folkarchivist

Beware of Ancestry Trees…but this we already knew

In General Genealogy on May 13, 2010 at 10:47 AM

I had two things happen yesterday that struck me.  First, I came across our family picture of one of our ancestors (b. 1827’ish) in a family tree on Ancestry.  According to Ancestry, that same picture appeared in 3 other family trees there.  None of them credited nor sourced the picture.  Given it has my aunt’s writing on it, I can say with some certainty that is indeed the picture I have in my possession.  Not a huge thing, but it seems a tad rude to me.  And of course, without documentation, how will any of them ever know where the original lives and judge whether my identification of the subject is correct?

Secondly, I thought I had found a cousin through Ancestry trees (yes, there’s a reason I don’t usually look at the tree results of a search), but it seems they have two of the same named individuals mixed up in their tree.  Now, they have sourced in that a birth index and census from 1871 through 1901 have been supplied.  I am quite certain they are for two different people.

Now, none of us is perfect of course.  But it does make me wonder.  I am all for sharing, that’s one of the most wonderful aspects of our genealogical community I think is it’s willingness to share and not hoard information.  But what can I do if someone mistakingly tacks my tree information to a wrong person?  And what should I do about that picture now floating about unsourced and uncredited?  And perhaps more importantly, have I ever done the same to someone else’s research/pictures/information/tree?  I hope not.

[If a google search ended you here and you can't figure out why, try the Search bar at the bottom of the page for your term.  Many topics and photos are in my archives.]

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  1. I completely agree with you! My tree is now a personal one because I had someone take pictures from my tree, crop them differently and then post them to another tree. I have also discovered several trees with incorrect information. I have learned the hard way to make sure that what I am attaching to my tree is documented!

  2. Great post. It’s definitely awkward when someone takes the information without asking, even if they’re closely related. No harm done in my case as far as I can see, but it got me to thinking what I would, or could, do if someone started linking up to a line where the connection isn’t proven. I’m thinking of taking my tree personal for that reason, although I worry that it will make my relative think it’s because I’m mad about their tree. Guess I’ll just cross that bridge when I come to it!

  3. My tree is now private for the same reason. I had personal stories which I had written taken by one “researcher”, incorporated into a “book”, which he is now selling through his online genealogy business. Someone foolish enough to buy his book then posted it to their WorldConnect tree, so my original stories and writings are now, without any attribution or permission whatsoever, republished. To make matters worse, the guy who put my stories in his book, actually threatened to sue the WorldConnect lady for putting HIS work online without his permission… There are a lot of great people out there, but all it takes is a stinker or two to really ruin things.

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