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sharing my private tree

sharing my private tree

Posted: 1 Sep 2013 4:35PM GMT
Classification: Query
After years of having a public tree, which I gladly shared with anyone I came into contact with, I have made my tree private. Sadly, the years I enjoyed meeting new people who shared this interest in history and genealogy and all the sharing back and forth of knowledge was ruined for me. I like many of you, I have been doing family research for 30yrs or more. That's 30 years of trips to the library, or to the local courthouse, pouring over microfilm, painstaking reading of local histories, hours and days and weeks, months and years of straining my eyes over poorly written or faded court documents, etc. Not to mention the trips taken to other cities and states, to pour over the same there. Most of this was done before internet records and their easy access. I loved the research and really loved it when, after years of looking I would find a clue or that one elusive fact! It made the years of searching worthwhile. Meeting a distant relative was a treasure or just meeting a kindred spirit, in the same boat as me, researching their own elusive relations made the whole experience even richer. This long background I have given you is so you could understand why, for me making my tree private is so painful and goes against everything I have always loved about genealogy and the research process. I recently had someone... a distant relative come into my tree and without so much as a greeting, took all the research I had compiled. She downloaded the entire thing, facts, documentation, pictures, even little personal family nicknames, stories, memories. Things that would have had no meaning to her. Even these things for my family, that were not members of her family. She did not choose the information to compile her own family members tree, just took it all, one fell swoop. I tried contacting her, thinking we could at least make a family connection. She has ignored all overtures to communicate. She has repeatedly taken any new research I find and post on my trees. And refused to share any family information she has. Seems she is regularly checking my tree for any new information. I find this a violation. She is doing none of the work, and getting all of the hard earned rewards. Sadly she is not getting any of the joy from finding these tidbits, but that's her loss. But, I do still want to share with others who do contact me. I can't figure out how to do this and still protect my tree. I know that once information is taken it is public and can be shared with anyone. I still want to share with others and communicate with those who follow some kind of decent code in regards to getting the information they are seeking. But now that my trees are private, I don't know how to navigate the sharing of info. Can someone help me navigate how to communicate with someone who wants to see my tree? Sorry for the long post.

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 1 Sep 2013 4:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
First - the private message service has failed often recently, so it may be (trying to be scrupulously fair here) that s/he has not received your messages.

But - I've also felt violated, so I understand.

Having taken your tree private, you have a couple of options. You can make it unsearchable, so people don't get hints from it - or even know it exists. That will take some time to accomplish, because the indexing process is irregular and more and more infrequent.

You can leave it searchable, so that others can see you have information, but will only be able to see that there may be information, but no details, documents, photos are visible. They can then attempt to contact you through the private message service and ask questions or for access.

In tree settings, click on the 2nd tab "privacy settings." 2nd section has the private tree and "prevent from being found" options.

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 1 Sep 2013 6:33PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 1 Sep 2013 6:33PM GMT
You mentioned that this person continues to watch what you post and scoop it up - you might want to revoke her access to your tree (you can do that on the page with the list of all invitees). At the least, you may actually hear from this person when s/he realizes the link for access is not working any longer.

Here is a possible explanation you may not have thought of - when my personal family tree was still public, someone with an ambiguous username and tree name swooped through and in only a few days,copied many photos and documents related to close family (grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc) to a private tree, but ignored all attempts to make contact, even when I said that I had more that had not been posted. I eventually came to the conclusion that I was dealing with a professional, who was not about to put me in contact with their client, probably because the client might question whatever they were being charged for just copying my tree. It's possible you're dealing with a similar issue.



Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 3 Sep 2013 9:30AM GMT
Classification: Query
Unfortunately this person is a relative who has applied the information directly to her "new" family tree, so I know she isn't working for someone else. My tree is private now. But I was concerned about what happens when I let someone view my tree by "inviting" them. I have read all the procedures for doing this. But it also says that once someone is invited, it shows up in their information as "trees others have shared" or "trees I have been invited to" or something like that. I can't remember the exact wording. but, does that mean my tree then stays on their sight for anyone to view. if theirs is public?

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 3 Sep 2013 9:46AM GMT
Classification: Query
I would still like to be searchable for others, is the searchable option reliable? does it really prevent others from taking information unless they contact me? Is it advisable to have my email address available so others have more options to contact me if in fact the private message service fails?

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 3 Sep 2013 12:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 3 Sep 2013 12:15PM GMT
Your tree, if private, is not visible to anyone but you and the people you invite, so that's not an issue. Whatever your invitees add to their own trees, however, is visible to all if their trees are public.

