• Genealogy: Online Ethics and Etiquette

    From the novice to the veteran family historian we can all agree that the vast amount of information available online for genealogy research is a great blessing. Therefore, it is more important than ever to become familiar with the ethical practices and etiquette involved in information sharing when it comes to our family trees.

    On sites such as Ancestry.com and Find a Grave, a great deal of the information is made available through the contributions of fellow researchers. Thus, it is becoming easier for genealogy beginners to discover documents and photos at the touch of a few keys.

    Family Tree Ethics and Etiquette
    Published genealogies can be a truly wonderful resource, they aid us in our own research and quite often lead to the discovery of cousins we never knew we had. The down side of this is that through innocent error and sometimes intent, the genealogical community experiences a degree of unethical behavior and bad manners.

    It is very exciting to find published information about your ancestors online however, before you snag that birth, marriage, death record or photo of G.G. Grandma:

    1. Ask Permission
    This is a common scenario on sites like Ancestry.com where photos and records are often public. This is because Ancestry.com is meant to be a collaborative site and although it states in their Community Guidelines that “Any information you post in our community is public and can be copied, modified and distributed by others” you should still ask permission of the original poster.

    2. Give Credit
    When using published documents or photos always thank the original contributor A little blurb that reads – Photo Courtesy of Ms. Nice Genealogist – is just good manners.

    To learn more about this subject check out Genealogy Beginner’s lesson # 1. Genealogy Standards and Guidelines: You Need to Know This First, available with your 30-day free trial membership.

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