Topics

Sharing family tree information #general

Carol Gurstelle
 

I would like some advice on how much information to share with someone, unknown to me but distantly connected. After discovering shared relatives via another site, I contacted this person.  He has asked for birth, death, marriage, children information about my branch of the family. I am certain the connection is valid, but I am uncertain the protocol for sharing information, particularly for living relatives. While I well understand the desire to fill in as many blanks as possible, I'm not completely comfortable with sharing these details for living persons.  I am certain the connection is a valid one, and I want to be helpful, but... How have you handled this situation?

Carol Gurstelle, Roseville, MN USA

cgurstelle<at>comcast.net

Judy Salomon
 

I would only share information about dead relatives. I know they can get information on their own about living relatives but I would not share that information. Just my opinion. It would be different if you knew the person.
Judy Salomon

--
Judith Salomon
VP of Membership, JGS of North Jersey
FREUND Pruchnik, FELDMAUS Lezajnsk
SULTAN, Husiatyn, GOLDBERG Mostiska
SALOMON, HIRSCH, THAL Neumagen, Germany

Dahn Cukier
 

Anyone who can show a valid link to myself, I am willing
to send a family tree descendant list with dates of birth and death,

The only "secret" information is mother's maiden name. The other
information can be easily found onlline.

I do NOT supply GED files. I DO add a note to the descendant list that
the information supplied is copyrighted and cannot be uploaded, and
all information is questionable and needs to be verified if used.

Dani


When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas
(Gunsmoke)


On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 08:39:59 PM GMT+3, Carol Gurstelle <cgurstelle@...> wrote:


I would like some advice on how much information to share with someone, unknown to me but distantly connected. After discovering shared relatives via another site, I contacted this person.  He has asked for birth, death, marriage, children information about my branch of the family. I am certain the connection is valid, but I am uncertain the protocol for sharing information, particularly for living relatives. While I well understand the desire to fill in as many blanks as possible, I'm not completely comfortable with sharing these details for living persons.  I am certain the connection is a valid one, and I want to be helpful, but... How have you handled this situation?

Carol Gurstelle, Roseville, MN USA

cgurstelle<at>comcast.net

Hilary Henkin
 

I would focus on sharing the details of ancestors who are gone, who would be the link between his branch and yours. Establishing which ancestor is shared, has nothing to do with anyone currently alive.

Hilary Henkin

Researching:
Mogilev - BERLIN;  BELIISKI;  HENKIN - GENKIN;  MESCENIKOV;  POZ - POZE
Ekaterinoslav - KATZ; LAPIDUS;  LAVROTIN - LAVRUTIN - AVRUTIN;  PESACHINSKY; SHIMERNITSKY - SEMERNITSKY;  STEINHART
Roumania:  DONNENFIELD;  DOLLINGER;  RINCOVER - HARINCOVER;  WISENTHAL - VIESENTAUL
Harbin, China:  FELDMAN;  PENZNER;  SREBERK - SCHRIEBER;
Lublin, Poland:  KATZ;  JARMUSZ



On 5/20/2020 10:33 AM, Carol Gurstelle wrote:

I would like some advice on how much information to share with someone, unknown to me but distantly connected. After discovering shared relatives via another site, I contacted this person.  He has asked for birth, death, marriage, children information about my branch of the family. I am certain the connection is valid, but I am uncertain the protocol for sharing information, particularly for living relatives. While I well understand the desire to fill in as many blanks as possible, I'm not completely comfortable with sharing these details for living persons.  I am certain the connection is a valid one, and I want to be helpful, but... How have you handled this situation?

Carol Gurstelle, Roseville, MN USA

cgurstelle<at>comcast.net



Virus-free. www.avg.com

rebasolomon
 

     This is a very important question and I thank you for asking it.  First if all, at least you got an answer!! 😃.
     I agree with Judy Salomon, to only share information about dead relatives, especially in these times of scams, fraud and identity theft. I would add that you should go slowly, not quickly.  Is he a “collector” or a “researcher?” A researcher documents sources so that others can judge the evidence. A collector adds names without reproducible  documentation, which may be picked up by other collectors, and so on and so on. You only want to share your research with other researchers. How do you determine if he is a researcher? 
     1. You expect him to credit you as the researcher in his source.  Give him one connection and see if he follows through with crediting you. In addition, if his tree is public online, know that everything you give will forever come back to you as “hints,” and if he doesn’t credit you in the source, you will spend time on the trail, right back to your own work.
     2. Do you want any information from him? Again, give him one connection and see if and how he returns the favor.  I’ve met many great people this way, but I’ve also met many “takers” who take what I give, put their name on it, and disappear. 
     This is my opinion, based on 30+ years of research, but I’m open to discussion. 😃
Good luck and happy hunting!
Reba Harris Solomon
ZALCMAN, LUBECK-Congress Poland
CHARAS, METZGER, KESSELMAN, PRIESAND, POPOFSKY-Galicia
LESANSKY-Russia

