Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The seamy underbelly of genealogy business

There are some people in our community who do not seem to understand the meaning of the word NO. I am astonished by this. Perhaps I find it surprising because I was raised with manners. When I refuse an offer for a service, when I say 'No, thank you', I actually expect the person on the other end of that offer to accept my refusal.

For months I have received a barrage of emails from a so called professional genealogist, one Barry Ewell, who wants to 'help' me by introducing me to what he is selling. Initially I replied to his messages by saying, 'No thank you, I am not interested.' This person sent me messages saying we should meet and included his cell phone number, just in case I have any questions.

Here's a question: Why can you not take NO for an answer?

Further, this person signed me up on his email list to receive updates and a newsletter, despite the fact that I indicated I do not want to be on that list. On at least three different occasions I unsubscribed from his list, but still I receive messages from him.

I consider myself to be a very patient person, but this morning my patience met its end, and I did something I would not normally do. I reported this individual to Google for harassment.

In a civilized society I do not think it is too much to expect another person to respect my wishes.  I do not think it is too much to expect someone to understand that NO MEANS NO.

This person has either a very high opinion of himself, or such low self esteem, that he needs to keep flogging his product to people who have no interest in either him or what he is selling. Clearly he does not understand the most basic principals of marketing, and cannot figure out how to properly promote his business, but that is not my problem because I am not interested in his business.

When I first started blogging I was contacted by another 'professional', a woman who could not take no for an answer. She continually contacted me explaining that I needed her help. She finally left me alone when I made it clear to her that she did not know what she was talking about when it came to Irish research.

This is the seamy underbelly of the genealogy business. Those so called professionals who want to sell you something come hell or high water. These people seem to think they know your own mind better than you do. I find such individuals reprehensible.

If you look up the word 'professional' in any dictionary you will discover that quite simply it means 'one who is engaged in a specified activity as a main paid occupation rather than a pastime'. Over time we have come to expand the meaning of professional to include the idea that a professional behaves in an appropriate and respectful manner. Clearly this part of the meaning of professional does not apply to some individuals. Unfortunately their lack of even basic manners reflects badly on those members of the community who do conduct themselves in a respectful and professional manner.

Since the word 'NO' became part the English language, its meaning has not changed. It is an adverb which originated from the Old English nan meaning 'none'. So, when you ask me if I want to buy your service, or be on your mailing list, or review your site, and I say no, it means I want none of it.




  1. Indeed! Three times, he's out!! Good post, Jennifer.

    1. Hi Celia,

      Thanks for your comments. I figured if the three strike rule works for baseball, then it could work for genealogy as well.

      Cheers to you,


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Cheers, Jennifer

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