There are quite a few genealogical practices (stuff done by genealogists) that I am going to target during the coming year. Not that I have neglected any of these in the past, but I thought it might be a good idea to put the genealogical community on notice. This is just in case you find your own practices on the list. I tried hard to distill these irksome practices down to a measly ten, but here are the ones that I particularly remembered from past years.
OK, before I get to the list perhaps I will qualify why I am making this list and how I intend to target the bad (unacceptable, poor, lacking in quality, whatever) practices. I think advanced notice is only fair. Do I really expect that the people who exemplify these worst of the worst practices read my blog? I would be very surprised if they did. You might be able to tell from the list that blog readers and blog writers would never do any of the things I have listed.
This list is for purely didactic purposes only. I am certain that education will solve all of these problems and I will kindly and patiently help anyone, anytime, anyplace (as long as I don't have to travel too far) in overcoming any of these practices. I must admit that some of the people with these practices are beyond help and helping them is left to my sole discretion. I have been known to find a very valid excuse for not continuing a conversation with some of the people who fall into these categories.
There really wasn't much of a competition for number one on the list, but the rest are sort of random as I happened to think of them.
1. People who claim they have their genealogy line or lines back to Adam. It should be abundantly clear why this is the number one worst. I have to admit this is a problem I avoid. If I happen to get into a conversation with someone who makes this claim, I politely (or sometimes not so politely) change the subject and start talking about politics or the weather or sports or whatever I can come up with at the moment. Hearing this literally makes my stomach hurt.
2. People who come into the Family History Center and ask to have their genealogy printed out and expect it to be all done. I fully realize that this comes entirely from ignorance, but I don't deal with this level of ignorance too well.
3. People who copy information directly from an online compiled family tree without sources. This could almost be number one because I run into it a lot more than it is humanly possible to bear. I have written about this several times and have probably beat it to death. But I fully expect to see this again and again and again during the coming year. I did see it already once today. What is there about the word "source" that makes it so difficult to understand?
4. People who think (or claim) that their genealogy is done. Unfortunately, this is commonly heard from people who cannot even name their own four grandparents from memory without referring to a file or pedigree chart. I realize that "done" is a relative term, but it is used with finality and as an excuse for not bothering with the whole subject of genealogy at all.
5. People who assume that young people can do genealogy because they know how to use a cell phone. You need to understand that I have 31 grandchildren and have been a Boy Scout leader for over thirty years. I am still looking for that rare young person who has the tech background and at the same time, an interest in genealogy. I know they exist, I just haven't met one yet. The potential is definitely there, but the reality lags far behind.
6. People who are still using Personal Ancestral File. This is my most controversial pet peeve. I am fully aware that there are free online available upgrades to the program. I am not talking about PAW2U or any of the other programs, I am talking about people who don't yet know anything else exists. There is a sub-category of these people who not only are using the program but are antagonistic to the idea of changing to anything else believing that PAF is the one true program and cannot be replaced.
7. People who keep all their genealogy files on one flash drive and that's it. I cannot tell you how many people I know that have done hundreds of hours of work on their genealogy but the only copy they have of their file is on one (usually very old) flash drive. This one sends me screaming off into the desert.
8. People who have multiple copies of their genealogy files on various storage devices and even various computers and cannot remember or tell which one was the last one they worked on. I know it is politically incorrect to say anything about the impaired or handicapped, but this is an amazingly common and very difficult to resolve problem. Yes, I know how to do it. Yes, I do it all the time. Yes, I can sort out up to twenty or even fifty different versions of the same file, but that still makes me go crazy just thinking about it. The subset of this group are the people who have all these files on floppy disks!!!!!!!!!!!!
9. People who call me just after the only copy of their genealogy has gone up in smoke on a failed hard drive. I realize that these people are related to the flash drive people, but they only seem to call after their drive has crashed, never before when I could tell them how to make a backup copy of their files.
Well, you can guess how much further the list could go on and on, but here is the last entry for the day.
10. People who will not accept that they are related to someone who spelled their name differently. Oh, I'm not related to that person, I spell my name with an "e" not an "o." This one usually makes me walk away and ask someone else to help the person. Sometimes, I have enough self control to explain how spelling practices change and how people didn't necessarily spell their own name the same way all the time and how census takers were not authorities on spelling and so forth and so forth, but if I encounter any resistance, I give up.
Well, that's it for today. I am sure as this new year progresses I will be right there with my rants and raves about some practice or another. Thanks so much to all those bright, simple souls who listen carefully and are really interested in have a good genealogical experience. They make it all worth while.