Stephen Katz
 

I agree. Share information about deceased relatives only, and even then, no social security numbers or other such sensitive information.
Let the other person do the research to find living descendants. Also, get some family info in return!

Jx. Gx.
 

Carol,

I concur with the majority of people who responded to your question; don't reveal information about living relatives. You would be violating their right to privacy and could potentially exposing them to a scammer.  With respect to decreased ancestors, share only the basics that is already in the public domain. Release only a small amount at a time and wait to see if they reciprocate and the type of info they share. If you can, try to validate their info. While we all want to be helpful to our fellow genealogists, you mustn't forget there is always a bad apply in every group.

Jeffrey Gee
Arizona

neilan1
 

Regarding the entering of family tree info on a website such as Ancestry, it's a good idea to ask first. When I first followed Ancestry' s policy of leaving the names of living relatives off of the tree, I received so many complaints from family members who were UPSET that they WEREN'T listed, that I now ask first. Only one small family group ever declined, as the husband worked for the government.
Neilan Stern

Jonathan Jacobs
 

Just in case you didn't know this.  If you mark someone as 'living', details including names are marked as private.  So people will not see the names or dates.  Just gender.
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Jonathan Jacobs, Computer Technician
Amateur Genealogist  - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Carolyn Lea
 

Reba,

I totally agree with you. I sent some of my research - which I do not post online but share with family members that are interested - and My elderly cousin's son took my work and posted it online without asking or crediting my many years of research. Unfortunately, this has made me less willing to share. I never share living people. 

Judy Russell did a post on this several years ago along with a discussion of plagiarism and copyright.

Carolyn Lea (Schwarzbaum)
Schwarzbaum (Posen) Lewinsohn- Levison (Elbing) Rothschild (Germany) Basch (Poland/England) Hammerstein (Poland)

 

Nicole Heymans
 

I maintain my databases offline in Legacy, and export in GedCom format when updating my MyHeritage or JGFF trees. When exporting to GedCom for public viewing, I disactivate export of anyone marked "private" and export only vital data (no notes, photos, etc.).

Nicole Heymans, near Brussels, Belgium

martyn@...
 

I have also learned to be cautious. I must say that I do not much like the big Genealogy sites whose view of reliable sources is no greater than quoting their own customers' unsourced trees. 

"Collectors" can really be a nuisance, like the lady a year or two back who approached me and asked for some help with her tree because she had been "doing" her genealogy for nearly a year and had only found 26,000 ancestors! She did not know what I meant when I asked if she had sourced any of them.
A little information first and see then what develops.  Sometimes one can find a most useful and reciprocal partner and that can be great. It's fun to help but care is the byword.
Martyn Woolf
London

Jonathan Jacobs
 

 
Re: Sharing family tree information #general
From: martyn@...
Date: Sat, 23 May 2020 10:07:00 EDT

I have also learned to be cautious. I must say that I do not much like the big Genealogy sites whose view of reliable sources is no greater than quoting their own customers' unsourced trees. 

I think what you are talking about is GENI and possible to a smaller extent, MyHeritage.  I agree.  But, with Ancestry, I immediately (now) ignore the tree hints.  Just look at the documents only.  I only look at the tree hints as a last resort to see as a general rule and see in which direction others went.  But I do try to see if there is any documentation that proves it.
 

Jonathan Jacobs

Carolyn Lea
 

My cousin  had a woman who approached her (tree on Ancestry).We both had doubts that she was linking to the right person in her tree and within a few weeks she also had thousands of family members - lots of kings and queens, etc. Fortunately, the only help we had given was disproving her link to us - which she left in anyway. 

Carolyn Lea  LEACL7@...

