Don’t Lose Your Treasure By Hesitating

gen groupOver the last several years I have been a part of many online Genealogy groups. They are a great place to meet likeminded people, learn helpful hints, receive encouragement and on occasion receive help. This is also a place for discussing topics concerning the right and wrong ways to research, document and share your family information.


Over the past two years I have read several such discussions on the topic of sharing your 2 people arguingfamily trees on line. I am amazed how “heated” they can become. On one side there are those who believe we should all freely share and post all of our family history online. The premise being by putting it all “out there” it would make it easier for those who may be related to find you. On the other side there are those who believe it is best to not have it available to everyone on line because there are those who will “steal” their hard work, photos, etc.

Leola & OrvilleWell I’d like to tell you what happened to me yesterday. I checked my email and I had received a message from a woman who had found me on WikiTrees. She told me that she had been shopping in an antique mall in San Jose, California and found a photo of two young children , a young girl and her younger brother. She said she bought the photo because the two were just too cute! On the back of it was written “Charlie and Jennie Hughes’ children, Leola and Leonard” and the picture was taken circa 1914 in Pettis County, Missouri. She did a search for those names and up came my tree. She was able to not only contact me but she sent me a copy of the photo. To say I was grateful, surprised and amazed is an understatement. My Aunt Leola died at age 32 and there aren’t many photos of her. Because of putting my tree online (I have it several places) I have been given an unbelievable treasure.

I hope this story helps those who hesitate to put your Family History online see there are some potential benefits to it.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Lose Your Treasure By Hesitating

  1. A wonderful story, Valerie, and a great blessing for you. However, my tree is on Ancestry and it is private because I have seen too many people take the correct information and distort the truth to make it fit their version of the family history. Also, I am a fanatic for accuracy but if I do have any errors in my tree, either through mistake or a work in progress, I do not want to be responsible for flooding the world of family history with the wrong information. I still receive enquiries from people through Ancestry who are notified that I may have a common ancestor in my tree and I am more than willing to share what I have found in those cases. The issue of private or public trees is one that I feel will never be resolved. I only wish that believers of either side would stop shaming others for their choice. I have been to conferences where I was appalled to hear well known speakers of the genealogy world denigrating participants for keeping their tree private. Respect for others should always be the name of the game no matter what side you are on.

    1. I totally agree! My Ancestry tree is private for the same reasons. My wikitree is public but I have not added any documentation or photos to it. I always share my information with anyone who wants it…as long as it is correct! Thank you for sharing and for reading my blog!

  2. I too was contacted by a photographer in Canada who found a photo album in an antique store. He found one photo with a name of my then teen Uncle who inscribed it to his Aunt with her full name. The gentleman contacted me by searching Ancestry and sent me the photo album! Found 4 photos with my grandfather, his mother and siblings. The other photos are the aunts husband’s family I assume.
    I always suggest private tree owners add a public tree online also. They can just add basic info and thus network with other researchers while not giving away their research or photos.

  3. I don’t make my tree public because it’s a work in progress and I don’t want to spread misinformation. However, I am willing to share if people contact me via Ancestry’s messaging service 😊

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