I've been struggling with my feelings about a family website I belong to. I've been using Ancestry.com for a few years now and have been building my tree there. Unfortunately I no longer have a paid subscription, so the sources I have through Ancestry are not available to me. Anyway, I posted a picture of my great-great grandparents Solomon Turpin Abrams and Louisa Edmonds Gadd which had been sent to me by a cousin of my grandfather. This cousin got REALLY upset that the picture was posted on Ancestry without her permission. She wrote a post on the family website letting everyone know how unhappy she was. Other members of the website chimed in about how people on Ancestry were "pirating" information from others and posting it as their own. They stated specific names that they had "mentioned" to others that showed up on Ancestry. They assumed that the people who posted information on Ancestry didn't do any research of their own. It seemed to me that they thought they were the only ones who'd done any research on this particular branch of my family.
I took the picture off my Ancestry site and posted an apology for posting it without permission. I owed my cousin that much. I also had to answer the accusations against people who use Ancestry. I realize not everyone who uses Ancestry is able to do research outside what they can find on Ancestry, but there are those of us who have done other research. I live in Fort Worth and there is a wonderful genealogy department at the local library. I've spent hours there looking at census records and books about the counties where my ancestors lived. I've tried keeping my tree on my home computer and ended up losing my information more than once because of hard drive crashes. Even with back-ups, the genealogy program I was using, failed me. I was using the Millenium Edition of Generations. If I try to edit a person in that program, it erases the person completely from my file. I was able to save a GEDCOM file from this program, but I still lost information. :-(
Anyway, I explained in my post that the main reason I use Ancestry is to keep from losing my information again. I also let them know that I don't hold my tree as the final word on ANY of my families. I have in no way completed my research and I don't represent my tree as being 100 percent accurate. I have plenty of names on my tree which I've not researched. The way the others talked, no one should put any names in their tree without doing exhaustive research and making sure the tree is 100 percent accurate. They also assume anyone who has a name in their tree without any sources is "pirating" information from them. I've seen the names they were talking about on familysearch.org and other websites. It really upset me! Maybe I'm taking it too personally... I don't know. The only replies to my post talked about using CD's and flash drives to save my data. No one ever addressed the fact that I apologized or my comments about the "pirating". Am I wrong for being upset? I've tried to blow it off, but for some reason it just keeps eating at me. In fact, I was so upset at one point that I almost took my whole tree off Ancestry. I'm glad I didn't. I have had distant cousins contact me to share information because of my tree being posted on Ancestry. I've gotten close to a couple of them.
I'm not opposed to constructive comments or a personal email telling me I was wrong for posting a picture without permission. I think I was hurt the most because it felt like a public bashing. I didn't even get a private acceptance of my apology....
I'm finished ranting now. If anyone can help me sort out my feelings or has any suggestions about what, if anything, I should do please let me know.