Friday, August 15, 2014

Why is sharing genealogy sometimes hard?

I am always struck by in the process of researching your family it is often so hard to share information with other researchers. Numerous times in my thirty plus years of doing research I have come across other researchers that have information I would like to have and I am willing to share what I have. Then when I go to do it many factors come into play.

The first one that frustrates me the most is the large amount of dead emails. Don't know what we are going to do when the researchers are gone. Collaboration comes to a end. The ability to share records and compare notes is not longer possible. There are lot's of situations like this. Couple of examples would be on Rootsweb and Ancestry. Many have lineages that make sense and are something that I want to learn more about, but you get no response or the dreaded mailer demon. So very frustrating.

The second one is when you do get a response and you find they have based their family line on thin air. Beware the shaking leaf. Just because 100 people have confirmed a lineage without any sources does not make that family line right. It is sad to think the quality of the research is very low when you don't have sources. Some people have very good genealogies, but when you do not source it how are we suppose to trust it. Simple lesson here is don't trust unsourced work. Do your work and use sources.

The third problem is when you contact someone and they have lots of information and they do not want to share at all. I have an example of this in my own family. Cousins have inherited the family history items over the years, but do not share the same surname. My father and I have tried several times to set up a meeting with them. In one instance they canceled at the last minute when we were driving to their home which is over three hours away. Don't understand what they feel they have to protect. My fear one day is that it's going to run into people that don't know what it is and it ends up in the dumpster.

The fourth problem is when someone is out purposely changing genealogy or copying other's work. I heard of a incident recently where a person not even related to the people was copying their pictures on Find A Grave and then changing the names. Then the person would repost it so they had control. The ramifications long term make my head spin. What are future researchers going to do? Does this happen on Ancestry and other genealogy sites?

Would love to hear your stories on this subject. As always thank you for visiting.


Genevieve Netz said...

On the Ancestry Facebook page I frequently see it suggested to purposefully put mistakes into your public trees to "catch" people who copy without researching. Apparently one of their main goals in genealogy is to "catch" people copying. (in my former life as an elementary teacher, I think I met some of these people as children. "Teacher, he's copying!" they whined a hundred times a day, no matter whom they were sitting near. And also, "Teacher, he's not playing fair!")

Genevieve Netz said...

Please excuse my typos. I am typing on my tablet.

Anonymous said...

I am usually very happy to share my research, but there are times, when it is a bit hard. A reader recently made a comment on my blog that got me looking for more information about an ancestor which we shared. I spent days trolling through probate records, when bam, I found some missing information. I contacted the reader and passed on the new information. The reply was that's wonderful, now can you send me the documents you found. Part of me thinks, I just spent hours and hours staring at my computer screen reading 18th century documents til I thought my head would explode and you want me to just pass them on. Of course I did, and I hope that when I need help there'll be a nice person who will reciprocate.

Patty Kaspi said...

I can appreciate all the comments following the post and I agree with everyone. I work hard at tracing families and try to find the newspaper articles that help to add a little more color to their lives. I cite all my work (because it matters) and believe it is important to respond as quickly as possible. The only thing that gets in my way is life, sometimes. I have an ancestry tree and started building on Family Search, which is frustratingly difficult. I know there are a lot of cheaters out there and I never accept someone else's work as flawless. If for no other reason, that is the rationale behind my building my tree from the roots up.

James Marciniak said...

IN SPADES!!! I don't understand the reticence of people to communicate - anywhere. My Maternal Grandmother's maiden name was going to be a cinch - I thought. How tough could Hudepohl be to find, not a name you would expect to find often in the same town. Unless the town is Cincinnati! Grandmother's father was a tailor, and I found him easily. His census records consistently indicate birth in Indiana, but his obit indicates he was born in Ohio. Family rumor has him related to the Hudepohl beer family, but I can't prove it - can't find birth records in Ohio or Indiana, has what seems to be a match, but e-mailing the record holder, I get no answer. A different relation from the same family, who is out west, e-mailed me once for information, but refuses to e-mail back anything from her end of the family - I can't even friend her on FACEBOOK! Oh yeah - turns out the name Hudepohl in Cincinnati is roughly equal to "Smith" or "Jones" anywhere else. You can read records on with that last name until your eyes fall out! I've been hitting a brick wall with this end of the family for 10 years now - very frustrating!