Friday, May 14, 2010
Chaneling the pothole
So last night I get home, eat dinner and take a few minutes to relax. I turned on the computer and checked my email and there was this email from this woman and it went something like this:
Re: Cookie Family Genealogy
I was looking at your listing of Catherine Cookie on http://www.findagrave.com/ and noticed that you didn't have her exact birth and death date. Well I found her obituary today and it gives her birth and death dates! It talks about her going to her grandson Oscar's funeral a week before she died. And I noted that she had twelve children listed in her obituary, and you only listed eleven. This obituary would help you fill in those holes. I normally charge $5 for this. If you are interested, let me know and I'll send you my address.
Very truly yours,
So went and looked at my great great great grandmother's listing and yes I had failed to put anything but years in for their birth and deaths. And yes, they have eleven of 12 children listed - because their seventh son literally struck it rich in gold and parlayed that into a nationally known company that is still in business today. Its probably in the top five of its industry and worth billions.
But what struck me as odd is that this woman was holding information that I could need about my 3Xgreat grandmother hostage for $5. And in genealogy, that's a BIG no no because we in the hobby don't do that to one and other. Obviously she knew enough about me to know about "Catherine Cookie" and her full brood of children. But to good Lord that over my head for $5, thats a no-no - why thats Genalogical Blackmail is what it is, and over priced Blackmail at that!
Moreover, her email to me was written in a style that implied that we had been corresponding about this topic. That little Re; Catherine Cookie in the subject line and all.
So, I cleaned up those listings on gravefinder.com, added the dates - I've been doing this for 30 years and have filing cabinets of dossiers on all the ancestors. Then I back linked the golden child into his parents biographies and I was almost done.
The final step was to channel the GEICO Pothole and write "Debbie" (But Debbie didn't get the hyperlink):
I cannot express my most sincere thoughts for your efforts to contact me. And I cannot put into words how valuable that obituary would be to me. I can't imagine how you would come across this obituary and think about me!
That was so very selfless.
And lord bless you that you went to all that time and effort to come up with that enticing email. You have a real talent for drawing people in. Not everybody has that gift. But you do. Your offer of $5 is almost too good to pass up, but I must because I can make my own copies, from an original newspaper clipping in my file, at Kinko's for .08¢ per copy.
I am so sorry that you went to all that trouble, but good luck with your endeavours. God bless you and keep helping those who don't know your good heart like I do.
$5 a copy? My ass, bitch.