Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

I have noticed that there are charges to access family information on the sites. Why? When the LDS has gotten this information for free from our Government. I personally think that it's wrong. And any information that anyone puts out there to correct any discrepencies is Im sure noted and sold to some other folks. I sure would be interested in hearing any thoughts on this.

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I just noticed that link did not show up!!??? I am new to this board. Are we not allowed to provide links?
Russell--is this something different than the Genweb or the ALHN projects? And does it include actual records or is it people's transcriptions of data?

Anne Marie--I'll granted that any of us who post our data findings on a public or paid-for site are pretty much unpaid researchers, but there isn't much we can do about it except not post anything, but if everyone did that, we'd all be losers. Your idea of copyrighting data is a non-starter because the law doesn't let us copyright data that is in the public domain (censuses, bmd records, etc.) or belongs to someone else (books, etc.) regardless of how much work it took to find that data. So, even if you do the research, you cannot copyright what you find, only how you present it. You may only copyright your own intellectual thought. And copyrights are the same for any type of media: print, TV, internet, whatever. In fact, once you "create" something, you own the copyright even if you never publish. For instance, consider the following that I just wrote: "Daniel Waterbury's economic affluence and his regard for his family is apparent in his application for Revolutionary War pension. He stated that he hadn't applied earlier because he didn't need the money but he was applying "now" because his family felt he had earned the right to the pension." The moment I wrote this, I established my copyright to this sentence and no one else may use it as I wrote it (i.e., word for word) without my permission. Further, I drew the conclusion that he was affluent and that he had a regard for his family--this was my individual interpretation based on fact, but I did not find any fact anywhere that stated he was affluent or cared about his family--so I could claim a copyright on this thought as derived from 2 facts. If someone else wanted to use a different set of facts to claim the same thing, that would be a different issue and they could go ahead and do that, and claim their own copyright on their "thoughts." But, anyone who wants can use the basic facts that the pension stated he didn't need the money and his children encouraged him to apply. Those are not my original work and even though I dug around and found the data, that doesn't count.

Further, I can sign away my rights to my material if I choose, but no one can just take them from me. None of these websites can use your material without your permission, and they don't. They all make you sign an agreement or check a little box saying you have read and agreed to their policy. Somewhere, buried in that thing you sign is the statement that you agree to let them use whatever you have posted. The real catch is that you can't not sign the agreement and use the site. (Not to mention that the agreements are horrendously long and tedious.)

I definitely empathasize with everyone in these posts. I have spent many hours in the last 8 years tracking my family, so know the level and amount of work involved. But, I also appreciate that so many souls have been willing to share their data online because I have used many of the leads provided to find my family. In turn, for those families where the web helped me, I have posted my information on rootsweb, fully understanding that others may use it as they wish. (I don't, however, post any copyrightable thoughts, just the facts, ma'am, as Joe Friday used to say.) I also appreciate sites like ancestry or heritage quest, (note: these are often available in local libraries , brought to you by your local taxpayers at no additional cost to you) and of course, familysearch that allow me to easily do a lot of my search without traveling very far, and that also allow the time I do spend in libraries around the country to be more productive. For me, the trade-off has been worth the price.
Catherine
http://genealogytrails.com/ I am trying 6this link one more time! LOL Guess,in a way it is sort of similar to GenWeb. It is information added by others but usually with a source to were that information was otained(census,death records,newspapers,etc.) Yes, if you read every detail wriitten into the "agreements" that you MUST sign to be able to axcess a site. You pretty much agree that anything you post is thies to keep. That was my main thing when I choose to not use Ancestry.com anymore. But really once you agree the transaction is sealed and ,by law,not much you can do then What really "burns me" is the sites that offer free 100% Free Search but to view results you must pay for it.
Actually, you can look at the census. You just have to go to the National Archives and go through all of the pages of the microfilm scanning the names to look for the persons you're interested in.

What the pay site is charging you for is for the searchable index, instant results, and the ability to look at the stuff from home in your pajamas.

Alternately, join a genealogical society that has access to a pay site; it's cheaper.
I have found that some of your larger libraries usually have a free axcess in most states.
Catherine Davis makes great points especially regarding copyright material.

