Monday, October 1, 2012

Ups and Downs in September

Overall things have been going well in September and I exceeded the target of  an average of one new post a day. . The number of views of this newsletter blog have increased, making up for the dip over the summer (and during the Olympic games). The total number of views to date has gone through the 40,000 mark and hopefully will have reached 5000 views a month by the end of the year. The main web site had 20,000 visitors in September, viewing 64,000 pages and is well on target to exceed 250,000 visitors in 2012.

During the month I have also upgraded an number of small village pages [ArdeleyBarkway, Flamstead, Furneaux Pelham & the Wymondleys, Halton, Leverstock Green] and well as answering a number of queries including Kingston BEDFORD, bone setter & farrier of Hemel Hempstead, and Did your ancestor go to a private boarding school. In view of the news this morning it is interesting that earlier this month I posted information on the figure on the top of the Ryder Cup. I was also delighted to find the wonderful descriptions of old Hertford published by Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of evolution by natural selection. Having "bounced" my camera at Flog It at the end of August, I acquired a Canon SX40 HS as a replacement and am very pleased with the results (see my 1st and 2nd impressions) and have already posted a number of the new photographs on the Flamstead page.

Away from the computer we had a most enjoyable visit from a friend we made when I was working in Australia over 20 years ago. I have had the cataract in my "bad" left eye removed and I can almost read normal sized text on the computer without glasses with my "good" right eye closed - which is the best I could expect due to the damage caused some years ago by glaucoma. I have also been signed off as "very satisfactory" by the consultant following a kidney stone removal earlier this year and following my details being "lost" by the hospital a minor hernia operation is scheduled in a few days time. And a big thank you to those of you who sent me messages wishing me well.

On the negative side I spent too much time running the site and the office tidy and the planned re-organisation of my library made little progress. While donations for the Herts Mind Network are still coming in (thank you to those who contributed during the month) the total is just under half the target of £1200 with only three months to go. I am used to the fact that some people who ask for help don't make a donation, or even say thank you, and I would be delighted if more people told me when my suggestions prove useful - as such feedback allows me to provide a better service.

Occasionally things go pear-shaped and there was an incident earlier in the month when I got a request to make a small change to the main web site. I made the change almost immediately and emailed a reply to say the request had been carried out. "You haven't done it" came the immediate reply - and I responded explaining that a copy of the old page was probably being held in a cache on their computer and assured them that the page change had been made. I then get a torrent of abuse ... 

Fortunately this kind of thing is rare - but part of the problem is that the internet is so impersonal - when you get an email request from a stranger you often don't know if they are male of female, 9 or 90, whether they have been researching their family for 5 minutes or 5 years, or whether they are in a good or bad mood (or even seriously mentally ill). I do my best in such circumstances - but I am always unhappy when I get a dissatisfied "customer".

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This is the newsletter for the Genealogy in Hertfordshire Web site. Comments on this blog are moderated and may be transferred to the web site where appropriate. If you have a local or family history query you want answered you must use "Ask Chris" - See box in right hand column. Anonymous comments cannot be answered.