Monday, December 2, 2013

Entitlement and Genealogy Research

© The Sherlock Holmes Museum 

221b Baker Street, London, England

James Tanner often writes interesting columns, and I think he keeps a very positive spin on things. I imagine him being this inquisitive lawyer, looking to folks like Sherlock Holmes or Clarence Day or Thomas Hobbes for his inspiration in practice.

But today's column really got me thinking about the nature of entitlement in the changing world of genealogy research, especially the last comment that he quoted:

"To be honest, FamilySearch has changed so much that I no longer use it anymore. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Hope you can gain enough new users in your expanded target groups to make up for the ones you’ve lost."

I'm shocked that something like that would come out of any user's mouth when it comes to a site that has done more to help family historians and genealogists around the world with more and more data sources, images, direct access, and FREE services run with a minimum of paid employees and mostly volunteers. Why would you cut yourself off from access to such a wealth of sources?

In this digital age, it is easy to grumble about change - I think Facebook changes their site every week at this point and does *something* to screw it up. But FamilySearch is like an old friend - its never NOT been there when I needed it, its always got something fun and interesting to look into, and its always got something new to teach me. There's so little time it takes to tell someone "Screw you and put the old version back." Poor IT folks get a lot of that attitude, I fear, and its not their fault (in many cases) that someone decided to release some new feature on important software. Stepping back, allowing yourself to breathe and think about the changes isn't always an option, but on a site that I choose to use, like FamilySearch, I relax, I explore, and I play.

I've been doing genealogy since I was 10 years old. There's always things that I'm finding I don't know, or a better way of presenting something I did know on the network of FamilySearch sites.

I understand that sometimes it can be hard, and sometimes frustrating, but being open to change (even if you disagree with it) can unlock a wealth of resources that we are incredibly lucky to have. Instead of taking the time to write such a negative comment, the commenter could have taken the time to do a 5 minute video course and see all the wonderful new features that they have access to and have some FUN! If you allow yourself to pour your energy into positive growth about changes, you will find that change can be incredibly fulfilling and sometimes even exciting. Literally, the whole world opens up to you.

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