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From the Green Valley News, Friday 4 January 2008, page C4

Genealogy Today, by Betty Malesky

The Genealogistsí 10 Pet Peeves

Genealogists by nature must be resourceful. Family records may be found in the strangest places. We learn to take whatever we find and figure out later how to verify its authenticity. Attics and barns have been known to harbor family memorabilia for decades until some interested person happens upon the treasure horde, hopefully before some disinterested person trashes it as "junk."

In the name of research, we meet with many frustrations. Green Valley Genealogical Society member Richard Warren Welch shared with me his 10 pet peeves, and gave me permission to share them here. If you are a family researcher, you will certainly relate. If youíre not a researcher but are guilty of any of the indiscretions listed below, you may want to reconsider your action.

  1. Antique shops with a basket full of tintypes, cartes de visites, and daguerreotypes labeled "instant ancestors."
  2. Writing to someone and enclosing a stamped return envelope, but it never comes back. I suspect they peel off the stamp and use it on a "more important" letter.
  3. People who sell family a Bible, but rip out the family history pages because they wonít "relate" to any prospective buyers.
  4. People who brag about the Internet site where they found "all" their ancestors immediately. Do you mean Iíve been wasting my time for the past 45 years? I wish it were that easy.
  5. People who put "scads" of genealogical information on the Internet or in a book and donít bother to give even one source.
  6. Genealogies that go back to Charlemagne or beyond with not one date or place given for any individual and not one source listed. "What do you mean I made it up?"
  7. Relatives who want to see all the data youíve collected, but wonít give you their grandchildrenís birth dates.
  8. People who publish queries with only a minimum of information: "I am searching for all Smiths everywhere."
  9. People who send an email saying, "Iím researching the same Jones family as you are. Send me everything you have about them."
  10. Relatives who have a trunk full of family photos and/or letters, but wonít let you see them because they think they might be worth a lot of money and you might steal them.

And finally, NOT a pet peeve: Relatives like my Dadís cousin, Floyd, who called me in December 1967 to say he had a gift for me. I went to his home in Pontiac, Michigan, and he gave me a box filled with family photos, my great-grandfather Jacob Welchís Civil War Diary, newspaper clippings, obituaries and death notices back to the 1860s, as well as hundreds of other 19th century family documents. Floyd died two months after he gave me the material.

Sadly, unlike Richardís cousin Floyd, many people forget their ancestors do not belong solely to them. Within four generations one couple may have over 100 descendants. Usually the family Bible, photographs, diaries, etc., are passed down to only one descendant. With todayís technology itís simple and relatively inexpensive to copy nearly any record. If you have family information that can enlighten the genealogist in your family, please do make copies and share them with the researcher who would gladly pay any costs involved.

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