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Walking with Ghosts - Home
Frequently Asked Questions
I've been published....sort of
MacLeod DNA Project
McLeod Reunion Tombstone Project
South Carolina Grave Index
Wilke of Germany/N.Y.
Jessup of England
Checker/Tskeris of Greece/N.Y.
Abnett of England
Hudson of South Carolina
Ives of South Carolina
Arrants of South Carolina
Barnes of South Carolina
Blyther of South Caroliina
Boykin of South Carolina
Cook Family of South Carolina
Coombs of Maine
Davis of South Carolina
Dennis of South Carolina
Freeman of South Carolina
Holland of South Carolina
Huggins of South Carolina
Hurst of South Carolina
Jones of South Carolina
Josey/Jossey of South Carolina
Keretas of Greece
Medhurst of England
Meyers of South Carolina
Moseley of South Carolina
Rodgers of South Carolina
Ross of South Carolina
Yates/Yeates of South Carolina
Online Research Sites
Sumter South Carolina Genealogy
Kershaw South Carolina Genealogy
County Kent England Genealogy
a website for the descendants of Angus and Nancy McCutchen MacLeod~~
10. Why have I placed a copyright on my website?
There are folks who take name gatherering further than beginner's ignorance or excitement would justify! Two years ago during an internet search; a match popped up that had the name of one of my cousins descended through a brother of my 3 times great grandfather. Curious, I followed the link to see if there was someone actively researching that branch. Arriving at the page, there was a familiar feel to the way that the birth place, burial place, etc were worded but the note section contained no information and there was no sourcing information anywhere on the page. I scrolled to the bottom of the webpage to see if a contact email or name was given and saw "all research done by ............." and then below that "all data contained on this page is the sole property of .............".
I soon learned why all of the wording of birth, death, and burial information looked so familiar for when I clicked on the link to my great great grandfather's page, I found the web page from my site copied and pasted into this gentleman's database. Clicking backwards and sidewise and downwards revealed several more of my pages copied and pasted; in the end, I stopped counting at 53 pages. And on every one of those pages the gentleman had this at the bottom "all research done by ............." and "all data contained on this page is the property of .............".
So, surfing the internet and lifting the work of others and putting it into your database is RESEARCH? Emailing the owner of this 80,000 name database, I learned that 1) he didn't know where he had gotten all the information 2) he didn't have any connection to the McLeod surname at all . This my friend, is a "name gatherer". He agreed to place a link to my website and to source me as the author of the intellectual property (essays) that had been lifted from my site (and most sourcing removed!!!!). Seven months later, he had done neither. A "cease and desist" letter was sent with a deadline for either the sourcing and linking to be added or for the information from my site to be removed. The database disappeared from the internet for a time. but has now been returned on line and although the individuals contained on my website still remain on the database, nothing is contained in the "notes" section - all that is found now are the names, birth, death, marriage dates etc. which is considered "public data". Although there is still no indication of WHERE he got that "public data" he has changed the bottom portion of each page.....where before he claimed he'd "done" all the research and that he owned the "data" it now reads:
It is a step in the right direction, but still the search engine/database of a "name gatherer" and not a serious researcher! Oh and by the way - his database now contains over 1 million names according to a note on the top of the index page!
11. Why is correct sourcing to a website or another researcher so important?
When I asked the above person what his connection to my family was, he had no answer. Nor could he answer from where he had gotten the pages. When I asked him if he was now or had ever been actively researching my McLeod line - his answer was NO. So why exactly were my relatives who were NOT his relatives on his website? Because, he was a name gatherer, bragging on his home page that he had more than 80,000 people in his database! But, I digress................
So, by copying and pasting my information into his website and omitting the sourcing information or a link to an ACTIVE researcher, he had created a dead end - he couldn't answer a question about the McLeods included in his pages, nor could he send the questioner to me or any other person who could answer their question because he had deleted all the sourcing information, provided no link or email address to an active research, and wasn't actively researching any of the names in his database.
Not only that, but he had had my pages for over a year on his site - a lot of the information on the pages was "old", outdated, disproven or proven since he had "lifted" them from me. Had there been an active link to my website included on his webpages folks could have come to my site and learned of the continuing research.
AND had there been a link to my website contained on the webpages I WROTE, I would have walked away without ever having to contact him at all let alone via a cease and desist letter .
12. Can you explain the difference between "public data" and "intellectual work"
Gladly! Most name gatherers do so without intention of harm or offence to others, they are simply excited to find more information about their family line. As they become educated in the world of genealogy, they quickly begin to understand the importance of referencing sources of whatever kind they may be. The first time I was asked "how did you come up with ...." and I couldn't find where I had gotten that information, I changed from a name gatherer into a more serious researcher, or at the least a better compiler of information. I spent about 6 months in 2001 going back through my gedcom and adding the sourcing information or explaining the method used to come to such and such a conclusion.
