A couple of weeks ago I posed the question “Public or Private family tree?” both here and on social media. I wasn’t intending to create a poll as such but so many have voted with their comments that I thought you would be interested in the results. The chart below is based on nearly 40 comments, both here on the blog and from Facebook and Twitter.
For those that voted “private”, the reasons included previous bad experiences, a fear of information being copied wrongly, and a lack of confidence in making the research public. My own experiences were reflected in the comments: “Many times I’ve had people take information from public trees, yet they would not reply to messages”.
Our next category are those who have “public” trees but solely for DNA matching purposes. This has become increasingly important, particularly on the Ancestry website where one aspect of matching known as “DNA Circles” requires a public family tree. Comments included “Now that I’ve done my DNA I want it public so I can make connections.” This is in fact what sparked my original post and why I am thinking of making the change from private to public.
There were also a number of “both” votes: a detailed tree kept private and a skeletal or ancestors only tree for either making connections or DNA matching.
By far the majority took the “public” vote, the most common reason being collaboration with others and making connections with distant relatives: “If you are wanting people to collaborate with you, you have to set an example and show a willingness to share”.
So, the majority have it. I am “going public” with my family tree for the first time in years. The perfectionist in me screams “but it’s not ready!”. There are many areas I haven’t looked at for years and there is much still to be added, but when is family history research ever “finished”?
I’ve moved my family tree into Family Tree Maker, I’ve pressed the “sync” button and, ah well, sync is down. I’ll try again later. Now that’s an opinion poll for another day…