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I like Ancestry and Rootwebbbut I don't

Saluda, SC(Zone 8a)

I have an unusual family name about which I could find nothing 10 years ago. When I told my father I was going to research he laughed; said I was going to open a can of worms, but didn't discourage my interest. He was right. I didn't even know my great grandparents' names, and oddly found that most surviving family members did not want to discuss family history, in the beginning. Gradually, I was able to piece together a pretty good outline of the family in South Carolina, using court records, cemetery information, and census documents; I began using the Internet to gather more information.

When I discovered I felt at last I had a tool that was really useful, I learned a lot. Then I made, what I consider to be a mistake, in sharing my information via the tree. As I said there was very little info on my branch of family (in South Carolina). I shared what I had gathered, very specifically stating that it was unverified, and asking if others chose to use it to please make it clear that it was not. After a couple of years I realized there seemed to be a lot of specific info on my family appearing in searches. Careful examination showed me that most of it was my material that was being incorporated into other's information and being published as gospel!

I've stopped posting anything, anywhere, unless I know it is true beyound a shadow of a doubt. Interestingly, one researcher published information about a family member's supposed sibling; I interview family members who had associated with all the individuals who would have known the person, including the supposed mother of child to verify my records--there was no child. I shared my information with the researcher and was "not too politely" informed that he stood by his information. The inaccurate information is still published as fact.

My point is Ancestry and the other sites are real treasure troves with the records you can access through them, I subscribe to several, and have saved a lot of money and time I would have spent otherwise just traveling to view sourcess. The census' availability alone is priceless. Just use the personal trees and notes published on these sights as interesting but only as guides that might lead somewhere...............................

Jacksonville, NC(Zone 8b)

I agree with everything you said on here. I have been doing genealogy for about 20 years.I learned to only use the things I can document. My cousin and I share all of our info.that pertains to our common side,but as far as giving all my info.that I spent so many hours with,not any more. Some people also think the information on the LDS site is the gospel too.but it is submitted and not validated.I use it sometimes to point me in the right direction. My cousin and I have found many mistakes on there.I do love it though,it takes me out of this world and into a much more innocent time.

Longmont, CO

I agree with both of you. I have been doing genealogy for 38 years and hit the wrong button on my computer one day and sent a cousin my entire file instead of just the genealogy report on his line. Would you believe he published it on without my permission or giving me any credit at all for 38 years worth of work! I have repeatedly contacted and they won't do anything about taking it off. Finally, after many threats, the cousin at least took his name off it, but I can always tell by going to the Index and our very unusual surname is listed in the Index! (My maiden name was Jepperson). It was my working files and much was undocumented and there were errors in it and that's why I had not published it myself yet. Now people are using MY work and I am getting no credit at all, nor can I do any follow-up. Also, they are picking up the errors and publishing them as gospel. I'm to the point that I just go "tee hee, your're WRONG" when I see the errors picked up and republished. Because of this, I have learned that you cannot trust or any other online service unless you can document things yourself. I subscribe to all that offers and they have great stuff available (ie census), but you just have to check everything out yourself. LDS records are the same. They are pulled from family group sheets that people have sent in and I have found many many errors in them. Document. Document. Document!

Shenandoah Valley, VA

Diane, and the cousin have violated your copyright rights. I'd remind them both of that. If you have a friend who's a lawyer, might ask them if they would write a nasty letter for you.

I made the same point about not taking genealogical info from anywhere other than original documents as gospel. This doesn't just apply to the internet but books or any other source that isn't based on real research and documentation.

Warwick, RI(Zone 6a)

I've been using for a few years. I have my tree on the site. They give the choice of having a Public Tree or a Private tree. Once a name and an approximate DOB is put on my tree, Ancestry checks it's database and gives me "hints". Those hints could be a historical record or the fact that other members are looking for a person with like information. If the other person has a Public tree, I can look at their information and choose to transfer it to my tree or click to "ignore" it. If it's a Private tree, I can contact the person anonymously through the site. They have the option to ignore me. I don't know that there is any way of declaring that something is unverified. Information about living people cannot be seen by anyone, regardless of what type of tree option has been chosen.

There is a lot of bad information on the records, particularly the Census. The information was gathered and handwritten, often with language barriers. All these handwritten records have to be transcribed to put on the websites. Even original records don't make it true. One side of my family grew up near me. I was able to go the the Town Clerk's Office and see the original records. My gr-grandmother was listed as "Colgham" on her transcribed marriage and children's birth and marriage records. The original records (hand-written & under plastic) has Coulihan, Callahan, and Calham on the records. I never did find anything on her before her marriage.

