Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Can't We All Play Nice?

   This morning I found a note in my email from an O’Dwyer cousin on the west coast, thanking me for my encouragement over the past year.  That got me thinking… let me say firstly, my online escapades have been a delight -- for the most part.  I’ve met cousins who live locally and far away, along with suspected cousins.  We’ve enjoyed helping each other, sharing our successes and  bemoaning our brick walls -- for the most part.

     Then there were the…hmm, how should I put this...the flakes.  Like the cousin I’ll call Helen, because that’s her name.  Helen had lots of information, including the parish of my O’Hora 3rd great grandfather.  Unfortunately, she would have rather had her tonsils removed through her nose with a rusty corkscrew than impart that information to me; though naturally she was very eager to “share” my information.  In the same family line another cousin took everything I was willing to share, then never answered another email I sent.  I know she’s still out there, I see her on the message boards suckering other people.

    Then there was the Warner cousin who emailed me in a state of euphoria to say he’d seen my post on a message board and lived very close to me.  He wanted to share information, adding that he had photos!  Well, that got me a little euphoric too, but when I asked when he might like to get together he disappeared from the face of the planet.

     This vexes me to no end.  I enjoy sharing what I’ve found with others who I know will appreciate what I’m sending them, not to mention heap praise upon me and my sleuthing skills.  I certainly understand not wanting to share personal information, I don’t want to either, and I never to ask for that.  I don’t ever suggest meeting anywhere but a public restaurant or coffee shop, which by the way is where I met my 90 year old cousin Orville, a dear man who told me wonderful stories of when he and my grandmother were young.

     Now for the gems -- along with Orville there is Cousin Rita from Georgia who met with me (in a coffee shop), when she visited New York.  Rita shared everything she had, bless her heart, which was quite a lot.  Rita had records she had commissioned from Ireland!  She was thrilled when I gave her the information I had found on the death of my 3rd great grandmother, information that she and stingy Helen had been searching for.  No, I did not give those records to Helen.  Rita, who was also tired of her curmudgeonly behavior by then, didn't either.  A little genealogy drama there.

Cousin Jack and me
     There was Cousin Ken who saw my post on a Ryan message board and out of the blue sent me digital copies of his grandmother’s Ryan family photos and her handwritten notes on our family. Another great cousin is Jack who freely shares what he has, including photos of our McGarr ancestors.  Over the years Jack has been a wonderful companion in our frustrating search for them, which only recently came to fruition.  I broke my own rule and met him and his lovely wife at their home, but by then we had been corresponding for over a decade.

     In closing let me reiterate, for every Helen I’ve run into there are ten Orvills, Ritas, Kens and Jacks.  They’ve been a joy to hang out with in cyber space and have helped advance my genealogy tremendously.  I decided long ago I will not let a few bad apples, or selfish strawberries (?) deter me from doing what I love, discovering and sharing my heritage. 

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