Public Data is any information that you can find in the public arena; to be more specific, if you can walk into a courthouse, access the record, copy it and take it home, it is public data.
Intellectual Work or property is when someone then takes that record, translates it into modern vernacular for the reader, adds their own thoughts to the work and reasons out truth from fiction based upon that document or it is when they include a letter or other information from their private family records. In other words, anything in an essay format that isn't a direct quote, an exact transcription etc. is intellectual work/property.
But, if you copy and paste the Pulbic Data from a personal website or a personal gedcom and weren't the one who did the legwork to find the information is it ETHICAL for you to not credit the person who did the work for providing you the information?
13. Why do I think that so many of the private gedcoms of researchers are being systematically removed from world connect and other databases?
I have corresponded with many of them and they are fed up with finding the information that they have spent hundreds of hours finding, writing about, and sharing being used in family files where they receive no credit for their work. BUT it is more than that, it is the dead ends that are created by those who lift the information without providing a road back to the active researcher.
All of us who have had information lifted from our pages on the internet have found instances where that information has been copied and pasted incorrectly into another gedcom..........then we see that error perpetually repeated in family file after family file of those who are in the process of name gathering. We add post it notes to those gedcoms but the owners of the gedcom never make the correction, and so it is downloaded by someone else, added to another family file and then uploaded to world connect again and again and again. Soon, our family file is the only one with the CORRECT attachment of Daniel and Catherine, but because MORE files contain the other INCORRECT information, genealogy novices think that the correct information is in the repeated files not the single file. And because the person who took the information from us initially and inadvertantly added it to their own files incorrectly didn't source us as the place where they got the information, no one realizes that HE wasn't the one who researched it in the first place.................see the vicious circle?
Okay, enough about all of that..........if I haven't made my point clearly and if you don't walk away from this page a "serious researcher" who sources every single bit of information you find, then nothing else I can say will cause you to take this seriously enough to take the time to give credit where credit is due! But, I have faith that if you've read this far and put up with my angst over all of this to this point, you already are a serious researcher or you already are on the verge of becoming one! So welcome to our little world!
14. Why have I removed my gedcom from World Connect?
Several reasons - most of them discussed in earlier paragraphs/sections of this FAQ page - but in addition the fact that information on there (World Connect) was supposedly never to be sold - yet I find old databases submitted by me from 2000 - 2004 now on One World Tree - and I have no memory of ever submitting those gedcoms to that database. I understand that One World Tree is a subscription only database ( I may be wrong but I've only been able to access it since I began my paid subscription to Ancestry.com), therefore my information is being used for the profit of the owners of One World Tree - I consider that "sold"....at the very least that is me being "sold out".
So, even if my old gedcom(s) weren't "sold" by worldconnect to another party, why would I be upset that my gedcom was on One World Tree? One World Tree is a mess of combined information - death and burial dates of one Alexander McLeod combined with another Alexander McLeod etc.....they simply find men and women of the same name and approximate birth and death years and places and combine them. You have to work really hard to get to the original submitters information and to weed out what belongs to whom and what has simply been added to the persons information in order for the search engine to bring it to your attention. Did that confuse you? Well, One World Tree confuses the heck out of me so you get the picture!
Even more frustrating is that there is no visible method of updating or correcting the databases found on One World Tree and lots and lots of OLD information is on there that has now been disproven by myself or by others who help me to research. This makes me look like a fool as my name is there for all to see AND it leads others to include incorrect information in their own files that they can credit me as the source of that faulty information - thank you One World Tree! (You CAN add a comment to a Tree but not to the One World Tree as it pertains to the search engines at Ancestry.com)
I can't control what One World Tree has of my "old" work at this time, but I can control what does happen with my gedcom from this point on ....it has been removed to protect it under the copyright of intellectual property and to prevent its being added to some other uneditable database in the future.
I recently learned that a free genealogy database has contacted/hired an attorney to discuss the alleged "lifting" of some of their pages into a subscription only world of genealogy - so this problem may allegedly be greater than just the inclusion of old user donated files from worldconnect and the old free family tree website (also for user donated gedcoms) on the now subscription only database.
Stay tuned to find out how all this ends - genealogy is becoming big business for some of the previously free websites and the boundary lines of the heretofore unclear copyright and intellectual property "rules" as they pertain to the internet are being slowly clarified.
!Source: Lori McLeod Wilke copyright © 2000-2011 All Rights Reserved
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