Roger Lustig <julierog@...>
To Carol's comments, let me add a hearty "Yes...but..."
First of all, *good* local libraries aren't to be found everywhere.
Here in the US many cities (New York, Carol's Baltimore, and my own town
among them) have great public library traditions, but that isn't always
the case, and in other countries the situation can be downright grim.
On top of that, some of us do live much further >from a decent library
than others do, and still others aren't able to go out as readily.
Next, there's the matter of centrality to one's research. Yes, pick up
bits of a language or two, get to know the geography of key regions--but
the Jews of Europe were a relatively peripatetic lot, and there's only
so many times one wants to do all the groundwork in order to figure out
a potential reference to a single ancestor or distant cousin. Getting
to know enough German, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Latin might be a
lot for a Galizianer researcher; when it then turns out that someone
married into a family >from Saloniki or Mantua, I think it's perfectly
fair to ask the group (perhaps with a "reply privately") for a hand.
I think Dan Leeson would agree with me, not least since he and I have
answered one another's basic questions on other subjects in at least one
other forum on occasion. Moreover, some things *don't* come naturally
from basic research with maps and names; for instance, "Why was thereevidently a substantial connection between the communities of Town X and
Town Y?" may be old hat to those who know the stories and historical
contingencies, but could elude any new researcher for a long time.
The Internet is by far the most powerful tool for research ever
developed. (15 years ago it was already touted as "the world's largest
scientific instrument".) Much of its power comes >from its ability to
reduce duplication. But none of us has published everthing we know, let
alone everything we suspect, so that basic query may be what's needed to
coax the "missing link" information out of whoever might have it. (The
owner of the info may not even know of its significance until the
question is asked.)
When it comes to courtesy and proper use of the group, however, there is
one thing that members should do, though: search the message archives.
If the answer's there, then posing the same question to the thousands of
us is little more than noise. If someone has answered something
similar, email them directly. And if someone writes to you with a
question, at least write back to say you don't know. (I'm not always
perfect with this last point either, but I try...)
After four years of spending far too much time on genealogy and history,
I'm beginning to get a grasp on an area of about 6 counties, with *very*
basic knowledge of things outside of there. Do your homework; use what
references you can; see if your question has been answered before; but
keep those questions coming! They, not the answers, are often what
stimulates researchers in entirely different areas!
researching Upper Silesia--parts of it more than others...
I am not picking on anyone in particular, but I have noticed quite a number