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Member Tree Searches

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Charles Report 28 Sep 2012 23:21

I have found possible matches on member's trees to relatives that I am searching for. The only way of finding out any more information is to ask the member for access to their tree or by a message to the member.
The trouble is if they don't open the message you don't know whether they are still an active member. The website could should the last time the member logged on when you get a search result and maybe how frequently the member logs on. This would help any expectation of getting a reply.
Have discussed this subject in the community it appears that a number of members share my frustration.
You say that you watch the messages posted on this part of the site, I hope to hear from you, so that member's can help you improve the service.
Charlie Ross


InspectorGreenPen Report 29 Sep 2012 08:42

Yes, has been debated on many occasions.

Rather than clocking just logins, my suggestion is for GR to show the last time there was activity by the member. This could be anything from a tree update, a personal message a community board posting etc.

We know they hold this information as it is already visible to you for those members who are in your contacts list, and can be viewed under 'My updates'


bob Report 29 Sep 2012 20:46

Perhaps the answer is to have all trees open for all members, unless the tree owner wishes to opt out. I have several unopened messages in my "sent messages" box, which is very frustrating. Bob Waight


SylviaInCanada Report 30 Sep 2012 01:31


NEVER to having trees open for all members!

That means both free and paid members, and absolutely NO control over who sees it.

This would be one of the very worst suggestions ever made.

That only leads to the horrible situation on ancestry where far too many steal information from trees without asking permission, and without doing due diligence as to whether the persons taken are actually related to them

viz ........... the guy who took the information from my tree re my great aunt and uncle, both born ca 1875-1880 in England ............. and added them as parents to his ancestors born in the US around 1800 :-0

The names were the same, and both couples had emigrated to the US ........... but 100 years separated them.

This is why my tree on ancestry is now private AND i have also hidden it on Mundia.

Fortunately, he was sensible, and removed my relations from his tree when I pointed the discrepancy.

Others have not been so lucky, and have been attempting unsuccessfully for years to get people to remove relations "married" or "born" to people born up to 200 years earlier. Meanwhile, others are copying from the "wrong" trees .... and so it spreads.

I never open my very small tree here on GR ................. most of my information is kept elsewhere anyway.

If anyone does contact me ................... I first of all exchange several pms or emails to establish that they do indeed have a connection.

Then, and only then, I extract the relevant information, and send it to them.

Meanwhile, Bob ................. there are several reasons for people not responding to your messages.

1. person only comes on GR once a year or every 2 years

2. Person ignores all messages from GR

3. Email address changed, but GR not notified, so emails do not get through

4. Completely lost interest in the hobby ............. may be they found it too difficult, too expensive, or not enough time

5. Become incapacitated, and no other family member is interested, knew about GR, or knows the passwords

6. Died, and no other family member is interested, etc.

As an aside to #5 and 6 .............

............. does any one else know that you yourself a) have a tree on GR, b) is interested in that tree, and c) knows how to get into GR to remove your tree if you can no longer do it??

Make sure that someone, family member or friend, does have your password and site name........ and then your tree can be removed, and you don't become an annoyance to someone in the future!



JustJohn Report 30 Sep 2012 02:15


I am also concerned about some of these Anc**** trees.

Have often done a part of my tree and felt reasonably happy it all fits well. Thne have noticed a tree on Ancestry, so have checked what I have against that tree. And it can be miles away from mine.

But a cursory check tells you that their tree is wrong. I always write politeloy pointing out why I believe they are wrong - but seldom get a reply. Then I notice other trees appear that copy the innacurate data, as if it is proven fact.

In old days, we were taught to prove and prove again anything before we moved to next stage. Even then you make mistakes. All too quick and instant today, IMO.

On your last point, yes, agree that someone should know passwords etc. Wonder if it would also be a good idea to remove trees after, say, 5 years dormant. They could perhaps be archived somewhere just in case.

Been thinking about you. Hope everything went well fo you this week:-)


SylviaInCanada Report 30 Sep 2012 05:37

Hi John

I used to like ancestry trees ................... but now find that I do not trust ANY of them!

That is, unless they have provided proof of having certificates, other documents, etc etc

I now give out warnings whenever I help someone and have seen what could be their rellie on an ancestry tree .......... along the lines of "this can be useful in giving you an idea of where or what to look for, BUT ........"

