I was thinking about eMail quite a bit over the last few weeks, mainly because it takes up a lot of my time on a daily basis (here’s where peals of laughter erupt from people that haven’t heard from me for very long time). But it is true. I get about 8,000 email’s a year to my CGWP address, which is about 20% of what I get at work, so in total I’m going through about 120 eMails on a daily basis. Granted a lot of them don’t take a lot of time … I have decided that I don’t want to get rich by helping someone who has secreted money out of <insert name of 3rd world country here>, so click those are gone. The same for the complaints I get from the Better Business Bureau. The ones I’m referring to are those written by someone who speaks English as a 14th language and that tell me I really need to click on a very suspicious link to find out what the complaint is. Click – those are gone. They take a bit linger, because I find it humourous to read them. Then there are the ads from various services that want me to buy their products, so they don’t take long to select and delete.
The remaining ones fall into several categories:
- Problems with the web site. I try to address these pretty quickly (OK, the problem with uploading images dragged on for much too long), and thankfully they are fairly few.
- People tracing family members. These are pretty common, most are looking for information on how to trace an ancestor’s war experience, but occasionally they want to know a bit more than what is on the attestation papers. One was along the lines of “You say that my great-uncle 4 times removed was married to Jane, but her name was Margaret Jane, and they divorced in 1922. Do you know why?” Sorry, but no I don’t know why. One of my favourites from this category was “I’d like to know more about my great-grandfather. Can you tell me what he did in the war?” That was it, no name provided. The follow up was “Oh, sorry, his name was John Smith, but maybe he used Smythe. I think he may have lived in Ontario.” Humm, not much there to go on.
- People complaining about the accuracy of the information. Actually most aren’t complaining, they are really helping us build up the accuracy of the data and providing corrections, which are always very much appreciated, but it’s the ones that are somewhat belligerent that stand out. “My great uncle was born in Glyndyfrdwy, not Glyndyford! Everyone knows that there is no town called Glyndyford!” Well, I’m not sure that either the clerk that was trying to write it down on the attestation form knew that, and apparently the person who tried to decipher his handwriting to enter it knew that either.
- And my favourite, the ones who don’t find a name they are looking for. Most politely provide the information or ask how they can enter it, but a few get quite animated: “How can you say that you have a database when my wife’s 14th cousin 6 times removed isn’t in it? I’m very, very disappointed.” Knowing how hard everyone that volunteers time is working to get names added, I find these hard to answer, or at least answer politely. Occasionally, I get one that ends with something like “… and I know this because my grandmother has a picture of him that was taken in uniform. There is a date of 1944 on it!” Ummm, wrong war.
- And then the ones that make it all worthwhile. “Thank you for helping me find more information about my grandfather. My mother knew he was in World War 1, but that was all. Thanks to this wonderful resource we know a bit more. Thank you for commemorating all the men that served, not just the ones that died.”
And that’s really what this is all about: having a place to remember the men and women that served. And thanks to everyone who volunteers and helps the database grow by about 500 new entries, and 300 updated entries every week. Through your efforts this great resource keeps getting better.