View Full Version : Your thoughts on using info on Public member Trees Ancestry

Val wish Id never started
28-10-09, 12:11
I have my Tree on Ancestry and there are a few people ,some who are in my contacts a few who aren't who have public members Trees and have Photos and stuff in their Tree .
Would you say its okay to copy them to my Tree without asking the owners in advance??? as it seems a bit of a cheek even though a couple of them have copied mine to their Tree without asking .

28-10-09, 12:24
I have voted yes to the information on a public tree because thats the point of public trees isn't it!

However, I would suggest that the information shouldn't be copied it should be checked thoroughly before accepting it. In some instances though it can give you a clue to a mystery. Of course if you ask permission you might get the sources too!

As for photographs I don't think anyone should copy them or anyone's photographs I think permission should be sought. I would also challenge anyone that hasn't sought my permission too. Although uploading them to a public tree is open for abuse.

I have found a few public trees with my Scottish family and my English family on but I always make contact and ask permission.

Some of course are completely wrong and have told them so - but we all know about that little nugget...

28-10-09, 12:27
I voted for "ask first", since you may then be able to check the sources, the original tree if they got it from somebody else etc. and maybe make a good contact.

I would be wary of just collecting it in case it is not accurate. ...

28-10-09, 12:29
I probably should have voted 'ask first' for that very reason but having a public tree is so tempting for everyone.

Val wish Id never started
28-10-09, 12:31
Thanks for replying ,I am talking about Photos and stories more really as I always check the info myself.

28-10-09, 12:34
Public trees...usefull for finding other info an a family you are tracing..but always verify the info yourself.

I found a public tree that had one of my grandfather's sisters in his tree and a photo of her! I contacted him and not only did I get an additional photograph of her but lots of other info not available just from copying his tree.

28-10-09, 12:35
I have said yes as its public , but the few times I have done so I have contacted the owner of tree to ask questions some reply but loads dont so what do you do :::

Elaine ..Spain
28-10-09, 12:38
It may be public but the information on there is still personal to the person who has posted it - and don't forget images may not be copyright free.
So I would definitely ask before taking anything.

Val wish Id never started
28-10-09, 12:38
Good point Teresa think I will be emailing them.
Babs its not an easy answer really is it? mine was public but I changed it when somebody copied all my stuff without my permission which was really my fault for having it Public.

28-10-09, 12:41
Thanks for replying ,I am talking about Photos and stories more really as I always check the info myself.

Ahh then I think you should really ask permission even though they are public in fact I think by law you should as well as morally.

Again though as someone else as said it might mean you get so much more.

28-10-09, 12:47
It may be public but the information on there is still personal to the person who has posted it - and don't forget images may not be copyright free.
So I would definitely ask before taking anything.

I think having a public tree creates that problem, a public tree in terms of BMDs and Census is all in the public domain anyway. But like everything else its not about copying as opposed to finding the facts and then verifying them.

What I find dangerous is the ability to upload stories and photos that everyone can not only see but copy! I sometimes wonder if the site hosting these have made it clear to the owners of said trees or owners have actually read the T and C's and how people can download/copy things!

My cousin has a tree on a site and she has written some very personal stories lucky enough its private but I worry if one day that barrier of privacy might be broken down because uploading to some sites gives that site the intellectual property rights rather than the individual in most cases.

Elaine ..Spain
28-10-09, 13:01
I agree Maggie - it is something that everyone should be aware of, not just when it relates to your family tree. Anything you put on the internet, even on sites like FTF where you may post in the "private area" of the site believing that it is semi-hidden - it is still in the public domain and can be read and copied by anyone.

Janet in Yorkshire
28-10-09, 13:04
I don't have a tree on Ancestry to copy things to, with or without the permission of the tree holder.
However, I have looked at some of them and have found my own work replicated, without my permission to post it on a public site having first been sought. In other cases, it would seem that information shared with a contact has then been passed on to an unknown third party again and again (complete with my nonsensical typo). Other errors have been made through poor copying skills, including a marriage between father-in-law and daughter-in-law.
I found an Ancestry tree the other day which purported to have a photo of a relative of my friend ( the relly has emigrated to Utah c1890.) The photo had a link to the tree it had been copied from - shock horror! The original had different dates, different pob and no middle name!

