Author Topic: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves  (Read 25893 times)

Offline cilvrnum

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #108 on: Wednesday 11 July 07 12:39 BST (UK) »
I'm a bit late coming in here in this thread but I can understand what is being said and about GR.   What I dont understand is that GR allows the tree holder to give permission to someone to "view" their tree.  Although GR states it is bad practice to take a tree without express permission, it does nothing to enforce its own code of practice.
Taking a tree without asking first is tantamount to stealing personal property.  Consider the care that we take in making sure we have source information to establish a relationship, before we add it to our trees.   There seems to be no spirit of camaraderie. 
The problem I have is the willingness in some people to take a tree to make theirs bigger and save themselves from what I see is the whole purpose of genealogy, and that is, the satisfaction of knowing they have quality information and have checked the source information for every entry.  There is no sense of achievement otherwise.
Unless one checks each name, that cannot be said.
Where there are so many Genes Reunited subscribers with sorry tales to tell of a similar nature, how do they know that the tree they have taken as their own really is quality information, and not put together by people who occasionally tell us they put the names together for the fun of it.  Really :o 
Could it also be that a subscriber to GR who has got caught the way that some in this thread have, might have retaliated, taken down their tree and put bogus names into it?  Its quite possible.
So what does it need?  In my opinion it needs a code of camaraderie, an unwritten law that all amateur genealogists follow. 
What is the use of passing trees around whilst we are alive and not keeping in touch with those who can establish a common ancestry, in knowing who else is related?  If we dont agree to share our living "cousins" with all living who share a relationship, if,  when we pass on, our successors have more searching to do all over again that we could have saved them from having to do?.
My suggestion would be that it should be agreed that where a tree is shared, if the person who takes it and adds it to their own, having proved a common ancestry with the tree holder, they should agree to make it known to the original tree holder when they find someone else who can legitimately say, and prove that they are an ancestor.     
Wouldnt it be right for someone to willingly prove by some means, their ancestry by giving source information before a tree is shared?  Those who have a genuine purpose in having accurate family trees and ancestral records, cannot fail to agree.

Offline Uncle Reff

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #109 on: Wednesday 11 July 07 13:03 BST (UK) »

Really folks stop being so precious, family history is for sharing...


Amen...  :)
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Offline JAP

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #110 on: Wednesday 11 July 07 14:43 BST (UK) »

Really folks stop being so precious, family history is for sharing...

Amen...  :)

And a big 'me too' from me too (sounds a bit like the Two Ronnies!) ;D

No way would I want to stomp off in a sulk taking my ball with me  ;)

Let's remember that at least if we get in the way of the proverbial bus our info will still be there available to persons who might be interested in it - especially if it's on an ongoing site (not just our own site) and even if it's flawed (after all, those who come after can do their own verification).

Wouldn't you want that for others of your larger family?

Or - especially - if you were the one looking for the info?

I regret that I haven't put the information which I have up on the Web.
(I did start in a very small way but then changed providers ...)
My information includes not only my own tree and the huge amount of peripheral information that I have (I do tend to follow all my branches and twigs and twiglets not to mention those of persons who have come from other trees and have married into a branch, twig or twiglet of my tree).  And it includes what have turned, for me, into one or two one-name studies.

I really should do so - otherwise it will be lost (unless - unlikely - someone in my immediate family starts to take an interest).  Of course, that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.  It has been enormous (albeit expensive!) fun for me but it would be nice if others could have the benefit of it too.  And if I'd followed any other rather expensive hobby such as reading or mountaineering/bushwalking or music or theatre or bird-watching or wine or dining or travelling or whatever, there'd be nothing to leave behind.  Hang on a minute - aren't those my hobbies too  ::)

Just to balance things, from rather sad experience I am very careful about publicizing information about living people.  I've been very surprised that even fairly close rells haven't accepted that such info is not to be passed on (e.g. my children's info which is not for me to publicize).  And saddened when older rells (yes, I do still have one or two older rells  :D - OK, I cannot tell a lie, they are persons in their 90s! ) have been upset at their info being publicized and have assumed (wrongly) that it came from me - not knowing that all anyone had to do at the time was go down to the public library and look at their records on microfiche (now I can just look at them on my home computer on CD!).

JAP 

Offline Brambletye

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #111 on: Wednesday 11 July 07 19:56 BST (UK) »
Here's an idea that might calm us all down and prevent the worst excesses of what a few of us feel is "borrowing" (to put it politely) someone else's hard-won and in many cases, expensive research.

