Like most researchers I subscribe to genealogy sites. Some of these sites allow me to submit family trees for other people to view.
I have a few trees on Ancestry but they are not my finest work because they lack many essential citations. All that information is on my Reunion software package but I have been lazy and not transferred or updated it. My trees are out there in case someone else is researching the same families as me and they want to make contact.
It’s an exciting day when I pick up a message through Ancestry. Most recently I was contacted by a lady from Sussex. Not only do we share the same great grandparents but I had been desperate for information on her grandmother for some years. We are having fun unravelling our family falsehoods and rumours. I have also been sent photographs by Ancestry members and have had messaging relationships with some lovely helpful people.
You know there is going to be a ‘BUT’ here, don’t you. Yes, for several reasons. I could write and rant about the inaccuracies in other people’s trees. Please never rely on the information on another person’s tree. Check it out yourself, do your own research and don’t guess or assume. Be sure you have proper evidence and that it is documented somewhere before you add anyone to a family tree. Don’t even believe inscriptions in Granny’s family Bible. They lied.
Now, I like to have my trees on ‘public’ mode so that people can see them without asking and that way, if they are not of interest, they won’t bother me. I like to share, but please, if you are going to write a magazine article based on my tree and take my photographs to illustrate it, please contact me first. I always like to ask if I can use a member’s photograph and take the opportunity to find out where the photograph came from, if there are any more and ascertain that it’s authentic. So, should I make the trees ‘private’ which means an Ancestry member must ask to view them? After all, the information is out there somewhere. I really want people to contact me for help or to tell me we are related. I just think I’m a little possessive about the picture of Great Great Grandfather Charles Hoile Baker. So I’m sharing him again…with you. I’ll get over it.