Genealogy 101 - Polite Genealogy_Washington County PA Genealogy and Family History_Little Washington

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Washington County 'Little Washington' Pennsylvania
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History of and Other Families (o_f) from 
The City and County of Washington Pennsylvania

Enhance your genealogy research about families in Little Washington, Washington County PA using  newspaper articles, birth, death, marriage, notices, obituaries (often with cemeteries named), probates, deeds, surname finds, family trees, family histories, reunions and other information. Site Search or Page Search (Ctl Key+F) easily finds items of interest.

Washington County Pennsylvania History and Families

Genealogy 101 - Polite Genealogy

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Polite Genealogy
By Judith Florian

As my Grandmother, the late Ruth Lane McGary, taught me the "how to's" of genealogy.  I never thought I would later pass her instructions to me along to other researchers via this website. Mixed into her lessons were many cautions and advisories. This writing sums up what I learned about doing "Polite Genealogy."

"Polite" ways to do research goes way beyond just "do you have?" 

It includes saying and doing these things:

Saying please every time.

I'll repay your costs plus give you a fee.

I'll make it as easy as *I* can for you to help ME.

I'll only ask for what I need, and if I find I need more 
I'll wait a while in between 
before asking you to help me again.

And I will thank you, first in my request, second if I have to 
contact you while waiting, and third when or shortly 
after I receive from you ANY answer, 
even if your answer is "nothing found". 

If I request by phone, I'll be sure to include postage when 
I pay the fee, and if I request by regular mail, 
I'll include a SASE for you to use. 

If you ask me to send loose stamps instead, I'll comply 
because you know how I can best help you to help me; 
I'll comply with most reasonable limitations you make 
about helping me because I, too, want to act reasonably. 

I do all this with the understanding that the genealogy 
"hobby" may not always be the "cheapest" hobby, and 
even Great Aunt Sally may need my money to send me 
the papers / pictures / family treasures I have asked 
her to share with me. 

While it is true that "Names and dates are not copyrightable", 
the Court House / Historical Society / Genealogy Society / 
Library / other source of records also must charge me fees 
to obtain those names and dates if I am unable to appear in 
person and look it up myself. 

The Historical Society / Genealogy Society / Library do not 
"make money off of me" for sending me what I request.
indeed, many of these organizations face annual fiscal deficits 
for operations, salaries, overhead, and they need additional 
financial help to buy new (or old) records and handy research items. 

Before I complain about what a place did not give me for my research, I must remember to thank them double for simply staying open and allowing access to the records they have, then remember to thank them triple (profusely is a good word) when they have what I need and fulfill my request for help. 

Lastly, Grandma reinforced that it didn't matter where I found the information, date, name, fact I needed, but I should ALWAYS "Cite my sources and give credit where due". 

Grandma understood the polite way to do genealogy, 
long before the Internet became the latest research tool.


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Page added Jan 2009

 

 

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