So, I guess my answer would be IF I found a public member tree with well-sourced info I considered worth copying, THEN I would contact the tree
owner. But, I'm still looking!


28-10-09, 14:32
english bob

I think that's fair I feel the same way. Its not about keeping everything to oneself but merely that there should be some dialogue/discussion.

28-10-09, 15:31
...I have a private tree on Ancestry, although sometime prompted by "hints" I never just copy information, I do however check out the possibilities offered.

... I have found that some "public" trees are mis-informed about Ancestors that I have fully reseacrhed, in this case I do try to open a dialogue, some folks reply, some don't.

Having a private tree seems selfish, but I feel that with some of the ultra difficult research I have done (with GR/FTF help) and the cost of certificates, I don't really fancy that some name collector with a cousin fifty times removed should have the ability of just swiping the whole lot....although if there was discussion....


Yep, I know how that feels too, I will look at the info and then initiate contact.

28-10-09, 16:17
I have 3 trees on ancestry - 2 public - 1 private.

I don't mind people accessing the info I've put on - I was just hoping that they'd got further back than me - when I look at their trees I find they usually haven't. I live in hope that someone might give me a breakthrough.

28-10-09, 17:27
Our parents taught us that it was polite to ask for things, rather than just take without asking..............and a polite please and thank you does go along way, so that makes me an "ask" then.

28-10-09, 17:43
It seems people do not understand what the phrase Public Domain means in copyright terms.

Just because something can be viewed or accessed by the public does not make that thing in the public domain.

A copyright work can only become in the public domain if the copyright owner renounces their copyright on the work or if the copyright expires through age.
Allowing the public access does not place the work in the public domain.

Before some bright spark pipes up stating facts cannot be copyrighted, a database such as a family tree is a database and as such it is protected for 15 years (from the last addition) by database right a type of copyright. ;)

Val wish Id never started
28-10-09, 18:14
thanks everyone its what I would have done anyway ask first .

Linda from Murton
28-10-09, 21:26
I admit to being one of the voters who said No. I would view the trees, but in no way would download and copy them. I would certainly not copy photos. I would look at the information provided, but would not rely upon it.

I was quite disappointed to view a tree with one of my relatives, where photos which had been passed on, separate to Ancestry, had been included in their tree together with personal anecdotal (spelling?) information,

Other public trees I have viewed, which include ancestors, have included totally inaccurate information. Thus dismissed.

I may view the trees but simply to compare with the information I have gathered.

One of the first things my sister taught me about family history research. ABC - Ask everyone = Believe nothing, until you have the Certificate.

Happy hunting. Linda

29-10-09, 11:03
Hi Val ... I've made a note of info from a couple of public trees on Ancestry and have tried contacting the people concerned, but not received a response - maybe their subs have ceased and they didn't receive my messages. On the other hand you could say that the purpose of having a public tree is for people to access it, if they don't want others to view it then they'd keep it private!

I agree with Linda's ABC theory .. I've seen entries in other trees that correspond with my rellies but they've paired them up with the wrong spouse (usually spouse's surname as they've got first name from census info)etc - I know they're wrong 'cos I've got the certs to prove it.

My gripe is with people on GenesRU who abuse tree priviledges, add your info to their tree and then pass it on to others without asking permission ... as a result I no longer have my tree on that site and am now guarded as to whom I share my info with.

Val wish Id never started
29-10-09, 11:36
I agree with most thats been said. I have a contact who has a man married to his sister ???? so am very careful and check everything.
Maybe there should be a block on copying photos like there is on some sites.

Elaine ..Spain
29-10-09, 12:21
Can't see how you can prevent someone from copying photos, Val.
I am sure there are many people who copy whatever they can find, regardless of whether it is the ethical thing to do.

