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I hate when people assume. aka geneology drives me mad
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:44 PM
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Default I hate when people assume. aka geneology drives me mad

At the library we work, we take requests to find obituaries in the local newspapers. What we do is search 3 days after date of death, though in the early part of the 1900's sometimes the obit. appears on the date of death and/or next day. Also, in that time period the papers will put stuff where it fits. So it's a huge pain looking for the obits for that time. Heck, I have double and triple checked the same date just to make sure. And sometimes there are no obits for a day.

So we get this person who thinks we arn't doing our jobs. note, I'll put *...* where I changed info. I also changed other things without the *:

I must say, however, I was very disappointed to earlier receive some information from you on (date) (below), which proved to be inaccurate, advising me that the requested obituary for *blah* does not exist, and that this “is not unusual”. Luckily, in this case, I was persistent and found, contrary to your report, that there is indeed an obituary for her in the *one local paper*(believe it was the 13th, maybe 14th, of *blah*--- you have to go out sometimes one or two days after the individual died, which in this case was on 12 *blah*). Your microfilm printer capability was not in service when I looked up the obituary, and I had not brought a flash drive, so I was not able to download it. I therefore still would like a copy of it for my files. Consequently, I would please ask you again to access the *blah* on the dates indicated. The obituary exists!! If you are not able to do this, then I will have to make a trip downtown to do it myself, which I can certainly do. Just tell me.



But please, I urge you to take the proper quality control steps to ensure that you are not giving out false information that an obituary does not exist, when it does! This obituary was very important to me and proved invaluable, as it had the name of *blah* mother (*extra blah* , my g-g-grandmother), who by good fortune survived her (even though *blah* was 73 years old when she died). This name led to the connection with a lot of other relatives, and has solved a mystery of many years outstanding in connection with understanding the relationship to relatives in *city*. It really pains me to think that this unique information might have been lost, had I relied on the information from you. This was a first test to see if I could depend on the reliability of the *us* information desk, and the test failed. Perhaps you made an honest mistake, or were careless and only looked at obituaries on the day of death (not very reliable), or perhaps someone was too busy or tired to look it up, and just didn’t want to say so! Either way, it was a disappointment for me in our library email reference services, and I admit I have lost confidence in them. (Perhaps you could consider ensuring greater care and improved quality by having the individual who looked up the information sign his/her name to the response.)



One other comment: If I were the *us*, I would NOT be putting out information that it “is not unusual” to not find obituaries in the *city* papers. In my experience, this is very misleading. I have found an obituary for all of my family members that I have looked up over the years, working from the early 1900’s in the case of the *paper* and *paper*. I have also found death notices, and comments on the individuals as far back as the 1840’s and 1850’s in the predecessor newspapers, and full fledged obituaries in the 1890’s. Perhaps my ancestors paid for them, as I would not be surprised. But nevertheless, out of 15 or so obituaries, I am batting 100%, so I would say it would be “unusual” not to find the obituary.



I enclose the email of *date* received from *us* for your reference, in which you advised you were unable to fulfill the request, and am hoping you can do so now; i.e., provide me a hard copy or a pdf file (or other electronic file) via email. Thank you.

Now my rant: excuse you? You think we arn't doing our job? that perhaps someone was too busy or tired to look it up, and just didn’t want to say so! We look up stuff. Yes, it might been a careless mistake, in that we overlooked it since the newspaper print is tiny, and obituaries in that time period were not easy to find. We do look, but to assume we don't...and that we "failed the test"? Yeesh, hope you don't do business with us anymore. But nevertheless, out of 15 or so obituaries, I am batting 100%, so I would say it would be “unusual” not to find the obituary.
You did mention that your folks did pay for their obits. That is your folks. A lot of people don't pay the paper for obits. They cost money and sometimes the relatives dont' want to spend or have no money to spend. I didn't pay for an obit. for my father when he died, so no obit. So you are batting 100% (should it be batting 400? I don't know baseball), good for you. But other people don't have obits.

[i]Perhaps you could consider ensuring greater care and improved quality by having the individual who looked up the information sign his/her name to the response[/i The people who work on the obits actually initial them, and send them to the e-mail reference dept, who takes out the initials. ANd no, no one from e-mail reference came back and said "you did a bad job, shame on you!" What was said was:

Dear *our dept*

The patron says he found the obit. Would you please process this request first so we can scan and send it to him?

