Sunday, July 27, 2008

No Bad Information....Bad Clients? Well......

Seven weeks ago I auctioned a 2 hour research project off on eBay. The project went to a young girl who sent payment by check, for 99 cents. I went ahead and performed the research and attempted to email it to her on three separate occasions. Each time her email was sent back to me stating that her email addy would not accept attachments. I attempted to send her messages on all three occasions requesting her to adjust her controls on her email, or to send me a different email addy. All of my messages went unanswered.

Now today, seven weeks later, I find she has left me a negative feedback on eBay.

I attempted to "keep my cool", but boy, it sure has been hard!

Instead, I left the facts for her feedback [as a seller, I make it a rule to wait until the buyer leaves feedback before I leave it for them]. She received a Positive feedback, as that's all that a seller can leave, but with the facts clearly spelled out.

Then I sent the buyer a private message and told her that I still have her information and still want to make her a satisfied client and would love to send it to her if she will only accommodate me with a good email addy.

So, we'll see if she leaves it or not.

So, where am I going with this? [Other than venting?]

We often have to deal with unreasonable clients. [This is no exception! I do wish she had attempted to even contact me rather than just leave bad or negative feedback!] And as a professional, to this client, I must smile and attempt to still make her a satisfied client.

But what if a client gives us bad information to start a research project with? Hmmm? How does one handle that?

Well, believe it or not, for most clients with unresearched family genealogy [at least in my experience], about half of the information received is faulty to some extent. This is due to family stories or myths being handed down from generation, to generation, with "tall-tales" or "myths" being added for embellishment.

You know what I mean? "My great-grandmother was a Cherokee Princess". [I hear that one ALOT! ] So what's the fault with that? Try examining Cherokee Royalty. There is no such lineage. The Cherokee nation does not have a royal hierarchy.

"My family is descended from the Mayflower." Okay. This one always cracks me up! I like to look at things "literally". This statement would literally mean that you were descended from a ship! Of course,w e all know what the client means. They believe they are descended from those who arrived on the Mayflower. While there are many, many who are, you would not believe how many have been descended from immigrants at just before the turn of the 20th century or at the early years of the 20th century.

"My family is descended from "this or that" famous person." [I hear this whether or not the surnames are the same!] Well, believe it or not, if there's someone famous attached to your family tree, it doesn't mean you're descended from them! Even if we can attach them somewhere in your tree!!! If we can say your great-great-grand [mother/father] was such and such famous person, then you are descended from them. If not, sorry. You are not descended from them!

However, those "famous" tales or myths or family legends are almost always steeped in some kind of truth. So, you were told your great-great-grandmother was a Cherokee Princess. I might discover that she was indeed an Indian. Maybe not a Cherokee, but of some or all Indian blood.

Descended from a famous person? Well, most likely not. However, maybe someone connected with your family tree was, or they were friends with, or partnered with, etc. someone who was famous.

A Mayflower descendant? But your family history can't be traced back any further than there immigration to Plymouth, Mass. in 1880? Hey! What's wrong with that? Not a thing! So, we find this out, we go even further and find out where they immigrated from. Your family history is only beginning to form!!!

There is no BAD information! As a genealogist I look at all information a client sends me, and I attempt to find the strengths and weakness of each piece of information I am given.

Bad clients? Well, we'll let that one rest for yet another day! I've vented enough for this one!

Till tomorrow!

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