How this started

This initiative arises from a bad breach of genealogical etiquette that came to light in 2011. It resulted in a number of large Category 3 databases being copied wholesale by unscrupulous websites. These invite open-editing of their data. Without editorial control, there is every risk that good, accurate data will be over-written with unreliable, or simply wrong, data.

The Code is an informal attempt to spread good practice among compilers and users of genealogy databases. We recognise that copyright law is a highly specialised field, and do not pretend to offer any guidance on it, although we believe that the Code is broadly consistent with, for example, UK Database Right Regulations.

We also recognise that many database compilers hold the firm, sometimes principled view that open editing is the way forward. This Code is unlikely to dissuade them.

But, as compilers ourselves of genealogy databases, we think there is a place for a simple statement of good practice to help focus minds.

One Response to How this started

  1. C Richards says:

    I want to support your proposal in the June Edition of the Genealogist’s magazine.

    Ancestry can be very useful but I have two gripes that I don’t see how to address with them.

    They remove the “abt” from approximate dates thereby making it look as if there is some actual evidence for a given date.

    They make it impossible to trace back to the original source of a statement by replacing the source with something like “ancestry family trees”.

    I wonder if the SOG is in a position to talk to the ancestry bosses to try to get even this changed.

    C. Richards