By Eilene Lyon
A disconcerting thing happened to me recently as I was perusing photo hints on Ancestry.com. Ancestry is a great place for people to share information about family. Old photos and excerpts from old books, as well as old documents, are all fair game. But things seem to be getting out of hand.
Someone found one of my blog posts about a mutual relative. Then using screen shots, he or she hacked my story into pieces that even a professional jigsaw puzzlist couldn’t make into something coherent, and posted the bits on Ancestry.
Granted, my writings are no Gone With the Wind or Shakesperean sonnet. But imagine someone took one of your paintings or poems and whacked it up, then posted the results on the internet (without any credit to you, of course, but maybe that’s for the best). Yes, I was a tad ticked off. Perhaps I over-reacted. I’m no saint, right?
I’m used to people taking photos from Find-a-grave and posting them on Ancestry – something that goes against policy on both platforms, by the way. I take gravestone photos all over the country and I’m happy to share them, no strings attached.
My writing, however, is different. I explained to this nameless person that they needed to take the images off Ancestry and suggested that if they wanted to share my blog post, that they could add a link to that person’s page in their family tree.
That’s the entire purpose of having the linking feature. It’s the proper way to attach information from outside sources to a person in your tree in a way that doesn’t violate any copyrights.
Then I got to wondering why I hadn’t thought to make links to my blog on my tree. It makes perfect sense. Anyone looking at pages on my Ancestry trees is likely related to those people and interested in the stories I’ve put together here on Myricopia.
Though I have a year’s worth of blog posts, it actually didn’t take me very long add the links on Ancestry. And from now on, I’ll be placing links on my blog to the subjects’ page in my public Ancestry tree. Sounds like a win-win for me and all my distant relations. What do you think?