Monday, December 3, 2007

Stealing Research

I would like to put in a plea here for all of the researchers who put in so many hours and their own money to meticulously compile records of their ancestors. Please don't steal our research. We have put lots of hard work into what we do and when you steal the research and give no credit it is akin to plagiarizing, which IS illegal. How does one steal research? By taking information from another and then publishing it or part of it in some way without asking permission or giving credit. This includes photographs.

I had read about this type of thievery, but didn't really understand it until it happened to me. Someone researching one of my lines asked me for information, but they were vague about what they wanted. I asked them to be specific in their questions as I couldn't possibly tell them everything I know about a line. They still refused to be specific and kept bugging me with emails over a period of a year or more. Finally I agreed to send them copies of all the pedigree that I had. I only agreed because I thought this person was related to the line and earnest in wanting to complete their genealogy.

As soon as they got the papers, they said they were going to publish them. They didn't tell me where or even give me a chance to object. Some of the people on the pedigree may still be alive and not want their info made public, I told this person. The experience was hurtful and very deceitful. I will never share information in that way again. When a person steals another person's research it shuts the doors to sharing and genealogy research depends a great deal on sharing. But stealing - NO! Please don't steal. Always ask permission, be specific about the information you want, vocalize your gratitude and give credit to others.

If you do get information from another person, take the time and STILL do the research yourself using the information you acquired. Everyone makes mistakes; not everyone looks in every available resource. What you receive may not be entirely correct. You have the opportunity to add to the knowledge base and make corrections.

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