Re: Etiquette Question: Does it matter? #general

Sheila Coyne <secoyne@...>

I've read the various opinions on this issue with great interest.
Both sides/viewpoints raise valid concerns. Just as one would not
plagiarize intellectual research, neither should one do so with
genealogical research. Attribution is only right and fair. On
the other hand, as has been pointed out, very little of what many
of us do or have on a tree is strictly private and/or copyrightable.

Like others, I too take pride in my research and its results.
Indeed, my primary source of genealogical satisfaction is solving a
conundrum and piecing together what I can of someone's life and
family >from these public fragments available. I acknowledge that
for others, however, it is a more personal matter. I still come
down firmly on the "joy of sharing" side of the issue, however,
and offer here a small personal example.

A while ago, after seeing some "private photos" at Ancestry that
belonged to a family member I was researching (Ancestry shows a
stock graphic instead of the photo but tags this image with the
name of the people in the photo) which I mistakenly thought had
been posted by a relative who almost never shares photos that she
alone obtained (long story), I became extremely angry and resentful
and took my tree private. I subsequently got numerous Ancestry
messages >from other individuals (either unrelated or only distantly
related via marriage to my husband's ancestors)with questions about
people or pictures which Ancestry correctly attributed to my tree.
After some months and much thought and prayer, I decided to let go
of my resentment because, in the end, it was hurting me more than
anyone else. I take great pleasure in sharing what I've found and
helping someone else trace their own relatives. Ultimately, since
my goal is making these connections and making public the
fascinating web of the travels and unions of people over time, I no
longer worry about it. When I see (via Ancestry notification) that
someone has used a document or photo I've discovered or posted to
further their own research, I smile with pleasure. Goal accomplished.

If one's ultimate goal is primarily personal acknowledgment or
privacy, I respectfully suggest genealogy is not the best venue to

Sheila Coyne
Plano, Texas

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