My Tangent – New Blackberry, GEDCOMs, and Abbey Road

08 November 2009

Morning, and this one's for Paul.

Well you think they would have come up with one at this date. I had to give up my HP iPAQ which I’ve been using for about seven years… It was a great smart-phone aka PDA. It was a camera. It was a database. It was an Internet browser. It was everything and more long before the iPhone and the Blackberry came into play, so-to-speak. My iPAQ gave up its ghost.

And one thing I really liked about my iPAQ was that I had a version of Pocket Genealogist on it that I could synch with either my Legacy or Master Genealogist database on my main PC. This meant that I did not have to carry around files of papers as I needed a quick reference to who belongs to who and what do I need for who when I find some what I think is a great treasure find.

One suggestion that I’ve seen, regarding reading my genealogy on my new Blackberry, that’s right I got a new Blackberry, is to upload my GEDCOM, that is a genealogy data communication file, to Rootsweb at Alternately I could download my GEDCOM to, or for that matter a number of other service providers out there. And that’s where I still have reservations, even after I read the fine print regarding uploading family genealogy and GEDCOM files to a public domain. I am an ardent subscriber to and I am a veritable user of today’s technology and communication systems in the field of genealogy and ancestry research… but… and that’s a big but, have you read the fine print? states, after you check the box to “Allow others to see my tree as a public member tree” that “Information about living individuals will never be shown to others without your explicit permission.” And if you do not wish to check this box, the one to make your GEDCOM information public… then there is the “ Submission Agreement” that you have to check if you want to continue. The Submission Agreement states… “By submitting your GEDCOM file to, you agree to the following: Ancestry may reproduce, compile, and distribute, all information about non-living individuals in your submitted GEDCOM file. Ancestry will make reasonable efforts to hide all information about living individuals (except the surname) prior to reproducing, compiling, and distributing your submitted GEDCOM file.” And in a court of law what denotes “will make reasonable efforts”?

I know what I put out about my family ancestry or about myself on the Internet is out there for anyone to see and read. I understand that the ethereal end of the Internet is non-existent in time and space. And I understand that I control what I want to put online, and I like that. But why should I pay a membership fee, which I will duly pay for a tremendous service that I use, to allow that service to take my work and make their forecasted budgets and soon-to-be public share holders a nice pocket full of change? And I have to “agree that submitting your (my) GEDCOM file to does not entitle you (me) to any compensation, monetary or other.

And the sneezing makes me bitchy… And we just keep walking on Abbey Road. Quoting from one of the songs, You Never Give Me Your Money by John Lennon and Paul McCartney,
You never give me your money
You only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations
You break down

I never give you my number
I only give you my situation
And in the middle of negotiations
I break down…



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