Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pet Peeves

What would a blog be, if the blogger didn't occasionally gripe about their pet peeves?

Okay, maybe it would be a happier blog. But what if the griping could improve your research experience??  That would make it worth it, right?

So take a look at the following list of genealogy librarian's pet peeves and make sure you NEVER commit any of these blunders!

Genealogy Librarian's Pet Peeves

  • Misspelling G-E-N-E-A-L-O-G-Y. It is not geneology or geneaology. It is genealogy. If you are going to do it, learn how to spell it. Or use "family history research" instead.
  • While we are on spelling... C-E-M-E-T-E-R-Y not cemetary. I have to admit that I used to misspell this one regularly until a friend kindly corrected me. Thank-you Anne!
  • Advertisements to buy your family crest or your family history.  A family doesn't have a crest.
    Not meant to be representative
     of  fake family crests.
    An individual is granted the right to use a crest. It may or may not be inherited. The purchased family histories usually consist of a phone directory of everyone with your surname and some generic history.
  • The myth: Our name was changed at Ellis Island. No. It wasn't. Immigrants had papers from their home country that they carried with them. Ellis Island had interpreters. Think about it. The place was full of people who spoke foreign languages, some of whom also spoke English. However, many immigrants chose to change their name later, to blend in and be more "American."
  • "It has to be online!"People who believe the Internet has all the family history information they need. Even when the archive's web site says you have to visit the building or tells how to order the paper copy. I have had members argue with me on this one. 
  • People who want "everything on my Smith family". Really? You want everything on the Smith family? Are you willing to pay for that? A proper request  identifies a specific family, time period, and place. Example: Jeremiah Smith who lived from 1840-1898 in Litchfield, Medina County, Ohio.
  • People who don't understand that not everything is digitized. Digitization costs time and money, both of which are in short supply in libraries. Yes, we would love to digitize our local paper and yearbooks. But we don't have the time or money.
  • People who believe everything they find online is true. Or even everything in print is true. Caveat Emptor! Just like everything else in life, you have to look at genealogy information with a critical eye. Evaluate the source.
  • No, the library does not have your house history or house blueprints on file.
  • Online genealogy without any source citation. Some of my favorite web sites have this problem. Someone posts the wrong information. It gets picked up and repeated by everyone else. Yet no one knows how it got started, because it wasn't cited.
  • I won't name any names, but I detest big commercial genealogy databases that talk individuals into voluntarily uploading all their genealogy data and then that same company selling subscriptions to that information. 
  • People who fervently believe they are related to someone famous or have Native American ancestry and resist all factual information that doesn't agree with their illusion.
  • People who won't ask for help when it is obvious that they need it. Here some one needed help with our microfilm machine. Now there is a roll of microfilm with a jagged edge somewhere in the 1000s of rolls of film that the library owns. 

Ok. I will step off of my soap box now...


Kat said...

Oh, also those people who say their family genealogy is all done. Really? Your furthest back ancestor, who are his/her parents??

Anonymous said...

"No, the library does not have your house history or house blueprints on file." - Just for clarification, if someone needs this, they are supposed to contact the county auditor's office. Is that correct?

Kat said...

No one has the house blue prints for houses built in Medina.
For Historic Home research, please see our informational brochure at: