I work in a small, regional archive. I am the ONLY full-time staff person here, which means I do all the reference work, greet visitors, pull/shelve materials, supervise the reading room, and try to keep on top of the cataloging back-log, answer questions about the exhibits, answer the phone, make copies, etc....
Our collections focus on a single ethnic group who immigrated to the area heavily from the 1880s through the 1930s. The majority of our researchers are looking for genealogy information. Most come armed with at least the names, dates, and places they know. The man who came in yesterday was a different story.
He explained that he was just passing through (lived 2 states over), but thought he would stop in and see if he could find any information about his grandmother's family. I asked where in the area they had lived. He didn't know the name of the town. I asked for family names. He only knew her married name (which was the local equivalent of Smith), so I asked when they were married. He didn't know. He didn't know when they had come to this country, didn't have anyone's death date (so I could look for obits), didn't know of their religious affiliations (we have a lot of church records), political leanings, employment history. Oh, and he could only stay for about an hour.
Since our historical records were pointless without more information to narrow down the search, I tried to direct him to our online resources (we have subscriptions to useful things like Ancestry and the Institute of Migration from the "Old Country", that can usually help us find an immigration date, place of origin/settlement, birth/death dates, etc.)
He refused! He wanted to "have something to hold in my hands that my ancestors actually touched." I pointed out that the only way I would be able to find something like that is if we had more information to give me someplace to start. At that point he had almost reached his self-imposed time limit and left, muttering how useless I was and how I wouldn't even help him.
Wish I had a magic family tree wand, but alas, I do not. If you can't give me information to work with, I can't produce miracles.