[APG Public List] Problem with professional genealogist; formerly, Repeating client's work

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Thu Jul 22 20:43:13 MDT 2010

Ray, I won't disagree with your assessment or your analogy. What I tried to do was to approach it from a different angle. When it comes to legal and ethical issues, I'm not comfortable discussing either without actually seeing the exact and full wording of the communications that occurred. (As the cliché goes, the devil is in the details. :)  But a broader perspective might help Mag make a decision as to what she should do next in this case, or help her (and potentially others on the list) avoid similar problems in the future.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

-----Original Message-----
From: Ray Beere Johnson II [mailto:raybeere at yahoo.com] 
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 5:10 PM
To: eshown at comcast.net; APG Posting
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Problem with professional genealogist; formerly, Repeating client's work

     I understand your basic point, summed up below, and I agree with it - as far as it goes. But I still think Mag has _good_ reason for being upset.
     My reasoning is this; she wrote this genealogist giving specific instructions. Had the researcher then either refunded her money and declined to get involved, _or_ contacted her to explain essentially what you've said here, I'd be satisfied the genealogist was being reasonable. _But_, no matter how ill-advised the instructions may have been, that does not justify silently accepting them and then ignoring them.
     Consider an analogy. Say that a man walks into a car dealership and says he wants a car that will travel two hundred miles on every gallon of gas he puts in it. It's an impossible request. The sales staff are within their rights to tell him they can't sell him such a car. They are within their rights to try to persuade him this is impossible, _then_ sell him one of the cars on their lot. But, if they just say "Sure!", then sell him something that can't even get 50 mpg - they've just scammed him.
     _That_ is the issue that convinces me Mag has good reason to be upset. In my opinion, that genealogist ought to absorb the full cost of any such research - unless, _without_ extra cost, they come up with precisely the answer she was seeking.
                         Ray Beere Johnson II

--- On Thu, 7/22/10, eshown at comcast.net <eshown at comcast.net> wrote:

> The one thing I would never, ever do---if this were my own family 
> problem—would be to tell anyone that I have all the documents I want 
> from a particular period. I’ve learned the hard way, eons ago, that 
> solving a problem is not a matter of my wants. To solve problems I have 
> to go where the evidence leads me. Solutions happen when I am diligent 
> about finding and using all possible records; when I understand the 
> family and society involved so that I’m actually doing research, as 
> opposed to simply looking up a name; and when I’m willing to explore 
> materials created by all known kin and associates, including other 
> locales and time frames that I don’t consider initially because, of
> course, our initial efforts are more-tightly focused.  


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