Barry's Relatively Speaking: To A Computer, A Name Is A Name

Posted on Jul 19, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on Mary shares the following experience.

Computers are busily clacking away, just as warm and personal as ever. The other day, for example, a letter was delivered to "Mr. Reading Room, Memphis State University, Department of Journalism, Memphis, Tennessee.

"Dear Mr. Room," the letter began. "I seldom write fan letters . . ."

But in the case of Mr. Room, it developed, the temptation had been too great. What followed was some of the nicest, most heart-felt flattery you ever saw, all directed at good old Mr. Room. It ended with a cordial invitation to be among the first to subscribe to a new magazine, just suited for people like Mr. Room.

But what happened to an advertising agency, if possible, is even more heartwarming. In this case the letter was addressed to "Jomar Adv Agy."

"Good News for the Agy Family" it began. "Did you know that the family name Agy has an exclusive and particularly beautiful Coat-of-Arms?"

"I thought you might be interested so we've had a heraldic artist recreate the Agy Coat-of-Arms in color exactly as the heralds of medieval times did it for the knights and noblemen . . ."

The computer - this one from Ohio -generously offered to sell the coat-of-arms, in full color and "set against the regal red flocking," at a reasonable price "since we have already researched your family name and have the Agy Coat-of-Arms on hand."

In reply, a letter was sent to the Ohio firm as follows:

"Your name is Inc. and we are certain your investigators have been able to pinpoint this pedigree. We are interested in whether or not you can provide additional Coat-of-Arms for: Ltd., Bro, Co, Assn, Son, Serv, Strs and Corp." If the Inc family's heraldic artist has duplicated these historic bits of heraldry, the Agy family would like to buy a supply of

Coats-of-Arms for friends and clients with those names. Like his own family's symbol, he suggested they should be in full color and set against the regal red flocking. In the end, though, he had a cautious afterthought:

"But, fellas, wouldn't that be an awful lot of flock?"

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