Thanks

*name of one of my co-workers*

And the other things. Ugh. Great, the history of your family, which won't make A&E or whatever other channel, is now complete. It really pains me to think that this unique information might have been lost, had I relied on the information from you. your g-g-grandmother in heaven is proud of you.

We charge $3 frickin' for the obit, and we charge nothing if we don't find it. I work hard on these and it just chews me up inside all these presumptions this person had. Ugh.

note: yes, I know this is important for this person, even though I make fun of it. It's just the whole tone of the person. And would it have killed the person to write down the information he found, just because he couldn't make a copy or save it on a flash drive?

Last edited by depechemodefan; 06-11-2008 at 07:45 PM. Reason: adding

  #2  
Old 06-11-2008, 07:53 PM
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Yeah, he might have had a point, but it's really bogged down in heavy handed "look how I did your job better than you even though I've looked up, like 20 things lifetime, as opposed to doing this kind of thing constantly, all day long".

And in my experience, long ass letters of complaint like that don't get read. Just please, make your point in a succinct fashion and be done with it.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Yeah, he might have had a point, but it's really bogged down in heavy handed "look how I did your job better than you even though I've looked up, like 20 things lifetime, as opposed to doing this kind of thing constantly, all day long".
I don't mind if it said, "Hi, I received your reply that there was no obit but when I checked myself I found it." But his whole assumption, ugh.

I'm not replying. I would be professional, but someone else will reply, and no doubt say "I'm sorry that we did not find the obituary the first time. Here is a copy for free."

  #4  
Old 06-11-2008, 08:29 PM
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People have to realize that, contrary to popular opinion, Librarians aren't implanted with a GPS as part of our training. We can and do make mistakes. We sometimes don't find things and it isn't due to lack of trying.

I agree with an earlier poster. A simple note from the client saying "Guess what? The obit can be found at XXX", would have been sufficient. The long diatribe the library received was in no way warranted.

We've had similar problems in our library from a long-distance client who, if we let him, would deluge us with requests and effectively turn us into his personal research service. When we finally told him we couldn't comply with all his requests he fired off a letter that should have been printed on asbestos.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Quoth depechemodefan View Post
should it be batting 400? I don't know baseball
No, I believe the term is batting a thousand. No, I'm not sure why, I don't care for sports in general, so... *shrug* Meh.
Other than that, not much can be said about the audacity.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:07 PM
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wow.... you make me happy my anchiester kept everything, and the last 240ish years of my fmaily history is published, and while my father side isnt as special, they where oral historians which way i know i am a viking

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Old 06-12-2008, 12:47 AM
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fftopic: ots caled batting one thousand becasue the always record the average as 0.xxx so your hitting 50% of the time 0.500 - althought thats a bit hard to explain to someone around here because they cant understand that 100% = 1 my town is dumb

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Old 06-12-2008, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Quoth LibraryLady View Post
People have to realize that, contrary to popular opinion, Librarians aren't implanted with a GPS as part of our training.
They aren't ? Not all of them can travel through L-space ?
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Quoth Sliceanddice View Post
wow.... you make me happy my anchiester kept everything, and the last 240ish years of my fmaily history is published, and while my father side isnt as special, they where oral historians which way i know i am a viking
My family history isn't as thorough--the last family history dates from 1980...and most things earlier (not to mention later) are proving elusive. It doesn't help that my last name is the Norwegian equivalent to "Smith" over here, and that both of the earliest ancestors have the same first name, even though they're brothers Also not helping...was that my great-grandmother on Dad's side was a bitch...and cut that part of the family off from the rest--in the 1980 family history, we're not even mentioned until the very last page!

My mother's side is another story--very little of that was ever written down, and most of the people who would know things are either dead now, or can't remember It sucks, because I've always been very close to that side.
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:01 PM
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Back in the 80's when I last worked in a public library, we'd show patrons how to use the newspapers on microfilm so they could do their OWN research. Many was the occaision when someone would complain that they couldn't find the obituary of their long-departed relative that they KNEW died on a certain day back in 1964.
Invariably, a patron would come to the nearby service desk to complain. My response? "Did they have to good graces to pass away before the paper went to press for the day?" Sure as people will remain clueless, the desired obituary could be found in the next day's paper.
Amateur Genealogists...the bane of library workers everywhere.
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