Sharing information - am I just being horrid?

(14 Posts)
coldethyl Sun 04-Nov-12 11:53:49

I'm starting to get very cross with people who appear to think they have a right to my research and no manners. I've been researching my family tree for 15 years and I've been footnoting and documenting my sources as I go. If I say it's right, I can at least prove why I think so, even if I've got erroneous reasoning in there somewhere. My sources do not just say 'Susan' and they NEVER say 'another tree on Ancestry'.

I've had to take my Ancestry tree private, because my research was turning up in a huge number of families I can demonstrate are not related at all, based purely on name similarities (not even geographical ones!).

This morning I've had an email that read:
"Dear Cold Ethyl

was <cousin-thrice-removed> mother a <surname>". (sic)

That's all. No thanks, no preamble, and nothing she couldn't have found for herself with 20 whole seconds looking on FreeBMD. Certainly no offer to share her own information with me.

I am very tempted to ignore it, or tell her to get stuffed. Am I just being unkind? It drives me up the wall.

stinkinseamonkey Sun 04-Nov-12 11:57:03

YANBU to keep it private, but don't see why it bothers you if other people are getting theirs wrong?

coldethyl Sun 04-Nov-12 12:02:18

Because it devalues my research. How does a third person, looking a both trees, know that mine is right and person #2's is wrong? Or perhaps I am just a rotten old curmudgeon.

HecatePhosphorus Sun 04-Nov-12 12:11:36

Daft question, but does it matter if other people don't know which is right?

If you're researching your family tree, then surely as long as you know it's right, that's what matters?

Or are you doing something else with it as well? Something public?

I suppose you could just email them "that information is available from <insert place, freeBMD, for example>, best of luck with your research!

Bit friendly yet still saying do your own research grin

stinkinseamonkey Sun 04-Nov-12 12:11:54

how does it devalue your research? genuine question. You are sure that what you have found out about your family is accurate, who else cares? who are these people who need to know that yours is right and theirs is wrong?

you should be happy because you know what you know
tree no2 owner is happy because they think they've found stuff out
who are all the spectators?

MusicalEndorphins Sat 16-Mar-13 06:36:46

I have my tree private also. I only share with DNA matches at this point, unless I am sure the person is a relative.
I have a very common last name. Someone said to me the dead people don't care if you post it on line, but I care. I am not sure why.

Betty3boys Sat 07-Sep-13 16:32:39

Hello, I completely understand where you're coming from! I have also been researching thoroughly for 9 years, following on my grandmothers 30+ years of research and have spent many many hours, lots of traveling and money too to back up all my research, I have also made my tree private as I put notes on it about the people and don't wish to share this with the general public. When I get enquiries from polite people who seem genuinely interested and with a real connection, I am always happy to share info and exchange photos etc via email. I often ask others for help or info but am always polite and give explanations etc and share back. However the one lined messages like the one you mention I simply ignore!

sapfu Sat 07-Sep-13 16:54:16

I think your options are:

1. Dear person,

you will find the answer to your question here.

2. Dear person,

3. Dear person,


Lots of love, ColdEthyl.

Anomaly Sun 22-Mar-15 08:42:13

I've thought about this a bit because someone out there seems to think my grandad is their grandad. My grandad has a great tree so I can see why they would want to nick him. Now and again I have to inform others why this person is wrong. It is annoying.

On the other hand I made public my great uncle's research and it has completely changed some people's tree's because he was right - all his work was done the old fashioned way and includes really old records. His information has helped people go back another 200 years! I haven't time now but at some point I'm going to check their research but if they're right I can trace back to 1300! That research was a group project again using records in kent not all of which are online. I've also had a number of people get on touch on other family members which meant we could both swop useful information.

On balance I think its worth keeping it online and just making sure you keep your tree accurate.

whataboutbob Tue 31-Mar-15 13:48:22

Just wondering whether someone would want to piggy back onto your tree for sinister (rather than just annoying) reasons. I had someone come on to me once informing me my grandfather had adopted them. Which he hadn't. It was in France where you cannot legally disinherit your children. He knew just what he was doing.
Not likely here maybe with English inheritance laws, but what about identity theft? Or maybe I'm just being too suspicious.

taxi4ballet Wed 22-Apr-15 22:15:50

It is so frustrating, this has happened to me too. It's especially annoying when people mistakenly add all your stuff to their tree when it's actually the wrong family, and then they go and publish the whole thing online.

Other people then think that it is genuine research, and incorporate it into their trees as well. People tend to believe that if it is online, then it is true!!!

SilverBirch2015 Sun 10-May-15 16:42:08

Yes I find this so frustrating, even when you politely and friendly point out someone has made an error in their research and you have accurate data they don't want to know.

The best example we had was an American woman who emailed us about a sampler she had purchased online which had been made by an ancestor of my husband's. She insisted that we were wrong as only well-to-do women were skilled at Needlework in the 19th Century, and would not accept that Victorian Church schools encourage girls to produce samplers so they could prove their skills for work such as lady's maids.

ValancyJane Mon 25-May-15 07:41:57

Argh, this really annoys me! I used to have my tree public but I got quite annoyed with people taking info but not even getting in touch to say hello / share information about our family, as I love finding out the little stories and people's memories.

I now keep everything private online, though have trees on Ancestry & GR, and if someone sends me a message asking questions and wanting to exchange information (ie something more specific than a 'request to share your tree' generic message) I will gladly get in touch and share. However, I now don't share my Ancestry / GR tree with anyone (I say it has personal info on living relatives, which to be fair is true) but will exchange info through emails / letters as I prefer to actually talk about our relations. Have found that it seems to weed out the name collectors / less genuine researchers!

Have made some great links by doing this, am currently exchanging letters and emails with a lovely elderly distant cousin in Norfolk. I've shared all of my research on this line with him, and he has done the same - but he is as meticulous as me, so it's been a great correspondence and he has told me all kinds of great stories about the family, wouldn't have been nearly as rewarding to just click a 'share tree' button!

opalfire Sun 07-Jun-15 14:43:14

I understand your frustrations. I too have spent a lot of time and money getting to the stage I have with my family tree. I've taken the opposite stance, however, and have spread my findings far and wide in the hope it might trigger memories for someone. A lovely lady who shares my GGF got in touch and was able to send me copies of old photos and in return I was able to fill in blanks for her. Similarly my bits of research reminded my Canadian uncle about stories his grandmother had told him which helped me discover her brother entering the US. Without sharing my own information first I'd never have started down these paths.

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