MERYL RIZZOTTI
 

Re Family trees. I had to make my FamilyTree private because I had a half cousin who not only stole my research but then made suppositions that were not true, never did research and then created her own tree combining what she lifted from my and other trees. I complained to Ancestry but they said she could put whatever she wanted on her tree. For example, she could say Queen Elizabeth is her grandmother. Although, they have rules about plagiarism they still wouldn't make her remove what she put on her tree. In another case, a descendant of the second husband of my great grandmother contacted me when he found my great grandmother had been married to his great or great greatgrandfather. I shared some sensitive information about her and told him not to post it anywhere. He promised; but then broke his promised and not only put it on his tree but shared it with other collateral relatives of his and there is nothing I can so about it. I'm sort of surprised because the strong implication was that his gggrandfather was responsible for my ggrandmother's death. Ironically, we are distant DNA matches but that's probably due to endogamy. So now, I have to know who I'm sharing with before I do so. You also have to realize that it's easier for people to take others information rather than to do their own research to verify whether or not the info is accurate.
Meryl Rizzotti
Researching SPECTER, CIMES, SLEPAK, POVLOTSKY, LEIBOWITZ,TEPEROWICZ, MAYEROWICZ, ACHRAMOWICZ

Ben Karlin
 

If you include a deceased mother’s maiden name of living persons it is not difficult to figure out who they are. Don’t give it or her parents’ surnames.

The other thing is, as stated in a previous reply, I almost always give a general, incomplete response asking for information back. Used to look at their online trees but often it is too much work to A) prune errors, and B) find the alleged connection and trace it both to them and to me. Have stopped doing that. Insufficient return on investment of time and especially the distraction by allowing someone else to direct my research.

I do try to give something and to remain courteous. If their information and request seem sincere, it may be best to give a timeframe in which you will devote time and attention, and respond more fully.

Christine Hills
 

I don't have any problem about sharing information on ancestors who have died but would never share anything about a living person without their permission. In our country (Ireland) there are strict data protection laws and publishing anything about a living person without their written consent can lead to heavy fines.
Christine Hills, Dublin, Ireland tinasusanamy@...

Peter Straus
 

The posting of fabricated or otherwise false information is a problem I’ve encountered in many locations—one of the worst actually being Jewish Gen’s own Family Tree of the Jewish People (FTJP).  The only effective antidote I’ve found is to be diligent about citing sources for my information, and to discount most information I find without source documentation.  (My biggest frustration with FTJP is that it does not allow for citations.)  I try to keep my own research in limited circulation, but I’ve found that over time most of it shows up on one tree or another anyway.

--Peter Straus

   San Francisco

Emily Garber
 

There have been several comments on the topic of "stealing" family trees. This topic, similar to many we've covered in this forum over the years, is not a new one. I would like to dispel the notion that our family tree research, in and of itself, is protected by copyright laws. Facts cannot be copyrighted. Nor can lists of publicly available information (such as dates of death, birth and marriage). One's hard work, in itself, is not something that can be copyrighted. So, Ancestry was correct: someone copying the information in your online tree is not a copyright issue. It may be an ethical issue (i.e., it would be proper for someone to ask for permission before using the information in it), but it is not a legal one under copyright law.
 
On the other hand, under today's law in the United States if one were to write a narrative of one's family history in a document or book, whether published or not, those exact words could not legally be taken and used without permission. Similarly, if you took your Gedcom file and created a graphic tree, the image of that tree would be yours and legally protected even if the underlying data was not. The only exception to this would be if you (the author) explicitly stated that your copyright was held under the rules of creative commons (and there are various types of creative commons licenses). Under current law in the USA, new written works and images are protected with or without a copyright symbol.
 
I am not a lawyer (I would hope a knowledgeable attorney would correct me if what I have said above is incorrect), but there are several lawyers who are also genealogists who have written on this issue. Jim Tanner at the blog Genealogy's Star posted this article in 2011. https://genealogysstar.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-is-original-copyright-vs-family.html
Jim is an accomplished genealogist and an attorney.
 
Judy G. Russell may also have an article about this on her blog the Legal Genealogist. She has written extensively about copyright and also does a nice presentation on the issues involved. https://www.legalgenealogist.com/
 
Emily Garber <emilyhgarber@...>
Phoenix, AZ

Robert Hanna
 

I couldn't care less if people steal my research or have misinformation in their tree.  I have several trees online.  I will share them with anybody, but don't allow anybody to write to them.  The only tree I can't control to a great extent is geni.com.  However, I do use it to find leads to information that I don't have.  But I don't treat it as factual information until I check it out.  I don't give out info on living people.  I don't give out info that I feel is secret.  I don't post pictures of living people without their permission.  And I don't post pictures of children ever.
 
Robert Hanna
NYC