Why Some People in Genealogy Just Need to ______ Off!

Genealogy is a search for balance. Is it just me or there just some days when you have to deal with really unbalanced people in the genealogy community?

You can choose any word you like for that blank in the title. Some days I use the word “fly” and some days . . . well, you get the drift.

And can you tell that there are some days when abundance has its limits? I’m not sure if it is the full moon, the mid-month doldrums or what, but one of my former followers has taken exception to the use of “boot camp” in my marketing. And she tried to turn it into a push for some weird agenda. Fail.

The Email Thread With MMBooklover

So here’s how it went down.  Usually when I do an email blast to my list, I get inquiries for more information. Or I get solid, meaningful feedback.  Not often do I get trolls like mmbooklover.

First, here is a link to the email in question.  It is for the upcoming online event Interpreting Your AncestryDNA Results Boot Camp on Saturday, June 24th.

Second, here is the email exchange:

mmbooklover: “Do you really believe military terminology “boot camp” is the best way to market your product?”

tmacentee: “Yes – I do. Any other questions?”

mmbooklover: “better change some of your misstatements on your LinkedIn bio”

tmacentee: “You know what? Piss off. LOL”


tmacentee: “Abundance has its limits – especially with unstable people. You’ve given me a great idea for my next post – you may see your own reflection in it over at Abundant Genealogy.”  HAVE A GREAT DAY!

mmbooklover: “”In addition, I track the “habits” of genealogists including purchasing decisions, what attracts and repels them, and more.” Jesus. PTSD much?

Great. Now I have a stalker. I think I’ll call her Mary. Can you tell that I have a low threshold for bullshit today?  Actually people who know me, know it is most days when that bar is set.

My Take on MMBooklover’s Screed

I guess Mary doesn’t like the military.  Maybe Mary needs to take off her tin foil hat, especially when she’s just come back from a meeting of the Flat Earth Society and understand that there can be balance even in the military.

Do you have clean water to drink, Mary? Are you protected against floods, Mary? You can thank the Army Corps of Engineers for that. What about the ability to travel safely? What about even the freedom to just be Mary?

I agree that there are some excesses with the US military – I don’t like manufactured wars, I don’t like when companies like Haliburton make money off of warfare. But I simply used a term “boot camp” which to me means “an intensive training regiment” that has its roots in the military.

Mary obviously has some issues and an agenda.  Mary has the freedom to do that, but she just picked the wrong fight and the wrong person. Aren’t there more important issues right now?

I hope Mary finds some peace and some balance. I hope leaving a one star review on the Facebook page has helped Mary in that search. [By the way, you can click here to leave your own review of Abundant Genealogy!]

Genealogy Is a Search for Balance

The main point I want to make is that it takes all kinds. In life and in genealogy. Isn’t genealogy and our research really just a search for balance? Where would we be personally or as a community without the constant tension of balance and unbalance?

Think about it: you have information about an ancestor, perhaps based on a family story.  You find records that both support and contradict the family story. You cite your sources. You evaluate evidence. You ponder and write a balanced conclusion.

In addition, what do we do with those ancestors whose lives we just find filled with “wrong” at least from a modern perspective? Owners of enslaved ancestors, white supremacists, misogynists, etc. Do we embrace them because they are our blood, despite their faults? Do we seek to understand their thoughts and actions, avoiding present-ism while doing so?

Genealogy is not for the meek or the weak. Genealogy is hard work just to seek a balanced view of our ancestors.

Bring on the Crazies in Genealogy

I will be the first to admit that I am not the most balanced person some days. But that’s life. Each day I seek balance: eating the right things, getting enough exercise, trying to do good deeds and be nice to people. But there are limits too. The search for balance doesn’t make one a door mat.

Perhaps we need more people like Mary in genealogy just so those of us who seek balance can put our goals in proper perspective.

Photo Credit: Depositphotos, Crazy Senior Woman. Not to be confused with “Mary” – I don’t even know what she looks like.