My suggestion, if you want to give an email address, is to sign up for a free one (such as Hotmail or gmail) and don't use it for personal stuff. That way, if it gets into the wrong hands, you can just stop using it and get a new one.

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 3 Sep 2013 12:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
And I would add to the good advice of McComberdescendant - if you decide to put an email address on your ACOM member profile page, do not put it in the usual format - that is, remove the @ symbol and add some spaces between your name and the domain.

johnsmith AT whatever.com

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 4 Sep 2013 5:08AM GMT
Classification: Query
I wouldn't post my email address unless it's to someone I know I want to continue to communicate with. Then, I would put it in a private message.

Keep in mind that with a private tree that is searchable, people will have to contact you to get more information. When they contact you, you don't have to give them access to your tree. You can just answer their questions.

I have asked a lot of questions of people who have private trees and none of them has given me access to their tree -- and I haven't asked for that. Most of them have answered my questions which has been sufficient for me. However, some don't even answer at all -- which is an option for you if you don't want to communicate with this person who took all of your research. I also believe you can "block" another person from contacting you. I see that option when I click on the tree-owner's name at the top of any page on their tree.

Also, I have never had any problems with the message service. I think recent failires must be a temporary thing -- perhaps because of all of the trouble Ancestry has been having keeping their system up and running while they make some hardware changes.

I hope this helps!

Wilma

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 4 Sep 2013 3:28PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 4 Sep 2013 3:32PM GMT
(this is not aimed at you in particular, just this type of post I have seen in the past)

Doesn't making a tree private completely defeat the entire point of online, crowd-sourced genealogy? Why would anyone care that someone "scooped up" all their research, isn't the point that distant family members can find information that they might otherwise never see? I assume it's wrong to use scanned records, since to really have "done the work" you should have to scan them yourself, not rely on some stranger doing it, then you "scoop it up" here on ancestry, right ;) ?

I've been scanning many old photos, and having as many relatives as I can find either do the same and email them to me, or send them to me to scan. My entire goal online is to "publish" these photos (and any other family data I have) so that another relative now, or in the future, can overlap anyone in the tree, then eventually get data/images that they would otherwise never have possibly seen. To make the pictures from my grandmother's attic public domain so family I have never met might see them. That's the point, it's for posterity, not for an "atta boy." If I hear from them, awesome, if I don't, why would I (or anyone else) possibly care?

I've seen a few of these "hard work" posts before, and decided to respond for the first time---it's not just you, it's the general idea that others should have to replicate another's "hard work" or they don't deserve to know. By that rationale, no scientist should be allowed to use the work of those who came before. Didn't invent calculus yourself like Newton? Start from scratch, or you don't deserve to do even basic physics.

There is a reason to have private trees, IMHO, that is to keep sketchy (guesswork, thin data) trees from being searched. I can't think of another good reason (I'm sure there might be, I just can't think of one).

Re: sharing my private tree

Posted: 4 Sep 2013 9:10PM GMT
Classification: Query
You are making the assumption that I don't want to share. I think I explained in a rather lengthy post my feelings and my motivation with genealogy. Perhaps you didn't understand what I wrote? I did research years before there was ancestry. And I personally use ancestry as a tool to create my own family tree histories. Ancestry is not just for you to come in and take. It's also for people(and there are plenty of us)who use the sight to form our trees, do research to add to our trees, AND have contact with others who may be researching the same family or area. Not to just take their work but to collaborate, share, make connections. That takes communication. which is exactly what doesn't happen when someone just takes every bit of information from your sight and moves on. I knows how much WORK goes into research, would never simply go to someone else's research pages(because that is what they are) and again, simply take it all without a single word. It's not about an "atta boy" it's about respecting others online. something many don't feel they need to do. If you take any calculus or physics class as you put it, in school, you don't get to just walk into a classroom and "take" all the answers out of the teachers notes or the books. You learn with someone helping you and you do the work yourself. Most people who do genealogy love to help others find their way. again, those of you who don't feel any need to share information or even acknowledge what others have done, probably feel exactly the way you are describing. I have been on the receiving and on the giving end more times that you can count. As far as sketchy data goes, those who are mindlessly copying the work of others, don't bother to check the facts as they pertain to them. Because they want it fast and easy and checking facts takes too much time. So, those are the type to then post inaccurate data. Something you should be aware of, is that family trees posted on ancestry don't come without flaws. Our trees are a work in progress, if you are lazy enough to come in and take, then you will have accept a mistake here and there. We're not here to hand feed you all the information. Real genealogy IS WORK. You have seen a few of these complaints like mine before because it is how we feel and we are allowed to feel that way. YOU cant think of a reason to keep a tree private? Then you aren't thinking at all.
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