Re: Sources vs. Citations



As I understand it, copyright varies according to the nature of the object and the national laws in place.

As a photography enthusiast, I can say that in regard to photographs in Australia:
  • Generally, copyright in photos lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years.
  • Copyright has expired in photos taken prior to 1 January 1955.
  • Ownership of a photo varies depending on the circumstances under which it was taken.
  • You will not own copyright just because you own the camera.
  • Photographers also have moral rights in relation to their works.
On the internet in general, there seems to be little respect for copyright on photographs. I suspect most photographers who have posted images on line would be happy for their "fair use" provided they are acknowledged as the creator.

Apologies if this is burrowing way too deep into a complex subject.


Shane Baker
Perth, Western Australia

On 9 Mar 2020, at 07:46, Victor Markham <victor@...> wrote:

I have been following this discussion

Those who download images posted by others only do so because it is part of their family tree search. That is how things develop and trees grow due to this providing connections to others.

Downloading census images from Ancestry etc is because they are available. No one would be able to build their tree unless the image is copied to it. There are errors in transcription of these trees. Ancestry gives people a chance to correct these errors  and give a reason why the transcription is wrong. I have done this quite a few times and read others comments when they have corrected an error. I do not know if Find My Pass allows this. I do not include the source for these census images as I don't see any point. I always add the census reference.

Anyone who posts photos onto Ancestry do so because they want others searching the same people to be aware of them. Strictly speaking copy right really belongs to those who up loaded them and no one else.

I once saw a photo which interested me so contacted the person direct and ask what his relationship was with those in the photo. His reply was that he gave me permission to copy it and said his cousin was related to them. The joke here was the photo in question was my own. It was of my mum and dad! Since we had found a connection I asked him for more details. He didn't reply. Instead I checked FreeBMD and gathered the required information. I then sent this to him and told him he was born in 1948 married. Gave his wife's name and and year of marriage plus the years his2 kids were born. Guess he got a shock with my giving him that information. He never replied. BMD on Ancestry goes much further, to 2007, than what is available on FreeBMD. UKBMD , in areas where it is available gives details of where a marriage took place. Register Office or name of church. I know people don't want to submit living person details but these are available on the above BMD sites so I search them out

Family Search claiming copy right is a joke as they get the stuff from others. From what they said it actually means no one can copy the information to their tree.

People who submit images do so to build their tree and to connect with others to have discussions on these matters


On 08/03/2020 4:44 pm, colevalleygirl@... wrote:
And some ancillary questions.
If you’ve downloaded an image, do you have the right to share it with others?  Ancestry (for example) says not necessarily: 

Ancestry Content: The Services contain photos, videos, documents, records, indexes of content, and other content that are owned by or are licensed to Ancestry. We refer to this content as “Ancestry Content.” Except for WebSearch records, which are governed by the third parties that host the records, all Ancestry Content is owned by or licensed to us and may be used only in accordance with these Terms. You may use the Ancestry Content only as necessary for your personal use of the Services or your professional family history research, and download the Ancestry Content only as search results relevant to that research or where expressly permitted by Ancestry.

With respect to Ancestry Content, you agree:

·             To keep all copyright and other proprietary notices on any Ancestry Content you download or print; and
·             Not to distribute, republish, or sell significant portions of any Ancestry Content.


At the very least it would appear you need to record where the image came from.

