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
I have also followed this discussion with great interest. Over two decades
I have spent much time and money researching my lines. I happily share my
research on my public but personal genealogy web site. I believe this is
the right thing to do because I want the work I have done to outlive me. My
web site consists of narrative text with links to ancestor trees.
Periodically, I find "trees" or web pages that contain some of the very
unique verbiage I use, but with no source information. All I want is an
acknowledgement that this information came >from my personal research. When
I email the persons who have "lifted" my research, the response has ranged
from anger, i.e., "how dare I not want to share this!" to no reply at all.So, in addition to not wanting to share information and letting others share
my research, there is a 3rd scenario. I have already shared my research
publically. I have no problem at all with someone copying my research from
my web site, as long as I am credited as having made this information
available. I don't think that's too much to ask.