My genealogy friends discuss issues like this all the time. Basically we all agree is that genealogists are cheap! We want everything for free. Our economy does not work like that. It costs for storage, repair personnel, programmers, computer geeks, coordinators, etc. The information available from the LDS site is not free. The church is paying for everything even though some of the people involved are volunteers. It does cost money. They make film copies for the church and they make an extra copy for the institution involved whose records they are copying. This is part of their religious beliefs and non-members are able to benefit.

To make it “free” we all have to not only contribute our research, but also the money to maintain it being presented to the public. Are you willing to do that? Send your family tree to WorldConnect but also, say, $100 to post it. We are so used to getting on the net that we don’t think of all the costs.

Speaking of WorldConnect, did you know I heard a study was done a number of years ago that 50% of the posted genealogies on the internet were in error, doing research on my own families I am finding it to be more of a 90% error rate. That is why you see all the disclaimers posted. Few people want to do serious research, just give it to me all for free. While Ancestry might charge a lot, the idea of showing actual primary sources is great and what true researchers need. Unfortunately, indexes on that site as well as Heritage Quest, and many, many other sites (both free and not free) have numerous mistakes and sometimes make finding your ancestor very difficult if not impossible.

There is no easy solution, things are going to cost you money if you are serious about your project. I spend hundreds and hundreds on books, magazines, photocopying and travel in my research. I have access to a great research library which may be lost because the economy is so bad, and people who can’t or wont use it and support it. The thinking seems to be is that why should I pay taxes on this library when I can dish out $300 or so each year on a subscription to a genealogy site and not leave home. The problem is that not everything is on the internet (at least not yet). The internet is great for disseminating information & meeting relatives, but it is also ruining genealogy by the posting of so much wrong or poor information. You need to educate yourselves, join a genealogy society, interact with other researchers, take classes, attend seminars, read the numerous “how to’ books (interesting how many “genealogists” [even those who misspell it] are constantly re-inventing the wheel).

I love doing genealogy and love meeting new “relatives” practically every day, but it does get frustrating spending so much time when I find a “lead” and try to document it and find out it is wrong because someone just copied someone else who in turn copied some else, etc.

Good luck to all. Jim
Jim, I understand what you are saying but many of us on here cannot afford all the "high" prices or are able to travel all over to find family records. I think that has a lot to do with our younger generations not wanting any part of genealogy. Think about it! How many younger family members really will care about all the money you have spent over the years toprovide them with family information they will have to pay "big bucks" to have axcess to?
This is kind of my point - you get what you pay for. Bet our great grandchildren have a different ancestry then what we do because they simply copied off the wrong info from a free site. Many "genealogists" today do not really do research they just copy others who have copied others. If you know how to research take advange of your libraries. You already pay taxes to support them. You can use the interlibrary loan system, some have access to Heritage Quest, Fotenote or Ancestry through their subscriptions, as do many of the local Family History Centers. You don't have to spend "big bucks", you have to know what to look for and how to research it.
OK,I gotcha,sorry slow to catch on sometimes! LOL I have found some of my genealogy by reading books,wills,marriage records,etc.. But you do have to be careful with some books,because you must remember that some writers of books are "authors" first and not really always writing the true facts. Usuallt try to get something that wasn't written by a historian or someone I know that I am aware of that has done some genealogy,also. Sometimes you can be surprised at what you will find at your local library. I know I have seen more than a few who have depended on a saw called "professional" to do their family genealogy and have wondered if it was actually someones "real" familytree or one just put together to complete the task. I don't really feel you could really say "that is fact" and besides,to me, that takes all the fun out of "doing it youself".JMO
hi james,sometimes these hi cost sites just tell the client what they want to hear.I have one friend in the states who paid $1200 for his family tree.He has recieved back a tree stretching back to battle of hastings (1066) england.Its complete with dates of birth and marriage and death.Just too good and too complete to be true!!Its so sad as his son Really believes he is related to kings of Scotland.Also I have looked at other family trees on a well known website and the same "royality"showed up on it on other unrelated folks family tree!!Seems to me the more you are prepared to pay the more "detail" they will provide!! JIM
I guess you are right! But it does seem like a few who do genealogy only seem to want to provide a link from their line to some famous or royal family.! Which is Ok if you have resorces to back it up !! My reason is to find out EXACTLY where my line descends from. That seems to be more interesting for me.
whereever possible i use only certified sources such as birth marriage and death certificates or land regestery or school roll books.Any thing with collaboration.

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