1995, online since 1985.
Attitudes & Courtesies
The individual initially asked that I explain the difference between A & B. It was a simple, 20-times-a-week-request, so I responded with the appropriate material. The same information is readily available for all 29,000+ mailings lists at RootsWeb (including DearMYRTLE's mailing list.) In reply, I received the aforementioned award-winning email, where the person insisted that my response was inadequate and demanded more information. I should have typed "demanded" in capital letters to more accurately reflect the writer's tone. I chose not to respond.
Let me say this: I certainly hope that person either receives an immediate attitude adjustment or refrains from any additional genealogical research.
He/she could seriously spoil things for the rest of us.
Being grouchy and demanding doesn't work with me -- but more importantly, it most certainly won't work with archivists, clerks of courts or librarians.
Fortunately most genealogists do their homework, and don't put the responsibility on everyone else for learning, postulating, sleuthing, thinking of alternative resources or record collections, and drawing conclusions about family history research.
We "save up" and don't ask our "big" questions until after we've spent hours attempting to solve the problem on our own, by reading how-to books, society newsletters and online articles, in addition to talking with fellow genealogists on or offline.
Unfortunately in this high-speed, instant-messaging world, a few people tend to expect things to be handled immediately.
But just as in the olden days before computers, we cannot expect people to instantly deliver our family history (everything we have on the Jones' family) to us on a silver platter.
In my case, I receive about 500-700 emails per day, and cannot answer each one personally. When the radio show starts again, that number will reach about 5,000 during a typical broadcast hour. <sigh> YES, I do realize that some of you get quoted more often than others. I try to watch for "trends" in the email questions to determine topics for upcoming columns. Sometimes I am just talking about recent research experiences of my friends. This isn't a big corporation here. If you could see my computer desk, you'd understand.
Big corporations, governmental agencies and even ol' "Gramma Myrtle" organizations like this one have just plain, regular folks working there. These folks need our respect and appreciation. (I need to remember this when wondering how MyFamily.com will handle my "lost" online class registration.) Regular folks will bend over backwards to help "nice" people out there. We all are put off by "huffy" people.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A little honey attracts more... well you know.
Hmmm, I wonder if a box of chocolates will be welcomed by the reference librarian in the next county?
Happy family tree climbing!