It is my policy to help every person who emails me as much as I possibly can. Personally, I would not know much at all about my own family without the generosity of others who have helped me over the years. So I feel strongly motivated to "give back" by helping others who are searching for information.
And if I don't have what the the other person is looking for, I tell them so-- right up front. I might recommend sources or websites that might be helpful, if I know of any. I try very hard to be helpful.
Persistance can be a virtue, especially in genealogy research. And, as my mother-in-law used to say, "there's no harm in asking".
HOWEVER. Asking the same question over and over again and/or emailing repeatedly in the face of my protestations that I don't have any information is JUST PLAIN RUDE.
If I say that I don't have the information, I don't have the information. I am not holding back, hiding photos in a box under my bed, or being willfully secretive and unhelpful.
I have had several run-ins recently with overly-persistent people who have not been willing to take NO for an answer.
My most extreme example is a case of two cousins who have been pestering me FOR YEARS, insisting that our two families with same name MUST be related (they absolutely are not--except in the way that people with the same common surname are related).
The final straw came when one of them had DNA tested with 23andMe --and did not match with me or another of my cousins descended from the same family on my father's side. In the face of scientific evidence (not to mention my well-documented genealogy), this individual continued to insist that we "had to be related"!!!
Has anyone else had this experience? Or is it just me?
© Betty Tartas 2011