I received a disturbing email this week from “Maggie” (named changed for privacy). Maggie said that she took my advice and joined the local genealogical society. Maggie is a brand new researcher and was very excited about meeting other researchers in the area. She went to the first meeting and was taken aback by the way she was treated. She asked some questions during the meeting that some of the other members thought were “stupid.” The more experienced researchers made Maggie feel like she was incapable of doing family research. She left the meeting totally dejected.
Y’all know I am a nurse and nurse’s have the very bad reputation of “eating their young.” Basically this means that the older, experienced nurses pretty much go out of their way to make the lives of the new graduates miserable. We were warned about it in school and unfortunately, it was pretty much true. I have seen new graduates quit nursing in their first year because of how they were treated by their fellow nurses. It saddens me greatly that genealogists would act this way. Genealogy is one of those hobbies/professions where networking and cooperation are very important.
Maggie did have one good thing to say. She said that a member of the group came up to her after the meeting and apologized for the way she had been treated by the others. This person offered to answer all of Maggie’s questions and help her with her research. If it hadn’t been for this one person Maggie might have just called it quits.
I will say that I have been guilty of moaning and groaning about some of the stuff that is posted on Ancestry.com and the like but I will also say that when I actually contact the person that posted the information I always try to be very kind and constructive. I offer to send them whatever documentation that I might have along with citations. I also try to give them some words of encouragement and helpful tips. It is very easy in genealogy to develop a “holier than thou” attitude and you just need to keep yourself in check.
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis