TSGS Cruiser Blog

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Researchers: Please be Polite!


As I go around to places looking for genealogical data, clues or general information... I am learning more & more that today's "researchers" are somewhat rude and argumentative to the people who are employed to maintain records and other information that help us build our family histories. Does it make sense to be difficult towards those who control access to what you want to find? Being considerate, nice & polite to people that you are requesting information seems to be a "no brainer" - however, many will demand information. If the information is not to their liking, they call the person (who is trying to help them): "liars," "lazy," "incompetent!" I heard one lady say that the clerk in the County Clerks Office was "stupid, if she thought that was correct!" "Researchers" insist that the spelling of a name is always spelled only one way... any other spelling should be corrected immediately - I hope everyone realizes that the way it is spelled in the record (right or wrong) is the way it must stay!

If anyone trying to discover their family history acts this way to those we ask to help us... it hurts the next person that is polite trying to get information. Most of these employees are working with a different agenda than us "genealogists" - their jobs are to maintain records not try to break down brick walls in our research or try to discern how our families existed. Most of these offices are understaffed and are very busy. Sometimes these employees are rude & grouchy when another "genealogists" comes in to bother them and keep them from getting their work done. If you try to be nice, cheerful, polite & considerate, that person just might be less inclined to be rude & grouchy.

Here is just a few thoughts on how you can get what you want and make the person who helped you glad to be of service to you. Try to contact the office in advance by mail, email or phone requesting information using as much info as you can to make the search easier for the clerk. Do your research first by checking what is available online, what is available in the office you are requesting info, etc. Remember to say "please" & "thank-you" - treat these people like friends, not servants!

If you are rude enough, you will likely get very little help. But, if you try to be considerate, you may get someone that leans over backwards to help you get more information that you really want to get!

- Written by JGWest

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