19 December 2014

If Miss Manners, Emily Post, or other experts on etiquette did genealogy!

Created by Ann Douglas, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anndouglas/1528290674/sizes/o/.  [CC-BY-ND-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/)], via flickr

Following up on yesterday’s post about family secrets, skeletons, et al, let’s talk about manners.

As we celebrate with family, collect new information, reveal found documentation, ask questions, receive answers, and more, let’s please keep in mind our manners!  Though relevant year-round, the stresses of the holiday season when combined with increased family interactions and interest in ancestors might create a cauldron which can spawn rude behavior within the family.  The same rules of behavior apply to any place you may visit or contact also.

Yesterday we talked about family skeletons and both the delivering and receiving of such news along with the premise that if you don’t want to know about such, family history is probably not the hobby for you! 

Well, courtesy in our genealogical world extends into other aspects as well ...

The post If Miss Manners did Genealogy discusses...
+ Preserve the privacy of our living relatives
+ Give credit where credit is due [Editor’s Note -- aka do NOT plagiarize]
+ Document your research
+ Do your homework before asking for help
+ Beware of biases and skeletons in the closet
+ Make genealogy exciting to others

... and ends by saying ...

Inevitably, all genealogists make mistakes. If you've made an etiquette mistake, try to make it right immediately, and then move on. You don't want to burn any bridges that you might need to cross in the future. Even Miss Manners would tell you that.

There are a few other elements of etiquette that I would add ...
+ When you ask someone to participate in a DNA test and they say no, please respect that they mean NO
+ Don’t barrage anyone you are attempting to contact with excessive emails and/or phone calls, please be patient.  Remember, you want them to help YOU, not totally ignore you
+ Follow the rules (as a guest, researcher, etc) – you don’t have to like them and you do have to follow them and be respective of them (similarly – don’t be combative, argumentative, etc)

Related post are:
+ Genealogy Etiquette (Kristen’s Guide)
+ Etiquette & Ethics (Cyndi’s List)
+ 27 Etiquette Rules for Our Times (Forbes – non genealogical and we are all “people” first then genealogists)

... the latter reference states what to me is a governing tenant when interacting with others ...

Here are 27 rules to help you ... You’ll notice a common denominator in all of them: Think about other people’s feelings first because it’s not all about maximizing your personal convenience.

In some regards you cannot be TOO nice, polite, respectful ...

And, though it can be challenging, you can always apologize, offer a mea culpa, extend an olive branch, or in some manner right the wrong.  Since we've all made etiquette mistakes at one time or another, I'm sure we will understand.

What would you add to a Genealogy-specific “Etiquette” list?

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