I see it all the time. Someone posts on a mailing list
"I can't find my ancestor, he's my BRICK WALL! I have been searching for 5 years and I've looked EVERYWHERE!!! Can anyone help me?"More details emerge and you feel quite excited because you know where this researcher can find the records they want!
So you respond. You explain that the records he/she needs are found in the Whatchihoogis Archives in Watchihoogis USA (or Canada or...) You add that you've used these records personally and they contain a wealth of information. You give them a URL for the website for the Whatchihoogis Archives so they can find out how to order the records on microfilm or how to go there in person or how to obtain a lookup from the Archives.
You sit back expectantly, basking in the knowledge that you just helped someone crack a major block in their genealogy. You know how happy that person will be and what a loud THANK YOU you'll receive.....
But that's a fantasy. In reality, 9 times out of 10, what do you get? A loud "I went to the website you gave me but those records aren't online!"
You explain that not all genealogy records are online. That researchers may have to go to the source, that is, the Archives or the Library that holds the records. They may have to (gasp!) do some of their research the old-fashioned way - out of their computer chair and off to a Library or Archives where one must use a microfilm reader. Or a book!
You remind the mailing list poster that he/she has had this "brick wall" for several years. That the records in question are not likely to go online in the near future, if ever. You suggest that breaking down that barrier might be worth checking into how the records can be accessed.
At this point I have actually received emails that say "What good does that do me? Guess I will just have to keep looking" And a few days or a week or a month later, you spot the identical query from this person posted on several mailing lists
"I can't find my ancestor, he's my BRICK WALL! I have been searching for 5 years and I've looked EVERYWHERE!!! Can anyone help me?"
The reason for my rant today is that lately I've been running into this a lot. In fact one researcher I corresponded with in my attempts to help, mentioned that he'd been posting on mailing lists with his query since 2000. Okay that's NINE YEARS! Would he not at some point realize it's time to get up from his computer and get out to the Archives that holds the records he needs?
How can we as genealogists educate others to the fact that no genealogy research can be completed by using one resource only. There are so many other places where we need to search! The Internet is a wonderful resource, it's incredible how much data is online and more is coming all the time. But there are still other physical repositories - Libraries and Archives and local Museums - where scads of information on our ancestors lies waiting to be discovered.