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Private tree question

A problem shared is a problem halved. Post your brick walls here and see whether you can offer advice to others

Re: Private tree question

Postby JaneyH » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:39 pm

My tree is saved on FTM on my laptop and backed up to an external hard-drive regularly. I do periodically sync it with Ancestry online (when it's in a tidy, presentable state) and this tree is public.

What I have done, however, is that for attachments such as photos and scanned certificates, I have made these private media items. This means people can see my tree, which I believe is carefully researched and sourced, but without sharing the items that are more personal. Naturally all living people are marked as private. For me, this is a happy medium.

Only this week I've had a message via Ancestry from a person in New Zealand who has my 7x great grandfather as a common ancestor. Given he's the other side of the world I'm happy to share a few bits and pieces with him.


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Re: Private tree question

Postby Guy » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:19 pm

I cannot believe the attitude of some people here, so what if people copy your work you have lost nothing and stand to gain plenty.

When my brother in Scotland died back in 2007 it was only the fact that one of his neighbours knew he had a brother who was interested in family history the police managed to contact me and inform me of his death.
They did a Google search found my website with the family tree on it and phoned me and that was in spite of my phone number being on fast dial on his house phone.

In addition a week or so ago my wife was reconnected with a part of her family who had lost touch due to an aunt emigrating to Canada when my wife was a child.
She now talks on messenger to her extended family every day.

There is no way I would compare what I have spent on research over the 60 odd years I have been doing family history to the fact that I was contacted in time to lay my brother to rest, not to mention the joy my wife has got this last week.

The first instance confirmed I was correct to host my family history on an open website, the second has ensured I will never remove it no matter what.

Cheers
Guy
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Re: Private tree question

Postby carobradford » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:03 pm

The crucial point here is not about the joys of sharing and connecting. Both are good and neither are precluded by private Ancestry trees. As others have said, but I emphasise again, private trees are not secret trees or hidden trees. Contacting someone with whom one shares an ancestor is perfectly straightforward.

Adrian is absolutely right to raise the "legacy" issue. Preserving ones work for future generations is very important, but that is precisely the problem with public trees. When carefully researched and sourced data is subsumed into large numbers of cobbled together trees reaching back to Alfred the Great on one side and Attila the Hun on the other it is corrupted and devalued. It joins the genealogical equivalent of "fake news". Every time a lazy researcher uses public trees rather than original data they evaluate connections based, not on the quality of research, but on the number of other identical trees. A variation of Gresham's law then applies - bad family history drives out good.
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Re: Private tree question

Postby Mick Loney » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:31 pm

I'm with you on this Guy. The feedback one gets from having a trees freely available on-line, far outweighs the disadvantage of idiots copying the data willy-nilly. BUT, these idiots are only hurting themselves. They are certainly not hurting the data, which is normally write protected. Good genealogists will not copy the data without checking the sources first, so no harm done to them!

Don't worry about things you have no control over! If you are so worried about people copying your data, my advice is don't put it on-line! To my mind, the whole point of putting a tree on-line, is to share your research with others.


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Re: Private tree question

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:48 pm

carobradford wrote:... private trees are not secret trees or hidden trees. Contacting someone with whom one shares an ancestor is perfectly straightforward. ...

While this is true, I worry that the tiny window that someone would get into my tree, if it were private, would not encourage contact.

The case of my 3G GF, Richard Bate(s) is instructive, I think. From his census records, he is born around 1822 in Acton parish, Cheshire (I'm simplifying a bit). From his marriage record, his father is James Bate(s).

Look in the Acton parish registers and there is only one baptism that satisfies all those criteria. There's another Richard Bate there at roughly the right time, but with the wrong father. Case closed? Except that the parish register is wrong. His baptism is the one with the wrong father's name. There's an error in the father's name in the register. To demonstrate this, I had to show that the wrong-father baptism referred to a couple who were virtually impossible (no other children and no known marriage). Then I had to show that substituting the right father's name generated a couple who were sensible (other children and a marriage). But this isn't the worst of it - how did I realise that there was an error in the first place? That the baptism with the right father's name was not, in fact, my Richard? It wasn't obvious - I was looking for my (supposed) 4G GM's family when I found this other Richard continually lurking round my lot. "Wot you doin' 'ere?" Eventually I thought - what if this wasn't my lot - but his lot? That could only be so if there were an error in the parish register....

OK - I think even I've just lost me there.... But having all this on public view in Ancestry, with sources, and with a Comment item trying to explain means that people can at least see what I think the story is. If the tree were private, no-one would be any the wiser. Why bother to contact me when you can, it seems, see the whole story in the parish register? And how would that help the memory of my 3G GF?

For me, the idea is to advance knowledge - and that can't happen if I restrict its visibility.

Conversely, if you have confidential data in your tree, you must come to a different conclusion - but then, I'd never trust Ancestry with such data in the first place. My Ancestry tree is not my only tree.
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Re: Private tree question

Postby Redh3rring » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:42 pm

Even if you make your family tree private Ancestry still have the rights to your information. Which is why I deleted mine and now keep mine off line. Backed up in lots of different ways of course.


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Re: Private tree question

Postby johnf04 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:41 pm

My tree is public, on Ancestry, and I am happy for people to copy what they find on it. There are few people researching my and my wife's ancestors, and the public tree is a good way of making contact with them. The certificates and other documents attached confirm the accuracy of the research, in the tree.
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Re: Private tree question

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:49 pm

Redh3rring wrote:Even if you make your family tree private Ancestry still have the rights to your information. ...


In fairness, Ancestry need rights both to make your private tree searchable and to back it up.

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Re: Private tree question

Postby Guy » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:04 am

Redh3rring wrote:Even if you make your family tree private Ancestry still have the rights to your information. Which is why I deleted mine and now keep mine off line. Backed up in lots of different ways of course.


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Of course it does that is exactly what you signed up for before you added any information to their site.
You did read their terms didn't you? ;)

Terms & Conditions
"you grant Ancestry and its Group Companies a non-exclusive, transferable, sublicenseable, world-wide, royalty-free license for the maximum amount of time permitted by applicable law to host, store, copy, publish, distribute, provide access to and otherwise use User Provided Content uploaded or otherwise submitted by you to the Websites, including, hosting and access on co-branded services of that material, and to use the data contained in that User Provided Content as search results and to integrate that data into the Service as Ancestry or its Group Companies deems appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered. This license continues even if you stop using the Websites or the Services"

Cheers
Guy
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Re: Private tree question

Postby C Verrill » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:12 pm

Wow what a can of worms that question opened !

Many thanks to Peter, Sally and Caro for your constructive replies - I suppose I only wanted to know if I could protect my tree and then I can choose who I share my information with, which it what I now propose to do.
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