29-10-09, 13:27
I have seen some trees, I think they are called world trees or something like that, which it seems are stitched together by computer from other public trees. They have some quite nonsensical info on them and although somebody obviously thought it was a good idea, they are a complete waste of time.

Val wish Id never started
29-10-09, 15:43
on some sites Elaine if you try to click on to save the photo you get a message thats says copying this photo has been blocked .

Elaine ..Spain
29-10-09, 15:44
... so you if you really want it you would just do a screenshot! :F

Val wish Id never started
29-10-09, 16:52
:emb:well you might but not me as I dont know how LOL

29-10-09, 17:04
Val - there will be a button on your keyboard - mine says Prt Sc, yours might say Print Screen.

Press the button (nothing will seem to happen). Open Word. Put the cursor on your document, then Paste or press CTRL+V in your document and see what happens.

Anne in Carlisle
29-10-09, 17:06
Isn't it Control+V to paste???


LOLOL your edit beat me to it!!!

29-10-09, 17:07
Isn't it Control+V to paste???


Yes! I pressed Send too soon!

Val wish Id never started
29-10-09, 18:01
thanks will try that Caroline and Ann

29-10-09, 23:26
WOW - I didn't know about the print screen thingy - thanks for that, I have just tried it with a page of my tree, worked a treat.
Thanks very much.

30-10-09, 09:58
Complete computer dumbo here, I can just about open word when my screen is blank but how do I do it when I have the internet open?:emb:

Anne in Carlisle
30-10-09, 10:18
The easiest way is to 'minimise' Internet Explorer by clicking on the little _ sign at the top right (near the X) Internet Explorer will disappear down into the bottom of your screen and then you can open Word as usual.

Once you have Word open look at the bottom of your screen. there will be two rectangles in the 'task bar'. One will have word and one will have Internet Explorer. One click on either of these brings that window to the surface. Click the other one and that will come to the top.

Experiment! You can have lots of different windows open at the same time. I often have Ancestry, my tree program, word and a database open all at the same time. Its like having a stack of papers on your desk.


Elaine ..Spain
30-10-09, 10:27
Vivienne, when you are on the internet - as you are when you are reading this - at the top right of your screen you will see three small icons.
The first one is a rectangular box, the second a double square shape, and the third a cross on a red background.

If you want to close down this window you would click on the red cross - but that would close this page altogether.

Hover your mouse over the three icons. If you hover it over the first one you will see it says MINIMISE. If you click on that it will reduce this window to a box on your tool bar (which runs along the bottom of the screen.) Try it and see - when it is on the tool bar and you want to open it again then just click on it and it pops open.

So to get a WORD document open when you are on the internet - click on MINIMISE to reduce the internet page to the tool bar and open WORD. You can do the same with word if you want to - click on MINIMISE and that will reduce to the tool bar as well.

Shout if that doesn't make sense! :smilee:

EDIT I see Anne got there first! Took me a while to type that as I had a phone call half way through!!

30-10-09, 10:34
I'm guessing you usually open Word from your desktop?
Instead of minimising Internet Explorer or another window, you can also toggle between the different windows you have open, including your desktop, by pressing the Alt and Tab keys together. If you hold down Alt, and keep pressing Tab it will "cycle through" the different windows you have open.

Instead of using the icon on your desktop, another way to open Word would be by clicking on the Start button > (All) Programs > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Word.

If you like, you can add the Word icon to the Quick Launch bar next to the Start button, so that you can open it from there. To do so, click on the Start button > (All) Programs > Microsoft Office, then right-click on Microsoft Office Word, and then click on Add to Quick Launch.
Or you can right-click on Microsoft Office Word, and then click on Pin to Start Menu - this is the list that appears when you click on the Start button, but without having to click on All Programs.

30-10-09, 11:23
Thanks everyone, I'll have play.:smilee:

30-10-09, 12:44
I voted ask first. In fact I did this recently as I found a tree with a photo of a distant rellie on and asked first if I could take a copy.


30-10-09, 15:26
I voted ask first - some people are really cheeky and have copied my info and photos too! I don't mind sharing my info with people in the wider family tree but it would be nice to know where they fit.