I'm not sure what the previous posters mean by "published". The site gives us the option of making posters and Family Books, which they will publish or the member can print, but that cannot be seen by anyone unless invited by the owner of the tree.

Tempe, AZ(Zone 9b)

I generously use the "notes" option on FTM so I state that the link is deduced from XYZ, or this has NOT been confirmed with documentation.

Happy Jack, AZ(Zone 5a)

Hi fellow researchers,

I have been doing research on my and hubby's families for over 55 years. I have found, as have you, that others have no problems sharing and publishing MY research! I don't mind sharing, but I want data to be confirmed if possible, and at least let others know that I have tried my very best to verify my sources. Even Birth, Death, Census and other 'Official" documents can be wrong. Even my own parents marriage license has my Dad's middle name incorrect. It is written as Homer, but it was Omer. So all we can do is publish what we know, with what sources, and hope others can help you fine the closest answer for the truth.

So, keep digging, cite your sources if possible, and most of all good luck, and have FUN!


Lenora, KS

Like others, my research has been reposted by others with whom I made the mistake of sharing. Some slightly changed one thing - such as a middle initial (B) to a name (Oliver) although there is not one shred of proof that was the man's middle name....and attributed it to ME???!!! When I started out on the internet i n 1994, there was nothing on this particular man who has a very unusual name combination. Now WorldConnect has 17 entries for him - and every one of them came from my research. In another case, I even call it "stolen": I accidentally had a WorldConnect database available for download for one week. During that time, a woman downloaded the entire database (over 10,000 individuals), imported into her own WITHOUT any indication it was imported. My highly personalized sources (such as trips to the courthouse listing the date I was there) are showing as if she did those things. No, she will not remove it.

I do subscribe to Ancestry - for the records. In the past year, I've started looking at the trees. Wow, more of my research copied willy nilly. Recently I found 7 copies of a biography I had written about my 2nd great grandfather and allowed the historical society to put on their web-site. The first person who "found" it removed the author attribution, added it to his tree AS IF HE HAD WRITTEN IT, then six other people found it through those "hints" and added it to their trees. Photos I uploaded to Find A Grave, likewise used without attribution. Quite frankly, Ancestry makes it FAR TOO EASY to transfer something into a tree - it spreads like wildfire or bindweed... Ancestry could, if they actually cared about good genealogy, require their subscribers to take an on-line genealogy sourcing class BEFORE being allowed to create a tree. But all they care about is getting more subscribers - - and those who have "success" by copying from other trees laud Ancestry. Sure, they didn't do the work - slogging thru poison ivy to get to that remove cemetery to take the photo of a grave; untold hours in the court house vault trying to find records, etc.

Can you tell that crap really ticks me off??? ;-)

Buffalo, MN(Zone 4a)

I know this thread is old, but it made me laugh. I have my tree on Ancestry as well. I posted some photos I had scanned of some of my ancestors and they have been copied multiple times to other people's trees.It seems that those photos are everywhere I look when I'm going through other family trees looking for clues. Only one person wrote to ask if it was OK. It's not even a common family name. I love Ancestry because I work full time and live in a small town with very few resources, but I agree, you have to be very careful and check the sources of anything you find there.

Harpursville, NY(Zone 5a)

I have posted notes to all the people who stole my research and told them that there are errors. My own sister took my guesses and posted them as fact on Ancestry. Now those who have the wrong information my sister posted are telling me I am the one who is wrong even though I posted the original death certificate with the correct dates. Hope do you deal with dopes? Maybe I was adopted since they would rather believe my sister and they must also be relatives if they are adding the wrong data to their trees. ?
My great grandfather died at the Poorhouse in 1927 and they would rather believe he died at home in 1932. The one who died in 1932 is my great grandfather's cousin with the same first and last name.

Girard, IL(Zone 5b)

I have to agree with the use of my research on I found and verified a cousin. She then posted my info in her tree on ancestry, but then she attached another generation or two back. So I contacted her for documentation which was "because they have the same name"; and I attempted to explain that everybody had the same name generations ago. She has not removed the info and ancestry keeps pointing me to it even though I chose to ignore her info. It is frustrating.

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