If we don't want our long years of toil to go to waste but by the same token still have it preserved for future generations, and at the same time we don't want to see our stuff splattered all over the 'net without even a passing reference to our own hard work, the best ways are this (a) leave it in your Will to all your peer group relatives and their descendants so if you go under a bus tomorrow, no-one has to try and pick up the bits (metaphorically, not literally - yuk) (b) lodge it with the Society of Genealogists in London.

They have nothing online bar their publication catalogue - if you want access to any other data you either have to go to London and look it up yourself or pay to have the material copied and sent to you. Thus, only the serious researcher is going to do it -  any freeloaders looking to create a surname list that is bigger than anyone else's won't bother.

Judging from the general tone of this thread, and my own previous comments, it seems that what's causing the most resentment is the time and money put into a piece of work that is then spread about like so much strawberry jam by someone who either wishes to claim it as their own research and/or has made no input whatsoever into the creation of it; and whilst we are all interested in sharing info with people whom we feel are genuinely interested and have a genuine link to the family, this surname-harvesting lark is a pain in the bum, quite frankly.

As for trying to sell our research and trees on EBay, what can I say - if this isn't a cynical and parasitical method of making a living for doing absolutely nothing whatsoever towards the end product, I don't know what is. Lesson here is if you don't want to be taken advantage of, don't post it on the 'net.

My problem was that I didn't post anything online - a genuine relative with whom there was actually a common proveable link received my work via e-mail and took the liberty of putting it up without even bothering to inform me, let alone ask, and upset a good few people along the way including me because he was told where he needed to stop, and took no notice. As a few people have said, you can't prevent people looking up stuff and posting it - but as I knew there was no way he'd have got some of the detail without a visit to the UK or getting it from me, I knew I'd been sucked dry, and when the point came that it was apparent more info was available at his end but that I had not been contacted, merely left to find out by chance, I knew I'd been had. This does rather negate the concept of sharing, if one party gives everything and the other decides to start holding out on you - when it ceases to be reciprocal, you know you've got the losing hand.

As for being precious about it - if anyone feels I need to get over myself, I'd just like to point out that an expenditure of over £700 on certificates alone to get the true picture of the family as it was at any given point between 1837 and 1910 when a trip to the Records Offices was not possible is not small beer - any more than one could say that of the hours and days spent in the Records Office at times when it actually was possible - sorting out the Land Tax, Poor Rate, Tithe Apportionment, Bastardy, Settlement and Removal orders, Churchwarden's Accounts, Manor Court Rolls, Copyholds and Leaseholds, Wills and Probate, Parish Registers, old newspapers and so on.

I like to think I'm an historian as well as a genealogist, albeit an amateur - I don't care a twopenny damn about how many people are on my tree as long as I know something about how those that are there lived, where they lived, how they made their living and so forth - otherwise it really would be just a list of meaningless names to no good purpose.

I'm probably about to join CatOne on the parapet, but at the opposite end of the barbed wire...! ;D (should I duck now?!)
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Offline Sylviaann

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #112 on: Wednesday 11 July 07 22:46 BST (UK) »
I agree with you Brambletye.  That's what happened to me.  I went to the LDS for two hours a week for 10 years, passed on the tree to a relative who put it on the net as his work, with mistakes I might add.

My tree seems to have been taken over by an American who has added his own family to it and made it completely wrong.  Very sad

I'm logging out of this subject now.  Seems to be the older ones against the newer boys.

Sylviaann
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Offline cilvrnum

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #113 on: Wednesday 11 July 07 22:48 BST (UK) »
Clearly there are people with valid issues.  I dont think this thread should be ended.


indiapaleale

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #114 on: Wednesday 11 July 07 23:27 BST (UK) »
I can see both sides of this issue......although I tend to lean with the "it's all out there anyway" point of view.

I certainly don't feel as though I own my tree....even though I have done much leg work over the past 10-12 years and spent much moolah. ......at least 80 certificates...and yearly subs to Ancestry for the past 5 years.......lots of downloads from Scotlands People ....etc.etc.
And not counting the trips to Birmingham Central Library and Reg office every couple of years.......I live in California!!

But I do have a problem with a rellie who has really got things messed up. I made contact with her via a web site...not this one. Her grandfather is my grandmother's brother...so we are close relatives and we were both excited to find each other. She asked for all the details of my grandmother's marriage, children and grandchildren, etc. I obliged and included living people......big mistake!

