Sunday, March 16, 2014

Learning to say no

Once friends find out that you are a genealogist/family historian you will start getting a lot of requests to probe their family histories.  The problem is, many times these people have no idea how much time is involved even looking up simple things (if you are doing it properly).  Pretty soon you might find yourself doing more work for others than for yourself.   This is an easy trap to fall into and I want to warn you about it.  Your good intentions just might just come back to bite you. 

Over the years I have cut down on the amount of freebie research I do.  I will take on a freebie case for a friend if it is particularly interesting to me for some reason and if I know it is something I can research quickly.  I answer questions from blog readers because that is just part of having a blog like this one, though normally what I do is I point them in the right direction so that they can find the answers themselves.  I can do that with the blog readers because they too are genealogists.  With friends that doesn’t normally work. 

I used to feel pretty guilty when I had to tell someone no but now I just tell them that I am swamped (which I am). 


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

1 comment:

  1. I have found the best way to nip these requests in the bud is to ask the friend to give me a list of everything he/she remembers about their parents, grandparents, etc. so I will have a starting point. 90% of the time, they never get it to me. The 10% that actually do the work show me that they really want to know the answer (and may even be willing to pay for it in the future) Problem solved :)