The documentation of my family history would be perfect if it wasn’t for the problem of sharing files with my family.
The stress goes on and on and doesn’t show any visible signs of lessening from year to year. I dread computer-talk with my family. I would almost rather eat nails. Obviously, they don’t read my blog because I’m like Chinese Water Torture. Drip, drip and they’d get it eventually.
I worked with computers back in the early 1970′s when it was totally different and if you weren’t there and don’t remember you wouldn’t even recognize it as ‘computering’. When personal computers came along I swore I’d never get one because I had an inkling they would eat up all my time and money. And I was right about that.
I was the last person in my semi-immediate family circle to have a personal computer. I mean really the last one. It felt like decades after everyone else.
So, my computer-experienced family surprises me regularly.
For instance, I asked the infamous cousin Sam to go to Google Maps last night and paste in a set of co-ordinates that I emailed over to her. I was looking for the location of where another cousin lived in the early 1960′s and I think I got it but I wanted her opinion.
For the next hour or two there was nothing but silence. I went to bed.
This morning there was an email from Sam that said, “I don’t know how to do that. I know how to copy and paste inside email but I don’t know how else to do it.”
If you lived with Sam you’d want to shoot her. How does a person manage to have a computer at their place of employment and home for going on 30 years and not know how to copy & paste? If I dwell on this question I might lose my mind so … moving on.
Today, another cousin accepted my invitation to set up a Dropbox account. I’d asked her before and I was hoping this time she would finally say ‘Yes’ because she has a backup disc of some photos (a small handful) that are corrupted on my computer. I don’t know why they are but I’m hoping she has some that predate the damage.
I told her the easiest way to help with this would be to accept my invitation to a shared Dropbox folder. In the future, the folder can also be used for sending me photos of her children and grandchildren and other relatives of interest. I mean, if she doesn’t mind.
Today I got an email from Dropbox that said she’d accepted my invitation to the shared folder. And I thought this was going unusually well.
Then I got two emails from my cousin saying that there’s no such thing as ‘the folder’ inside her My Documents folder. She wrote the same thing to me twice within ten minutes so I imagine she was over there huffing and puffing in frustration waiting for me to hurry up and answer.
So I wrote back and asked her, “Did you install Dropbox?” And then I got another email from her saying, “I couldn’t find it in my All Programs list. I guess I missed that step.”
Another cousin for the firing squad. It’s now 3 hours later, I haven’t heard another word and I don’t see any photos coming over to my computer. My guess is she’s wondering where to get the installer thingie.
This is stone-dead typical. If I ever say, “Could you please just … (anything) …” there’s no relief at all and it will, invariably, go on for days and I’ll still be feeling the pain months later.
Another cousin, granted, is aged at this point. Massively wrinkled and perhaps only hanging on by a thread. So, there may be some excuse there. Although she’s another one who’s had a computer forever. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked her to (pleeeeease) not send me shrunken photos of her family. There’s a button in plain view that says, “Leave at Original Size”. But, no, I have folder after folder of photos 640 x 480.
Her own mother destroyed the huge hanging-above-the-mantle WWI portrait of her father in uniform in the heat of a moment so there’s a genetic pattern there of photo-bashing.
And then there’s the cousin who took 115 priceless photos, dated as far back as 1860, out of albums and littered them around on a rock wall in her backyard because she needed the daylight for her camera and took digital photos of them because she thought learning how to use a scanner would be too difficult. She’s another close cousin so she has photos, not in existence anywhere else I know about, of my father, my grandfather, my great-grandmother at various ages, my great-great grandmother, my great-great-great grandmother and so on.
Do some people think computer monitors are really televisions? Are they expecting to be passively entertained? Do they think keyboards are only meant for email?
Is there such a thing as a genealogy-scanning society? And if there isn’t, there should be. People who can be contacted around the world in your desired location to visit your cousins and do scanning on a trade basis. Something like that. Because this other thing is making me nutty.