Well, she has posted her/our tree on her web site and ....she has my HUSBAND married to my SISTER........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My husband is not amused! LOL

I suppose that worse things have happened at sea!  ;D ;D ;D ;D

Indi......who can't get too excited about stuff!    ;D ;D ;D

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #115 on: Thursday 12 July 07 07:44 BST (UK) »


 Seems to be the older ones against the newer boys.

Sylviaann

Not quite sure what you mean there Sylviaann, I have had an interest in family history and been researching my tree all my life, I started as a small child.
In the past family historians shared by either transcribing their records to other interested parties or later photocopied their records and sent them through the post. There was no expectation that a tree or research would be sent back in return, we shared for the joy of sharing.
This cost time and money yet it still went on.
The advent of the internet has allowed us to share the information freely with little extra effort.

In addition it has never been cheaper to access records, many are available free of charge others may be posted for a modest sum when compared to the past alternative of having to travel to view the record.
However the costs are really a red herring those costs were paid to allow oneself to gain the knowledge and were paid whether results were shared or not.

I have had not only my own lineage on a web site for many years but transcripts of records. I have no way of knowing who views the records or even who downloads the records. A few of the visitors contact me but most do not. That does not matter what does count is when perhaps 5 years after adding records online I suddenly get an email telling me my website has allowed an 80 year old the chance to see the grave (and feel close to the grave they have never had the chance to see) of their mother.
Or a simple thank you for sharing the information online.

Emails like that tell me that it is worth sharing the information, it doesn't matter if individuals make out the research I have done is their research, I know the truth and they know the truth.

Share for the joy of sharing not for what one gets in return.
Cheers
Guy
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As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.

Offline Brambletye

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #116 on: Thursday 12 July 07 20:57 BST (UK) »
I have just had another e-mail that makes me cringe.

I have, for the last few days, been in (rather cautious) correspondence with someone who has a clearly defined family connection going back to the early 1800s. She has just e-mailed me with a partial tree concerning my lot rather than hers, and I was assured that the sender "got most of the info. from census, church records, IGI and BMD".

Sadly, it is not true - most of the info has clearly been trawled straight off the Ancestry tree of the person who originally abused my willingness to share, and the data has now been fed back to me by my corresepondent - who, given the sources she has quoted above, seems to be claiming she has done the work herself

Most of it is even in the same format as it appears online, I am amazed she might think I haven't seen it; a few things have been changed on her part, which now makes the content of e-mail I got even less accurate than the stuff that's up on Ancestry. I take it this was a feeble attempt to throw me off the scent, because the genuine dates are there for all to see. I think I am now expected to correct it - maybe she's testing me? or what, exactly?

So, it seems the biter has now been bit - "his" research, i.e. mine, is now being passed off by this third party as hers - and has now been sent back to me, the original source! so we have come full circle, but sadly, the data has become corrupted along the way.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!"

"...but when we've practised for a while, how vastly we improve our style..."

People who are going to blag your data and pass it off as their own hard work really need to have the original source reference to hand, and preferably not repeat the mistakes made by the person who got it from you - especially if they can't spell, and are quoting data you know they can't have got in the US or OZ...!

She is of course unaware I was the original source for her source, so she's in for a major shock when I tell her I'm onto it... the dead giveaway is that nobody in the UK refers to anywhere as "Xxxxxxx Co. or County"  - that's an Americanism, so I can spot her source at ten paces.

I know for a fact this is going on because there is one significant aspect regarding a certain relative that no-one else apart from myself could possibly know about unless they had seen the microfilm of the old newspapers in the local Studies Library or been told about it by me. Both the other two parties live thousands of miles away; and the recent contact has fed me back my own data less than a fortnight into the exercise, having not even had any previous knowledge of the marriage of one of my lot to one of hers, so I don't think she's made a quick trip to do the look-ups.

I smell a major rat here...but the pity of it is, the more this sort of thing happens, the more the data on various sites will be so inaccurate that future generations will be at a total loss and in many cases, may have to start again.

The only cure I can see for this is to post my work up myself, quote all the sources with attached images as proof, and hope people are discerning enough to see the difference; but what is to stop someone downloading it, posting it up later as their own work, and filling it full of so many factual and typographical errors and sweeping assumptions of their own that my efforts become negated? or else, as one other poster has said, trying to flog it on EBay...

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