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A newcomer's question: Ownership of research and personal hostility.

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By BusquedaOrnelas - Posted on 28 October 2016

Hello all.
Firstly, I want to thank those that have helped, and are helping me trace my ancestry, and who have given me many tips.

I wanted to ask: Since coming here, and to the Nueva Galicia Society and, I have noticed some really heated and also hostile behavior between people, and heard names called, and seen some less than what I had assumed was professional behavior. Questions:

1: If one person does some research, and another person references or uses it directly is there a reason that would create bad blood?

2: I have heard researchers call one another "Plagiarists". This would suggest ownership of research. I would have thought that sharing research about a person's family line, would be a good thing. Am I wrong? are there negative things that can comer from this?

I have seen in several forums, people ignore pleas for help, and assistance, and then harshly criticize the person who was asking for help, railing against them for some error in their research or methodology.

Just wondering what the social lay of the land is here, and wondering what is going on with all the heated words, and hard feelings. I really didn't expect that.

Thanks for your time and patience.

Rookie researcher.

Plagiarism is a big problem. There are two parts to plagiarism. Plagiarism involves stealing the property of someone else, and then lying about it. This is fraud. A plagiarist shows a lack of respect for the work of another person while taking credit for the work.

Plagiarism is illegal. Plagiarism is stealing. I suggest you study the definition of plagiarism. I provided a definition from a dictionary in the following post:

Your "social lay of the land" cannot infringe on the rights of an author.. The researcher/writer is the one protected by copyright law, not the thief.

It is very easy to avoid plagiarism. Identify the author and his/her book/article. Give respect to the researcher providing the information. Genealogy is a lot of work. The researchers/authors should be given credit for thier work.

everyone in this group does a lot of research and some people share their results but not where they found it so there is no way to make sure it's correct. The best of us do make mistakes.
I do share my research on and when I share a record I try to put the film number and page with the record so the reader can double check it.

I also know that there are professional researchers who have included some of my research in what they sell as a service, it's okay with me. Our goals are different. I want to help others to find and reclaim their history. For others it's a profession that is their income.

I try not to include records with no way to double check them UNLESS I have total confidence in the person sharing them with me or others.

I do have over 100,000 names in my files from 20 years of research in Zacatecas, Jalisco and Michoacan with a bit starting to spill over into Aguascalientes that I have not pursued yet.

Linda Castanon-Long

I agree with Linda. Piero, you will find many people in here, some of us try to do our best guiding others and sharing what we can, others have different interests but to each their own. I think there is more of the generous type in here so I hope you find what you are looking for. When I started I had the good luck of having guides like Mariano González-Leal -whom I am close friends with since several years- and they are terribly open, kind and generous (Signs of kind and noble hearted people). Never asking something in return. Those are pleasant experiences.

Regarding no. 2 I suggest that when you find people like that, just ignore them. No one is safe from making mistakes and even those who criticize the hardest make big ones; in any case mistakes mean opportunities for learning and what we should do while investigating is not feel bad but learn and carry on with the new info gathered. Regarding plagiarism in these cases though it is a bad and common practice, for me it is not a big deal. For example, once I published an article about a certain nobility title in my family and about 2 years later I found in a newspaper a copy of mine with few changes here and there but I gave no importance, my purpose at the beginning was to make the info available and resurface the history of a title. If someone copied it...well, it worked! It meant that the history of my ancestors and their good example was no longer gathering dust, it was available once more and hopefully their names will remain....and that makes me glad!

All the best, Piero.

I understand what Plagiarism is. I just had no Idea that people would post the research of others and not cite them, intentionally. What would they have to gain? I didn't understand, until I compared it with some of my own experiences in my business.

I have been in court successfully suing a few people who used my music in major television productions, and claiming authorship. So when I look at Genealogy research as being as valuable to the persons doing it, as the compositions of my music were to me, It makes total sense.

Thanks!. Still learning about stuff here. I just felt like I had wandered into a mine field, and got caught in the crossfire of some really hard feelings. Since I haven't claimed credit for anything, nor will I, (I barely know how to research this material, and if it was not for George Fulton I'd be absolutely nowhere in this entire thing) I am glad I asked!

Is it also a matter of accuracy? like knowing the work of one researcher from another?

Thanks. I understand why the heated exchanges exist now.


It dawned on me that a "to-do", and "not to do list" for newcomers might help. There is probably one already. Like "always cite sources and footnotes" and maybe suggesting the best formats for family trees and lists (PDF Vs MS Word, Vs Wordperfect,etc) and also a list of pertinent web links, (Wikitree, Familyfinder, LDS etc), and basic breakdowns of Gedmatch Vs Gedcom and other genealogy tools and terminologies.

If there is not one already available, perhaps I can compile one asking more experienced members here to guide me in the process, so that newcomers like me, are not confused, or surprised, by the conventions and etiquettes of this kind of research. Would that be helpful? I want to contribute in some way, and obviously, I am not schooled enough yet to contribute research.

Thanks again.

SpecialThanks to:
George Fulton
R.A. Ricci
Armando Antunano

Definitely getting a crash course in this! lol.
I appreciate the time everyone took to break this down for me.

Thanks again.


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