FamilySearch has even more draconian restrictions:  see For an inconclusive but alarming discussion.
And so, when you pass on your research, you may not be entitled to pass on your images. But perhaps you’ll take the position that it doesn’t matter/nobody will check. And you will probably maybe get away with it.
From: colevalleygirl@... <Colevalleygirl@...> 
Sent: 08 March 2020 15:56
To: '' <>
Subject: RE: [family-historian] Sources vs. Citations
Trevor, I wholeheartedly disagree with you, but will defend your right to do what you do if it’s good enough for you.
Myself, I use ESM-style citations so that I know exactly where something came from.  I do not obsess about italics and punctuation – but I do want to record exactly where my information came from and why I believe it’s sound (which includes assessing the reliability and completeness of the source I’ve used).
I doubt I will convince you, but bear with me for a while; it might give you food for thought, or at least explain why some people don’t follow your example.
This example is taken from a friend’s tree.
He has many ancestors in the village (small town) he grew up in going back 300 years.
He started his research at age 14 in 1960 (so has 60 years of work in his tree). He knelt on the floor in the vicar’s living room writing down in pencil in a lined notebook what his mother read out from the original parish registers. They were only interested at that point in the H surname (for an American cousin) so nothing else was transcribed. And there are several places where his record reads ‘too wet’ or ‘too burned’ (the PRs were even then not in good condition, although the vicar was happy to produce them, at least to the local organist and her son). His mother knew the local families and history well, so could interpret some entries that others would struggle with. I have images of his notebook (plus the original), but they wouldn’t be of any use to anyone else without meta-data (source-identifying information).  Let’s call these the “H transcripts” although they’re not publicly available.
Five years later an individual (J) in the same village transcribed all the extant parish registers onto index cards.  The number of readable records had decreased, plus J was not as familiar with local history so there are some laughable errors… and the index cards have vanished since (I’m lucky enough to have images), although there are genealogies that still refer to them (the “J cards”.) No public images (as far as I know) exist.
Five years later, another (unnamed) individual produced a spreadsheet from the J cards.  Some people cite this as the “J cards”. Some people cite this as the “J spreadsheet.”  There are clear discrepancies between this and the “H transcripts”, plus some more clear nonsense where transcription of transcription errors have crept in.  (A child recorded as her own mother?) You have to know the individual who holds the spreadsheet privately to get a copy. (I have one).
Halleluiah! The incumbent passed the PRs to the local Archive.  Which won’t produce them for inspection because they’ve deteriorated too much, but did let Ancestry image them.  Well, some pages. Even more pages than in the 60s weren’t fit to be imaged, so there are big gaps in what Ancestry has reproduced. Good luck if the George D you’re looking for shows up, assuming he’s one of 4 George D cousins born within a 5 year timeframe in the early 1800s with a father Joshua D… who were also all cousins. Most of them don’t show up on Ancestry... so just reproducing an image of the baptism of the one you’ve found is … hmmm.. I’ll say it: hopeful, and needs a load of caveats.
Ah, but there are Bishops’ Transcripts to cross-check against.  Yes, held in a different archives, and I have laboriously held every page of the originals flat as they were photographed.  Again not published. And also (as we all know) not frightfully consistent with the PRs… There are George Ds who appear in the PRs but not in the BTs and also 2 extra George Ds in the BTs who aren’t in the PRs.
In the case of 6 (maybe) George Ds:
None of them shows up in the ‘H transcripts’ (wrong surname).
4 turn up on the J cards, some of them with weird name variants.
2 turn up in the ‘J spreadsheet.
1 shows up in the Ancestry PR records.
6 show up in the BTs (one of whom is on Ancestry, and 3 more of whom are in the J spreadsheet, and 2 of whom spring unheralded out of the ground).
Ok.  Some questions:
  1. I only have one supposed ancestor with a publicly published image (the Ancestry one, which I know is wrong, by reference to other sources.)  I should disregard that source – would you attach it based on the image? Or look elsewhere first. And if you found the ’best source’ but it didn’t have an image, what would you do?
  2. I have images of things nobody else will ever see – should I attach them without commentary, when nobody else will be able to judge their accuracy?
  3. Distinguishing between all the George D’s has depended on sources that aren’t online – leases, wills, land tax records. How would you deal with these?
From: <> On Behalf Of Trevor Rix
Sent: 08 March 2020 12:07
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Sources vs. Citations
Thank you everyone for contributing.

@uhkh3tsccmz9 David
For census images I use Ancestral Sources to record the census year, census place, names ages occupations and places of birth for the people in the household. AS links the downloaded census image to those people. Switching back to FH, each person has the relevant census flag which in turn switches on the relevant census icon in diagrams. I have a routine that ensures that the census image shows in the property box media tab for all of the people concerned.

For images of baptisms, I name the downloaded image for example "1859 Frederick-Joe Bloggs & Sarah Smith". I link the image to the person baptised, recording the date and parish of the baptism. I assign a flag 'baptism image'. If there are images available of the baptism both from the parish register and from bishop's transcript and/or archdeacons transcript I download and link in all of those images. The flag switches on the relevant icon in diagrams.

For a birth and death events, if the information was from a GRO index I use for example "Q3 1873" for the date and say "Sudbury registration district" for the place, but do not assign a flag or icon. If the information was from a birth or death certificate I record the exact date and place as in parish/county/country (if outside the UK), link in a photograph of the certificate, assign a flag 'birth certificate' or 'death certificate' that in turn switches on the appropriate icons in diagrams. I have a complete collection of BMD certificates 1837 onwards for my ancestors.

I use a text scheme that displays birth baptism marriage death and burial dates and places in diagrams. So viewing that information and the associated icons for each person I can see at a glance in diagrams what I have and have not discovered which in turn prompts me where to research next.
"Can you easily corroborate from your images who their parents are?"
Yes, the linked in photographs of the certificates contain that information.

Yes, I intend handing on my research. Currently it will be digitally as in Family Historian projects that contain everything including the images. I have multiple copies on both physical media and in the cloud. My family are tech savvy so would easily understand the structure that I have described.

I see many topics and threads where people worry and fret about how to record sources and citations to conform with standards such as those promoted by Elizabeth Shown Mills. What I am saying is that such methods are now in my opinion old hat and unnecessary. Where source images are readily available people would do better to spend their time researching rather than spend hours/months/years trying to conform to those old standards.

For the my reasons above I consider that the whole concept of standards in Evidence Explained are now out of date and waste oodles of time that would be better spent researching. Yes, the content of websites may change and the images may be moved or disappear, but I have downloaded my source images so those concerns are not relevant.


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