03 June 2013

Pet Peeves

On Facebook, anytime someone uses the word loose instead of lose or uses the wrong their, they're or there I have to stop myself from deleting them from my friend list. From the number of memes I've seen about spelling and grammatical pet peeves I am not alone. A lot of my genealogical pet peeves have been covered in previous posts about clickophile trees but here are a few that haven't been mentioned yet.

✿ The Family Name
It's not a "sir name" or a "sir-name." The word is surname.

✿ Ancestory
This is especially puzzling on the Ancestry.com Facebook page. How do they not see the correct spelling plastered all over the page?

✿ WWII vs. WW11
One is World War Two. The other is World War ELEVEN.

✿ The words ancestor, decedent, and descendant are not interchangeable.
An ancestor is "a person from whom one is descended; forebear; progenitor."
A decedent is "a deceased person."
A person "that is descended from a specific ancestor; an offspring" is a descendant.

✿ "Thanks in advance" or "TIA"
Translation: "I expect someone will help me (for free) and when they do I cannot be bothered to spend a few seconds of my own precious time to thank them personally."
Not everyone is bothered by this but it really rubs me the wrong way. If you are asking someone to help you acknowledge their comment/answer. First of all, it's polite. Second, it tells the person who helping that you saw their answer and they didn't waste their time. If it's on Facebook it only takes a second to 'like' a comment yet some people can't even manage to do that.

✿ The English Only Crowd
"Those records are in German. Why doesn't [whatever website they're complaining about] translate them? I don't know German." You've just told the world that you're either too dumb or too stubborn to learn. Part of learning about your heritage is learning the language(s) of your ancestors. You don't need to be able to read War and Peace in another language but will it kill you to learn the months, numbers and a few genealogically important words? You're not even required to memorize them, you can have a cheat sheet on your computer. To find a cheat sheet just Google 'genealogy word list' and the language you need. If you have gotten far enough back in your tree that the records are in a now defunct language or you can't read the language because of the script check the Learning Center on FamilySearch.

✿ Name Droppers
Name droppers are those people who post nothing more than a name on genealogy Facebook pages. There seem to be a couple of reasons for these posts. Some think Facebook is a search engine. Others do not know the difference between a Facebook fan page for a website and the actual website. Still others think there could be only one person in the world with that name. Can you think of other reasons, logical or not, for posting a name and nothing else?

✿ My family is more interesting than anything you have to say.
Some people think nothing of posting 20 photos in a row on a Facebook business page or in a Facebook group. Pages and groups are used by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. I've landed on pages and wondered if there was a Facebook glitch that took me to someone's personal page. While you may find your photos fascinating other people may have a question they'd like answered and you've just pushed their post really far down the page. You don't have to post them all at once or your can put them all in an album on your personal page, make the album public and post a link to it on the page you're visiting. Don't forget to include something about the album. Why are you sharing it? What are the surnames of the people in the album? Were all of the photos taken in the same place?

✿ "People should ask before attaching my photos!"
Some people think everyone should play by their personal unwritten rules. Isn't everyone on Ancestry.com psychic? You are playing in Ancestry.com's sandbox. Their terms of service state:
"Portions of the Website allow you and other Users to contribute material to be displayed on the Website ("User Provided Content"). For User Provided Content, Ancestry is merely hosting and providing access.
By submitting User Provided Content to Ancestry, you grant Ancestry, its parent company and all of its affiliates, a transferable license to use, host, sublicense and distribute your submission to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered." [emphasis mine]
Don't like their rules? You can always send a suggestion about a change to their terms of service or a feature you'd like to see added. Until your suggestion is implemented either don't upload photos or upload them to a private tree. But don't upload them and then complain when other people attach them without asking permission. You gave them permission when you uploaded the items to Ancestry.com.

✿ People who exclaim, "This is a scam!"
Subscriptions to most online websites renew automatically. It is not a scam or a rip-off. In the case of Ancestry.com it's not even in tiny legalese.

Thanks to Katie for the screen cap!

✿ The "Ancestry.com is expensive" Crowd
I think I vented enough about the "Ancestry.com is expensive" comments here.

