Family research recommendations by the

National Genealogical Society and Anthony Steel


15 years ago and before, tracing ancestors back just a few generations was a complicated process. Compiling information could take many years of research, which involved making enquiries with relatives, many hours at a time of arduous letter writing, searching through public records offices, cemeteries, old documents, photos, newspapers and books. This incurred time, expense and a great deal of effort.

These days in this technological age of the 21st century, discovering ones roots has never been easier and with the coming of the Internet, it is possible to research a family line expediently within the home from anywhere in the world using a standard computer.

Obtaining family history using technology may require exchanging and sharing information with other people, relative, organizations, societies and groups. But be aware that this information can be hijacked.

Additional to the obvious risks of contributing personal information there are also further dangers that are created by others, some maybe relatives claiming that they only want to share and expand their family tree. The reality is that some of these people most often have a desire to become known on the Internet or profit from other peoples work, efforts and contributions that have been given in good faith.

Cognizant of the fact that sharing information or data with others, whether through speech, documents or electronic media is essential to family history research, responsible family historians and researchers must consistently be aware of the risks involved to themselves by sharing personal information and also respect the restrictions on sharing information that arise from the rights of others, such as an author, originator or compiler, as a private living individual, or as a party to a mutual agreement.

The Internet has become a great place to share genealogical information about our own or someone else's family. If contributing information or publishing onto a website, observe meticulously the legal rights of copyright owners, copying or distributing any part of their works only with their permission, or to the limited extent specifically allowed under the law's "fair use" exceptions. Identify the sources for all ideas, information and data from others, and the form in which they were received, recognizing that the unattributed use of another's intellectual work is plagiarism. (Theft).

Inform those who provide information about themselves or their families as to the ways it will be used, observing any conditions they impose and respecting any reservations they may express regarding the use of particular items.

Never supply, contribute or publish data that may put the security and privacy of living people at risk, such as age, home address, occupation, personal life, criminal records, telephone, email, fax, or mobile numbers.

A family tree researched wisely will be trouble free and bring in great results.