Pedigrees and images on commercial web sites

Several commercial web sites offer the facility for users who have a subscription to develop and store their family history and display it in various ways. These sites have proved to be very popular; some also offer DNA testing.

WARNING While some of the information will have been assembled diligently and carefully by the the tree owners, it is important to be aware that some trees will have been assembled inaccurately and carelessly, or by people without any genealogical knowledge. Some trees contain large amounts of information copied from other users’ trees, apparently done without checking. It will be obvious from this that errors can be multiplied – sometimes many, many times.

So take great care when using this resource. Always check any information you use against an independent source, contact the tree owner for their permission to use it, ask them where it came from, and send them a message if you find what appears to be an error.

The same sites allow photographs and documents to be uploaded to illustrate trees. Once in place these images can be freely copied by downloading them. The original uploading or any subsequent copying – or both – might be infringing copyright. Always ask for permission if you wish to use such material, and check whether it is copyright.