Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2010-02 > 1266025245

From: <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] Online genealogy: To include sources or not
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 19:40:45 -0600
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>When I share, either on line or by mail/email, I always include a
bibliography, to show where to look for the material. I also include a
statement about having full source citations available to "serious"
researchers. I am not sure what most folks think "serious" actually means,
but it does tend to weed out the serial plagarists while allowing
someone to ask me for more information.

As someone pointed out today, we've digressed from the original question as
to whether living sources (i.e., *people*) should be named in genealogies we
post online, if they wish to not be publicly named.

However, today's standards for reliable genealogy no longer approve the use
of just a bibliography. By today's standards, each and every assertion of
"fact" must be accompanied by its own, individual, citation of source. If
not, then it carries no credibility. An added tag line saying, "write me if
you want to know the source," to be realistic, is not taken seriously today
by most serious genealogists and--to approach the issue from a professional
standpoint (that being the thrust of this list)--that tag line would damage
a professional's credibility.

None of which is to say that the original question is not well targeted; but
it has already been well answered by others. If that source is a **living
person** (that being the factor that triggers the privacy issue), we can
simply say something such as "Firsthand information provided by a grandson
of this individual [name and contact information not posted online for
privacy reasons], who was present at the event." That compromise balances
the standards of the field against our need to respect privacy--at the same
time that it enables the reader to better judge the validity of the

>I still find that some folks will take my conclusions and publish them as
their own . . . life is too short to worry about it.

Ah, yes. The moment we utter something in the presence of someone else---or
write something that's seen by someone else---we've lost control over it.
But, those who take someone else's work and publish it as their own are
people who don't cite their sources---in which case, as someone else pointed
out today, serious genealogists don't take that unsourced work seriously.


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

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