✿ Those who need a dentist not a genealogist.
They claim to want assistance but getting the information you need to help them is like pulling teeth. The conversation usually goes something like this:
 Patient: Can someone help me find my great-grandmother?
 Dentist: What do you know? Her name? Date of birth?
 Patient: She died when I was little and my mother hasn't told me very much.
 Dentist: What did she tell you?
 Patient: She told me... [proceeds to tell a long story with no dates, places or names].
 Dentist: You'll need to give us names, dates and places, something specific, before anyone can help you.
 Patient: She was born in Alabama or North Carolina. Maybe Tennessee.
That tooth is never getting pulled. This could go on indefinitely but usually ends when the person attempting to help just gives up. For tips on how to ask for help check out these two blog posts: Asking For Help and Help Me Help You.

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  1. I say "Thanks in advance" sometimes, but what I mean by it is "I really appreciate you taking the time to look, even if you don't come up with anything." I always go back and thank anyone who responds as well. Maybe I should think of a better way to say that.

    1. You're a rare case then Emily. I've found that most people who use that phrase don't respond when some answers. They ruin it for the rest of you :-P

  2. You've hit most of my pet peeves pretty well. The name dropper/teeth pulling one is particularly galling - you want to help, but they don't make it easy. A related one is the person who asks for help. You find a good deal of information, not mentioned as having been found, forward it along, and get the "I've already seen all that" reply.

    A good research friend and I have our own variation on TIA. We use "HIA and more when I see you." That's Hugs in Advance:) He photographs cemeteries for me, and I dig in the old records for him.

    There have been some lengthy threads on the message boards lately that admins are deleting messages that pass along the "thanks" after the fact. I hope that is not true. There are so many junk messages, even obscenities, that are left up on the board - the admins never take them down. Why would they spend their time deleting "thanks?"

    1. I've heard about deleting "thanks" on the boards too Annie. I think it's only on certain boards since each admin has their own way of doing things. It leaves people looking rude but hopefully the other people in the conversation at least get an email so they know there was a reply.
      I got the "I've already got that" 3 times in a single thread before I learned my lesson :-P Now I'll ask what else they already have after the first "got that" so I, and anyone else who comes along, don't waste my time.

  3. I'm beginning to reply to some of these requests with a link to the website that has exactly what is asked for. And then I get the answer "I can't find it" or "tried that, it's not there". So, I stupidly try it myself, entering only the data I've been given, only to have a single correct result come back immediately. I'm left with the impression that (a) they didn't try it (b) they messed it up somehow or (c) the website search boxes are too difficult for them to use.

    Sigh ... you caught me on Monday morning and I haven't finished my first cup of tea.

    1. Rosemary, you just made me think of a funny story Crista told in one of her videos. Now I'll have to figure out which video it's in. That woman has the patience of a saint. The person in the story wanted a document handed to her and Crista was telling her exactly how to find it. I'll look and post a link later.
      I haven't even made my first cup of tea yet :-P

    2. Found it :-) You'll have to copy and paste the link.

    3. I couldn't have done what Crista did. I'ld be tearing my hair out. At least on FB I can just not read it for a day or so to get over my frustration.

  4. I agree with most of this, but I have to echo that "thanks in advance" is perfectly normal politeness. It means both "thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read this and consider my question" and "I will be grateful to anyone who answers this". But then you still have to follow up and thank anyone individually who takes the trouble to answer you (and it sounds like your real pet peeve is those who don't do that - I would agree with that!).

    Maybe the double thanks isn't consistent online etiquette - but it is for many of us. Don't hate the "TIA" people.

    1. I agree, I have always used thanks in advance over the years in normal letter writing and continue in emails. That doesn't mean that I don't thank after the fact. It just means that I thank you for taking the time to do this form me. It just seems common courtesy to me.

  5. Like you my pet peeves are the "This is a scam" crowd & "Ancestry is too expensive. I'm just a poor old pensioner...." Well I'm a pensioner too & I choose to subscribe for a month and go like crazy finding every record I possibly can & cancel at the end of the month. Then I work on the information I have found in conjunction with the mass of free genealogy sites available on the Net if people bothered to look. During this time I also make a note of the people I need more records for and when I have several, I subscribe for another month. People who howl about the expense should have tried it before the internet when you had to either travel to the town/state/country your family came from & spend hours looking through church & library records in the hope of finding a familiar name or pay someone by the hour to do it for you!

    1. Sounds like you've been listening in on the conversations I have with my gen friends ;-) Personally, I don't have cable and rarely (once or twice a year, maybe) go to the movies. Don't care about having the latest style in clothes or shoes. It's all about choices.