Author Topic: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves  (Read 25870 times)

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #90 on: Monday 09 July 07 22:54 BST (UK) »
This thread continues to amaze me, how is it possible for someone to commit a theft of an on line tree?

The is to deprive someone of the use of something (depending on the locality either temporarily or permanently).

From what has been written in the thread so far nobody has been deprived of the use of their tree therefore no theft has been committed.

What this thread is really about is either plagiarism or breach of copyright, not theft.

If ones tree is copied one does not suddenly lose the memories of the joy and trails of gaining the information nothing is actually lost, so why worry?
If one is worried about inaccurate links being made to ones collected data put a rider on your website that only the information on this site has been verified by you.

One of the joys of family history is sharing information with others, there can be no joy if worries over plagiarism cloud the issue.
Don't worry about it do your own thing and let the others worry about how they came about the data they hold.

You have had the joy and experience of finding the information that cannot be taken from you.
Guy   The site that gives you facts not promises! Tombstones & Monumental Inscriptions.

As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.

Offline GRBate

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #91 on: Monday 09 July 07 23:44 BST (UK) »
Sorry but this thread isn't getting anywhere.

I think what is behind peoples concerns is (a) the fear that somebody else will take the credit for their work and that they will be "cut out of the loop" (b) that suspect data will become so deeply ingrained in published trees that it will be very difficult for future researchers to make headway

To move forward I suggest we establish and promote informal guidelines for the circumstances under which it is (a) OK to copy a published tree (b) re-publish it

I offer the following for starters

(1) If you really don't want it copied, dont publish it in the first place. (But nobody gets anywhere then.)
(2) A copier should have legitimate reason for copying a tree or part of a tree; a family link, a potential link (e.g. common surname and town), academic interest or compilation of a reference source (e.g seeking to exhaustively catalogue a village), ...
(3) a copier should not seek to gain financial advantage from material offered free of charge.
(4) It is only polite to ask if a tree can be copied.
(5) It is wise to ask; at least you might be notified if the originator subsequently discovers errors

(6) Acknowledge the source; if Y copies from X's GR tree then Y should list it as "secondary evidence from X" or similar; If Y checks it with a census or another primary source and quote that, then that takes precedence.
If that is done, a third person Z can see whether he should try to contact X for first-hand data; If asked, Y should direct Z to X.
Thus X's information is spread (which must be what was intended when it was published) Y can have the data, and Z can get to the originator and knows the provenance of the data
(7) do not reproduce living relatives (say b after 1920) in public forum even if present in the original, unless independently researched and permission granted.
(8) If no source is given for data then it is unwise to believe it, never mind reproduce it.

(9)We do NOT want  copyright lawyers making money out of family history researchers. There's too much of that already.


Willenhall, Staffs-hundreds of names, principally Bate, Harbach, Ratcliffe, Head, Forrester, Morgan, Evans, Clift, Tonks, Downing, Challenor, Turner
Knighton, Radnor: Morgan
Shropshire: Bate, Forrester, Head, Ratcliffe, Clift
Bromsgrove Worcs: Harbach, Head

Offline Sylviaann

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #92 on: Tuesday 10 July 07 11:05 BST (UK) »
Actually there is a piece in this month's family tree magazine about copyright and, yes, you do own the copyright and no-one is allowed to copy the whole of it without permission though  I doubt if anyone will be suing anyone else about this.

It's just more annoying to those of us who didn't put it on the net in the first place.  I only sent it to a relative

Census information is Crown Copyright, from
Norfolk: Gooch, Loveday, Lake, Betts
Suffolk: Gooch, Crosby, Turner
Hampshire: Laws, Burrows
Kent: Beer
Jersey: Barette, de Gruchy
East London: Middleton, Gower, O'Farrell, Smith, Weston

Offline Zeb

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #93 on: Tuesday 10 July 07 11:09 BST (UK) »
I know this stuff happens but I'm very curious.

Why would someone want to steal someone's tree and what would they gain from it?
Derby: WOODCOCK (Donnington)
Devon: HARRIS (Plymouth)
Lancashire: DERRICK
Lincolnshire: CROPPER, WOODCOCK (Boston)
Wales: HARRIS, PRITCHARD (Pembrokeshire)
Desperate for my Woodcocks from Birmingham!

Offline Brambletye

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #94 on: Tuesday 10 July 07 12:06 BST (UK) »
Hi Zeb,

I think it's some sort of bizarre competition between those of a certain type of genealogical "researchers" to see who can gather up the greatest number of relatives to put on their tree - I've never been able to see the point of it either. As I said in an earlier post, it's a bit like train-spotting - see who can cop the most ancestors. Bit sad, really...

