Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Asking Permission Leads to Connection

photograph from Find-A-Grave with the permission of Bud Gross
Mary A. Wismer - wife of 2nd cousin 2 x removed of husband

In a earlier post I shared connecting with a distant cousin on the Find-A-Grave website. This all occurred by the simple act of sending an email to ask about possible relationship.

Last week I again communicated with two researchers from the site. One being Bud Gross, who turns out is another distant cousin of my husband. Bud uploaded over four thousand memorials and obituaries to the site. Many of these are my husband's ancestors.

Upon asking if our family could use the photographs Bud responded "please feel free to use any info posted by me on findagrave".

Even more exciting is the fact Bud sent a link for his RootsWeb family tree! I have been busily gathering information and searching for his exact relationship to our family.

At the end of his message Bud thanked me for asking permission and giving him credit for the photographs. I believe this common courtesy created the present comfortable working relationship.

Years ago when I began this genealogy adventure an instructor imparted very sage advice. She reminded us to always ask permission before using the work of another researcher.

Not only will this prevent possible legal issues, but also create good "street cred" with the genealogy community at large.

Thank you, Bud. Another genealogy angel.


  1. A wonderful story, Deb! I love those genealogical angels. :)

    I agree. Asking permission is always best. I think it's rarely refused too, so I don't understand why everyone doesn't do what's right.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I agree that asking permission is the right thing to do and can often lead to great connections. I made a great find in 2010 when I asked permission to use a photograph. The gentleman said it was not his family, but gave me the email address of the woman connected to that family. She sent me all kinds of grave stone photos, pedigrees, obituaries and so on. We were cousins. Unfortunately she passed away last year, but the information she bestowed on me was invaluable!

  3. Great point, Deb. I'm glad your FAG connections were so cooperative. I've had very limited luck there. Of the dozen requests I've sent only 3 have responded - all kindly and granting permission. No word from the others. I suspect they are not active (perhaps even not alive).

    At this point I've captured the images in Evernote with notes that I do not have permission to publish and added FAG links in the database sources.

  4. Totally agree on your point about asking permission. It's really all about making connections--some of them turn out to be long-term connections. You never know where that simple first question may lead.

    I wish I could do more with Find-A-Grave. They seem to have developed a great community spirit amongst the volunteers.

  5. That's so great that you were able to make a connection. I love happy genealogy stories like this. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I agree about asking permission, too. But recently I encountered this situation. I wanted to use a picture in google images and tried to find out who I should credit. In the process, I was not able to find who "owned" the picture because it was already in use on seven blogs. I decided to try another image with almost the same outcome. How do you ask permission or give credit when the original "owner" is not mentioned anywhere?

  7. I love that you asked permission and not only received it, but a bonus as well. Good street cred is indeed important.