17th March 2021 at 6:48 pm #13063
Thanks for your take on this Nigel – all very sound and makes perfect sense. I feel I should nevertheless clarify a couple of points:
The ‘researchers’ are really very few – I’ve only had three so far – and could be controlled quite easily. In all three cases I had satisfied myself of their authenticity and serious intent; in each case I made clear exactly what they could and couldn’t do and it was agreed that I would have first sight of their finished work with the implicit right to change /’censor’. One was an elderly vicar who was writing a book on all that had changed in his small Welsh parish (one where many of my Davies ancestors had lived )and he wanted to check how far afield descendants had travelled. He had no desire to name names – at least not in the living generations. He stuck to his word – as I was sure he would – and produced a very readable book, which was clearly better for having had full access to the database. Another was a university lecturer who was preparing a paper on the dramatic population changes in the Rhondda valleys since the start of the decline and the final demise of the coal mining industry. He was keen to follow a number of prominent local families through the last two centuries, to show how conditions had changed for them and how the life choices of their children and grandchildren and been totally changed by the changed industrial and economic landscape. In his case, he DID want to name names and he was keen to be put in contact with living descendants in various parts of the world. I agreed with him that we should do this in steps – first, having spent time working through my database, he would tell me who specifically he would like to contact. I would then write to them explaining his project and telling them that he would be contacting them directly via the ‘site messaging service’ and I would remind them that there was absolutely no obligation to cooperate, etc. It all went very well; the academic was happy; members of the family tree who were approached, and whose direct ancestors were named in the resulting paper were all more than happy to participate. The third – which involved a professional researcher for a television programme on Welsh roots – was less satisfactory – not because any confidential information was disclosed, but because the researcher was given full credit at the end of the excellent resulting programme, and no reference was made to my site and the enormous contribution that my data had made – which I thought a bit of a cheek!!
But it is in providing temporary access to normal folks trying to trace their family history, where I risk forgetting that I had provided an account and then not closing it down again after the agreed period. To understand why this should ever be a requirement, it helps to have a name like DAVIES in South Wales. Frequently, in quite small Glamorgan parishes, there are multiple DAVIES families and however far back they are traced they don’t seem to connect anywhere. However this also means that individuals from two separate DAVIES families often marry in that parish and so the separate lines join in the future even if not in the past! Add to this the fact that during most of the last two centuries, the Welsh seem to have been very unimaginative in naming their children, and you end up with dozens of individuals in the same small parish named David Davies or William Davies or Thomas Davies, and sometimes it’s a little easier to sort things out if you can get a glimpse further into the present day . I used to try to help people by ckecking ot their possible contacts amongst the living invividuals on my database, but it can be very time-consuming and now, if I think there is a good possibility that they may find something, I’ll offer a ‘temporary user account’ so theycan lookmfor themselves.
But, as I said at the outset, I can well imagine that I am the only one doing things this way. I just wish I had a name like Murgatroyd or Hollingdale!!
Ron in France
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