Not very trusting, am I?! :-)

I think a large part of the problem is tv shows such as WDYTYA ....................... they make it look soooooooooooooo easy. Information produced immediately (or so it seems), no indication that it might have taken months to find. They never say how much it costs to buy certificates, wills, etc ..............

.......... so people find it is an expensive hobby, and expect the quick fix.

and that means taking information from wherever they find it, with no serious checking and double-checking

Another problem is the "leaf tip" that ancestry puts on ....................... far too many people think that that means a definite match, and so don't bother to check it out.

off my soap box!!!!

GR has only ever removed trees when someone has been banned permanently.

It's always been said that they would not remove trees .................. but possibly moving "dormant" trees to an archive, from which they could be accessed if the owner returns, would be a possibility.

I've been quite amazed over the last few weeks at the number of posters saying "I am new on GR and need help .....", or "I am just starting my tree .............."

...................... then you look at their profile, and they have been a member since 2007

That means, they joined GR back then, but have not done anything since.

I'm fine thank you . Hope all is well with and for you. :-)


bob Report 30 Sep 2012 13:38

Sorry about that suggestion re making all trees public. I didn't realise the depth of feeling against. As for people just copying info from other trees, that really is sloppy. I think that everyting on my tree has been checked and double checked, I even have several BMD certificates that have been bought in error, but they do prove the negative. Trouble is, they are very expensive. Bob


JustJohn Report 30 Sep 2012 14:35

Bob I think its a racket how much certs cost. In my earlier days I used to buy certs from Australia and get them airmailed back to UK.

And they were much cheaper!!!!! I would expect these days to pay about £2 a cert. Huge profit for someone in there. Why do they think they it fair to get the current profit (£9.50 minus 50 pence cost = 1800%). Are Wonga in charge of PRO?

(Amount updated following Cynthia's posting about current cost of certificates). I feel it is absolutely scandalous. How much would I have to pay for a full birth certificate in other countries? If I lived in California and wanted to get cert of my great aunt who was born in San Francisco in 1893, for example. Or in Australia? Or India?


Cynthia Report 30 Sep 2012 15:31

Bob, I do hope you are buying your certificates from @ £9.25 and not from any other much more expensive source :-S

If you have unwanted certificates, have you thought of donating them to

or to a local FHS ?

In fact, haven't thought of looking at those sites for a to see if anyone has ordered any of my family in error........ :-D


bob Report 30 Sep 2012 19:18

I didn't know that certs could be exchanged. I do always put the details on BMDShare though. Bob


SylviaInCanada Report 30 Sep 2012 20:02


so you want something for nothing??

The cost of an English certificate from GRO is based on cost recovery ...... and includes p&p

The certificates I've received from GRO have been handwritten on special paper ........... that means someone has had to find them in the records, possibly going through the record books if they are early ones, then copy out the information

then package them for mailing, inside the UK or overseas.

I know later ones can be printed from the computer onto the special papers.

I'm only too pleased to be able to get them!

and think they are good value for money.



JustJohn Report 30 Sep 2012 22:07

An uncle of mine has spent a small fortune on certs. He has photocopied them for me over the years. Cost must run into thousands.

Only trouble with that is that. like many modern photos, photocopies fade very quickly. But it does mean that I know to my own satisfaction that much of my tree is correct, and supported by certs. And it is also now too late for anyone to get prosecuted, as I expect photocopying in an offence.

Perhaps they could offer a photocopy service for a cheaper price - and £9 plus is an awful lot of money to many of us for one certificate.

My great uncle was granted a Coat of Arms in 1957 and I tied my branch to his in about 1990. It cost me £150 and several certificates before they put my line on. Asked the College of Arms in 1990 for a copy of that pedigree and they quoted £700 on paper and POA for vellum. Left it - and still cannot put it up as my avatar :-(


Kense Report 1 Oct 2012 08:16

I think you are safe from prosecution John.

The first thing I do when I get a certificate is to scan it to digital form which doesn't fade.


JustJohn Report 1 Oct 2012 08:56

Thanks, Ken. Good advice. And a great relief. Though there are attractions in contemplating a spell at HM pleasure as you get older - a routine, warmth, companionship, no bills to pay.

A Vicar I knew refused to pay more than a cost of living increase for his council rates a few years ago. He went up to the council office and insisted they took a cheque for previous year plus a cost of living rise. About £50 less that bill he had received.

He was very stubborn, refused to pay the £50, refused any help and eventually he was sentenced to a month in prison. Came out looking much better and happier than he went in, Did same thing following year but sks paid for him and so no prison. :-D