|The Pittston, PA home of my paternal grandfather|
From the very first person I entered in my Ancestry tree in 2008, I have had a public tree. I have seen people take photos and other information from my trees without any communication, one was even a cousin I know, although I haven't seen him in many years. It bothers me sometimes, but I just think of it now as the price I pay to find the long-lost relatives who do reach out.
At the beginning of the Do-Over I made the decision to keep my tree public but add a disclaimer as Thomas MacEntee suggested. After receiving an email from someone who is not related to me but was trying to find information on someone in my tree I realized from their comments that they had not read or seen that disclaimer. That and some other comments made by this person were so disconcerting to me that I made that tree private for the first time ever. I'm not sure what I will do about this going forward, although it will matter less and less as I add those same ancestors to my new tree with my new research standards. That tree is, and hopefully always will be, public.
I agree with Thomas MacEntee, though. As long as you aren't a sucker, I think you have to approach sharing with willingness. I am definitely more giving when I'm getting the sense that a person is just happy to make a connection and less so when I'm feeling like someone is just doing it with their hand out. And if your expectations are too high, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. An expectation can be a premeditated resentment.
Reviewing Research Travel Options
This "Friday Funny" is based on an actual research trip. Over our Thanksgiving weekend last year, my mother and I made a trip to Quebec to visit cousins we hadn't seen in years. They live on and still work the farm founded by my 3rd great-grandfather 150 years ago. There are ancestors buried in three cemeteries within 10 minutes of the farm and even more not too much further away. I had four on my wish list for this trip but the six inches of snow that did actually fall on bare ground the night before our arrival did us in. We tried but it was pretty much a failure. Now, the reality of our trip was that we were primarily there to see family and the ancestor hunting would have been a terrific bonus but it brings up a good point. Try to plan trips for an appropriate time of year and have some back-up activities planned and some flexibility in your itinerary in case of weather.
Other things I can recommend based on my three little research trips so far are:
- To have having specific goals - you don't want to get home and feel like you missed something.
- Budgeting - Don't forget those vital records fees.
- Reach out to local historical & genealogical societies - for any useful tips or information they may have.
- Plan for emergencies - I hadn't thought of this, but thanks to Thomas MacEntee I will certainly make this part of my planning for my next trip.