Monday, February 15, 2010

Madness Monday

What is it that drives me “Mad” this week?

Well, I’m actually having a pretty doggone wonderful week! Research has been moving along quite briskly, and events are being uncovered for one particular client that have been so enlightening to her family, that I am just having one of those weeks that nothing seems to be particularly “maddening”!

If there is anything that is “maddening” this week, it would be in my disappointment in the PBS debut of “Faces of America”.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. did a spectacular job in hosting the program. And the celebrities that were aired were simply amazed at the results of his research.

But it was almost as if the research just “magically” produced the content of the show.

Prospective clients often come to me with an attitude that if they purchase a 40-hour research package from me, that they should get the results in 40-hours. Right? Or one work week. Right?


And that’s where I often lose them. Forty hours means that I will dedicate forty-hours in the actual research portion of the project. But a project may take weeks or months to complete! And if we have to rely upon written correspondence for records from a far and distant land [say England, or Switzerland, etc.] then it may take even longer.

If it means digging through archives, and dusty, moldy, records then it can take days. And that doesn’t include the travel to and from the particular repository!

So, when I begin to explain this to a client, they are sometimes at a loss.

I have been told way too many times, “Well, I really needed this next week for so-and-so’s birthday!” [Or for Christmas, etc. One of my busiest times of year is the few weeks before Christmas when the Virgin Birth isn’t the only miracle expected to be performed for the holiday!]

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. doesn’t go into any of the details in how or where he obtained the research for the celebrities. Nor does he go into how long this research took for each celebrity. I think that if a prominent genealogist/ historian such as he would have gone into that sort of detail, the viewer would then have an understanding of what is required of a genealogical researcher, and why time cannot be measured in how fast a report can be put together for a client, but rather in the excellence of the research completed.

That’s my “maddening” Monday observation.

1 comment:

Luckie said...

I am 100% with you on the Gates point Cyndi. Displaying the records in this matter makes the documentation appear "effortless"... magical even.

There is due-diligence to the genealogy community that I don't see happening with these programs.

I'd certainly welcome a behind the scenes or hands-on workshop for researchers like us putting in long hrs/yrs for what has been presented in minutes.

You RAWK!:-)