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Thomas MacEntee
Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee has been researching his family history for more than 40 years and is the creator of Abundant Genealogy, Genealogy Bargains, DNA Bargains, The Genealogy Do-Over and numerous other web-based genealogy and family history properties.

18 Comments on "Why Some People in Genealogy Just Need to ______ Off!"

  1. Scared the daylights out of me when I scrolled down to that picture!

  2. Lol.good on ya Thomas.

  3. MMBooklover sounds like they need to find something to do.

  4. Susan Howard | 14 June 2017 at 2:31 pm |

    Why does she even care how you market your product? Love the pic!

  5. Marina Dececo | 14 June 2017 at 3:23 pm |

    Well, dang it, I think you are a terrific person, and a great resource in the genealogical community.

  6. In the marketing world and especially in the event/conference world the term Boot Camp is widely used in the title of events.

  7. Love your replies. I have a stalker on my blog. She gives me grief every time I post about her side of the fault. Drives me nuts!

  8. As a Veteran! I APPROVE of a good “Boot Camp”. Let’s me know I’m about to go though the Rigors of being the Best I can Be, even in Genealogy.

  9. J Higgins | 14 June 2017 at 6:48 pm |

    Wow! Mary needs to take an overdose of chill pills.

  10. Why should she even care??? Why should it be on her radar??? Why should she get to tell you how to title your presentations??? Shaking my head and thinking that her focus could be on more important matters. I am happy that you do all the things that you do to make genealogy interesting and productive for me and others.

  11. Well, gee, plenty of exercise programs have boot camps too. Meh on Mary!

  12. I don’t like reading your conversation with “Mary.” The comments are a waste of time. It must give Mary quite a thrill to attract so much attention. Poor taste for a genealogy site, imho. You’ll be in JOCO KS in October as our speaker. I’m skeptical about what we’ll be getting.

    • Stu Haley | 15 June 2017 at 12:04 pm |

      Patsy, you will getting one of the most engaging, knowledgeable and authoritative speakers you will ever sit through. Instead of a “veiled” critique of Thomas – like a child who says they don’t like “peas” before even tasting one, choose his session. He is also one of the most approachable people on the genealogy speakers circuit. You are going to learn, and he is one of the very best.

  13. Thoughtless idiots are all around us. As I get older my tolerance threshold gets lower and lower. Thanks for articulating what many of us feel. Keep up the outstanding work you do.

    PS, it was a pleasure to finally get to meet you at Rootstech, having followed you for some years now. Even here in Australia we know you and your work in genealogy.

  14. I like you Thomas. And I like your blog. Though I tend to keep my thoughts to myself and remain friendly and positive, I have to support ‘Mary’ in why she might have questioned you, even if I don’t condone her method of communication. I don’t know if you are a veteran or not, but see, I went through boot camp – the military one. I do not see the phrase as meaning ‘an intensive training regiment”. I define it more like “the most torturous, degrading, absolutely excrutiatingly painful six months I’ve ever been through”. I don’t think a few days sitting in a class learning about some technology even compares. In 2003 I was sales manager of a fitness center. I HATED promoting the boot camp classes that the marketing department came up with because I knew they were a cake walk compared to real basic training. I know, as someone pointed out, that the phrase is used often and yes I see it in conference programs all the time. But I think that giving the name ‘boot camp’ to every introductory program from DNA analysis to weekend retreats for cabbage patch doll repair is in dis-taste to our soldiers and sailors for what they have to go through to do what they do for us. If your readers had not attacked Mary, I wouldn’t have said anything. I generally like to spread happiness. So on that note… Love the new format. Keep up the great writing.

  15. Lol- the price of notoriety. It does, indeed, “take all kinds”. And, thanks for turning your experience into a learning opportunity.

  16. Mary is indeed quite contrary, a true whack job. Keep your chin up thomas. Most of us lovd you

  17. Must discussion whether or not to respond to trolls or zealots or ignore them with mixed opinions. With respect to genealogy, it is much more interesting to find colorful ancestors, so adjust your thinking!

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