...and Guy is quite right, it's not actually theft in the true sense of the word, it's plagiarism. I have never posted an online tree; any info. I send anyone is following personal contact, and most of those to whom I have sent material follow the unwritten code of not posting it on the 'net without asking - it's just when you suddenly discover that someone has put something up without asking you or even bothering to tell you so you can see it for yourself... or worse, when they were specifically asked to stop at a certain level and not to get into the realms of one's parents or grandparents. It can come as a rather nasty surprise when you stumble across it by accident, all stuck up on a distant relative's online tree.

I am a good deal more wary these days than I was when I began - I will only give details of anything below 1901 if I am confident there is mutual trust and respect.
Census information is Crown Copyright, from

Offline jksdelver

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #95 on: Tuesday 10 July 07 12:17 BST (UK) »
I have been watching this thread with interest. I shared some information with someone on Genes. She posted some of that info that I given her about my close family. When I asked her to take it off this is her reply:-

"Sorry but I don't' think you have any right to ask this.  You are not

the only person who is doing research on the XXXX family.  I have

had contact from loads of people who are doing research and it is not

all connected to you.  All the other people I have had contact with

have all been really nice and courteous and quite happy to share

information.  I have even shared info with you that you didn't know

about, including the illegitimate daughter.

I won't be contacting you again as I thought tracing my family tree

would be a pleasurable experience but unfortunately you don't seem to
see it that way.

Thanks for your original help. "

So you can't win them all


Offline CatOne

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #96 on: Tuesday 10 July 07 12:34 BST (UK) »
Unless you are only children of only children of only children.... etc, how is a tree "yours" alone anyway? My ancestors are their ancestors, I can't lay claim to them. How can you be possessive over people who are also their grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. I dont understand how someone can own the copyright to a tree, when there are probably thousands of descendants with exactly the same ancestors. Surely only the format can be "yours", how you choose to present it? Baffled  ???

Had I been possesive over sharing "my" tree, I would not have nearly three pages of cousins on GR, and many photos/wills/family stories/Christening & marriage records of my family. I am quite happy to share with my cousins even though occasionally I get little in return as I may be further on than them. (Who knows what they may find in the future and then share with me) If there is personal information/written accounts done by yourself, that you do not want publishing, you just do not pass on that particular information surely......

And surely you verify exactly how a person is related before passing on "your" tree anyway, thus avoiding the name collectors and profiteers right from the beginning....

Running and hiding now, ready to get my head chewed off  :)
Dunning/Downing, Osborn/e, Astley -Cheshire/Birmingham/Middlesex
Fanthorpe/Hall/Driffill/Storm - Lincolnshire
Bower/Woodward/Bingham/Pettinger/Shaw - Nottinghamshire
Shaw, Marland - Lancashire
Broph(e)y - Queens County, Ireland
Richards - Neath Swansea
Hunt/Fox - Lincs, Waterfield/Middleton - Staffs
Hart/Harland/Askew/Scales - Yorkshire
Brereton/Vickers - Cheshire
Gleaves/Sandford/Hulse/Hulme - Wolstanton/Audley Staffs
Census information is Crown Copyright, from

Offline lil growler

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #97 on: Tuesday 10 July 07 13:27 BST (UK) »
Hi all

Just curious. Would it be correct protocol to add living persons on an on line tree and in regards to those that add that information to their own on line tree. 
I can understand if a person was upset about their immediate families details that are posted on someone else's on line tree and especially if they are living ( a sensitive issue )  and yes although ones ancestors maybe the same they are not necessarily known to them. People are entitled to feel how they feel and say what they wish to say, learn by mistakes if any are made ( providing information )

I guess a person feels a Tree is theirs because they built it and since our perceptions differ were  all going to have an opinion about it.



PS you can come out now CatOne

Ireland, Scotland , England, America, Australia, New Zealand

Offline Helen D

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Re: Fed Up With Genealogy Tree Thieves
« Reply #98 on: Tuesday 10 July 07 13:31 BST (UK) »
Cat One

I couldn't agree with you more! I too fail to see how anyone can 'own' a tree.

Personally I do not give anyone details of my immmediate family, however well I have got to know them on the internet. If someone puts stuff I know to be wrong on the net, I would tell them, but not get my kn****rs in a twist ;D. It is their loss after all and I know the true facts - but of course I could be wrong ;)!

Guy Etchells I agree wholeheartedly with you too ;D

Dowdell, Pressley, Snook, Read, Hurle, Small, Cannings .....  Wiltshire
Fitzgerald, Greenhill .... London
Thursfield, Newey, Berrisford, Wood, Hulme ..... Warwickshire/Staffordshire
Ditchfield, Unsworth, Clarke, Perrin, Orrett .... Cheshire/Lancs
Jones ..... N Wales