Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Performing Genealogy Research While Wearing a Mask and a Snorkel

Janice Brown at Cow Hampshire made up an article title for many genea-bloggers, so I thought that I would write the article that she hoped to see.

It's a tough subject, but let's see if we can rock through this one - it should be an easy task for Genea-Man! After all, Genea-Man has done research in strange places and done strange things while doing it.

Frankly, doing genealogy research while wearing a mask is really hot, even in air conditioned buildings, but it may be necessary if the library staff has declared you persona-non-grata. This happened to me once when I managed to surreptiously add the Genea-Musings URL to the Favorites list on all of the computers at my local Family History Center. Of course, they didn't find out about it for several weeks, and I got many hits on my blog as a result.

When I went in the next time, they pulled me aside, made me remove the links from the Favorites list, and sentenced me to 4 hours of FamilySearch Indexing. I really enjoyed it. After doing my duty, they then said that I was banned from the FHC for a month, took my photo and posted it at the checkin desk and on the computer screen backgrounds - with a sign saying "Throw This Guy Out of the FHC When You See Him." Banned! I felt like a desperado.

Since I had nine microfilms in the FHC film drawer that had to go back in two weeks, I resorted to a subterfuge rather than have to pay for them again. I bought a realistic Bill Clinton mask (cost only about $20). I sauntered into the FHC wearing it, and several people looked at me strangely (since I'm only 5-10, but I have his build). When I signed in as William Jefferson Clinton on the sheet to use the microfilm scanner, I was besieged for autographs and had to pay for another hour on the machine. I managed to fill up my 4 gb flash drive with data from the microfilms, and walked out with a perpetual smirk on my face.

The folks at the FHC still talk about the visit from a famous president. A side benefit was that I received seven notes with salacious personal messages and phone numbers on them, was rubbed up against three times by shapely patrons, and was groped twice, but that's normal for WJC visits anywhere, I hear (now you know why he's always smirking). I stayed out of the bathroom for fear of being attacked by the male patrons because there was such an uproar of hysterical shrieks and moans. If I do that again, I'll bring my wife along with a Monica mask and see if they let us near the microfilm machines back in the corner.

Now the Snorkel adventure was really strange. When we went to New Orleans after the Katrina hurricane with my church group, we were supposed to help rebuild houses and clean up debris. But we had a free day, and I rented a snorkel outfit from a local shop and went out to St. Charles Parish which was still underwater (but not too deep). I found the area with the local cemetery, and snorkeled around writing tombstone inscriptions on my etch-a-sketch tablet. When I came up for rinsing off, I had my associate transcribe the etch-a-sketch, erase it, and down I went again. I'm going to put all of this data on a CDROM and sell them to recover my snorkel rental costs. Why was it strange? Well, because several of the tombstones were off their tombs, and there was nothing inside the tombs. That night, I had ghostly visitations in my dreams from three former mayors and two famous madams who had been buried in the cemetery. Scary stuff.

So there you have it - the Adventures of Genea-Man - doing genealogy research while wearing a mask and a snorkel.

I encourage all genea-bloggers who were mentioned by Janice in her post to write stories using the title she kindly provided, and then she can link to the actual posts. See Janice, fantasy can come true. ;o (or is it ;/ ?)


Janice said...


Hahahahahahaha. I'm gonna call you "Bill" from now on, you desperado!

If anyone takes the challenge I will update their article links.


Jasia said...

LOL! Too funny Randy!

Actually, you have a quite an imagination and sense of humor. I'd sign up for your session at Janice's seminar!

Unknown said...

Well done, Randy!

Now, if you had worn a George Bush mask to New Orleans, everyone would have known immediately that you weren't really him - what in the world would HE have been doing there???

By the way, Clinton grins. It's Bush that smirks!