This past week has got me thinking about why I’m doing genealogy…who am I doing this for? Is it simply for my own personal purposes, or is it for both personal and wider familial purposes? To be honest, I didn’t have to ponder too hard on that particular front, for me it’s the latter. Genealogy for me is for both personal discovery and to share with the family. My ancestors are also theirs. And our ancestors potentially belong to thousands of others. So where information on my ancestors is concerned, what right do I have to be possessive of it?
This seems to be something that garners a myriad of standpoints within the genealogical community and don’t get me wrong here. I am a newbie. I am no expert and I maintain that whilst I believe collaboration is a huge part of this field, copyright DOES need to be observed in certain situations. The usage of personal images, unique memories, etc. require permission and attribution. Naturally. Being a photographer, I do have a level of knowledge in regards to this. An appreciation and perhaps a shout out to those who may have provided you with information that you’re using in whatever context often tends to be the nice thing to do too. What I DON’T believe is having to attribute someone when all you have done is simply mention that you “have received a tonne of information” from that person. If none of that information is divulged, well, no. It’s not necessary at all.
This past week has been disappointing by way of coming across a rather unfriendly fellow genealogist, over what I mentioned in the latter part of the previous paragraph and I’ll admit it got me down. It had me wondering what the point of all this was, why was I bothering? I was made to feel rather small and useless, my age being a huge factor in this person’s rude dismissal of me. Essentially, my problem was that I was born too late, how could I ever know or understand what it was like to research in the pre Internet days? That, according to this person somehow makes me, and so many others who have started their genealogy journey later on in life inferior.
That feeling didn’t last long, I was helped to be snapped out of it by many fellow genealogists. And what they helped me to remember is that unfortunately, there are people like that out there. Possessive, a bit snobby and sticklers for tradition. This is my first encounter with that type and chances are, I could come across one again later on. But I need to move past it and for every nasty person that comes along, there will be three more helpful and encouraging connections just waiting to be discovered.
What these possessive “older” genealogists need to remember is this: my generation will be the ones to carry on the years and years worth of work that you have put in. Encouraging younger genealogists such as myself is what will ensure that the family histories are properly carried on and passed down. Teach us! You’ll find many of us are ready and willing to learn. But, you will also find that perhaps in turn, we can teach you a thing or two as well.
For anyone interested, I found this YouTube video on copyright with regard to Genealogy very helpful! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIPvS6pXITk