I have had patrons at the Mesa FamilySearch Library with two extremes over the past week or so. The first extreme is the patron who was looking for information on her Great-grandfather immigrant from England. I made some suggestions like starting with the U.S. Censuses for 1900 that showed when he arrived in the U.S. and also said that he was still an alien after 15 years in the country. The Census showed the year of his arrival. All of this information was greeted with blank stares. She didn’t get it. She had absolutely no reaction to finding the information. Nothing. Not even an “Oh, that’s interesting.” For the life of me, I could not figure out why she was there in the Library. I can only guess that she was expecting the information and was wondering when I was going to tell her where he came from and what ship he came over on.
The next experience was at the other end of the spectrum. This patron came in with all of his genealogy on paper. He had just purchased a genealogical data base program and wanted me to help him get his information into the computer. In his case, I went on New.FamilySearch.org and found that the information he had on paper was already in the FamilySearch database. I helped his download some of the information from New.FamilySearch.org and he had the same reaction as that of the earlier patron. Nothing. Nada. Not a word. Nothing about “Wow, look at all this information I need to review.” I emphasized to him that the information from New.FamilySearch.org was not necessarily correct and that he had to verify it in every detail. But he gave me the idea that his work was now finished and that was all he needed to do, without so much as a thank you very much for your time.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not looking to get thanks or recognition or whatever. What bothers me in both cases is the total lack of connection to the data. Here they are both presented with valuable information about their family with the promise that there may be more, and they act as though they just got the correct change at the supermarket. No interest. No speculation. What a very, very sad way to react for both.
I guess when we are passionate about something, we expect at least polite interest from those around us. But with genealogy you have to get used to being either ignored or actively persecuted. But for someone to spend the time to come to the Library and then react in such a neutral, non-emotional way to specific information about their family is really strange.
From my standpoint, I do not provide help with any expectation of return. Period. What the patrons do with the information is their business and not mine. But that does not prevent me from being sad when I see a total lack of connectivity with history and ancestors.