Friday, August 15, 2014

Why is genealogy sometimes so hard to share?

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.