They Took My Johann and Didn’t Ask

It does not matter how long it took me to find him. The fact that it took me four hours of actual microfilm research, several hours to manipulate and create images, and an hour to write a blog post do not matter. The fact that I spent money travelling to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to use the microfilm on site does not matter.

The fact that Johann Michael Trautvetter is my ancestor and I was the first one to locroll1197620page212-adam-trautvetterate him does not matter. It also doesn’t matter that I very probably was the first person to publicly write online about the parent-child relationship between Johann Michael Trautvetter and Johann Erasmus Trautvetter of Wildprechtrode, Thuringen, Germany. Obviously I’m not the first person to write about the relationship-that’s probably an unknown pastor. And even more obviously, I’m not the first human to know of this father-son relationship.

Other descendants of Johann Michael Trautvetter (born in the mid-18th century and a resident of Wildprechtrode, Thuringen, Germany in the 1790s) are welcome to “use” the parent-child relationship he has with Johann Erasmus Trautvetter (of the same area and likely born in the early 1770s) in their own trees. They don’t have to ask me. I don’t have to give them permission. They don’t have to even be Trautvetter descendants.

And they don’t even have to contact me.

At the very least, they can use the relationship in their trees. Hopefully, they would cite the blog post or the specific church record that provides evidence of the parent-child relationship. However, I know that most won’t.

I cannot copyright the parent-child relationship. That relationship is a fact and facts cannot be copyrighted.

The moment I mentioned online the father for Johann Erasmus Trautvetter others could use that fact and they don’t have to cite me. Johann Michael and Johann Erasmus Trautvetter are not just my ancestors. I can’t control their information. I’m not their press agent.

At this stage of my research, I’m more concerned about putting out the most accurate information on my blog instead of worrying about who uses it. I can’t stop people from putting up incorrect information after they’ve read mine. I’m only responsible for myself-so I’ll take care to make certain that what I write is as accurate as I can make it. It others get it all mixed up, that’s not my fault.

My connection to Johann Michael Trautvetter is as follows:

  1. Johann Michael Trautvetter–probably born mid-18th century, lived in Wildprechtrode, Thuringen, Germany 1790s.
  2. Johann Erasmus Trautvetter–probably born 1770s, lived in Wildprechtrode, Thuringen, Germany 1790s
  3. Johann George Trautvetter, born Wildprechtrode 1798. Died Bad Salzungen in 1871.
  4. Johann Michael Trautvetter, born Wohlmuthausen, Thuringen, Germany  1839. Died in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois 1917.
  5. George Adolph Trautvetter, born Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois 1869. Died in Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois 1934.
  6. Ida Laura Trautvetter Neill, born Wythe Township, Hancock County, Illinois 1910. Died near Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois 1994. Ida is my paternal grandmother.



9 thoughts on “They Took My Johann and Didn’t Ask

  1. Thank you for posting this. Although I am not related to your relations, I have the same sentiments re: my research as being valid. I do not understand sharing, it was not my info to begin with. What I dislike, is the fact that individuals will take info and turn it into their own original submission when in fact it is not. Take time to thank those who have researched before you and advise if you think there is a discrepancy, but don’t STEAL.

  2. Jane Coryell says:

    Well, I guess that you shouldn’t put it online. If you make it public, the assumption is that it’s available for use.

  3. I think you have a good attitude in realizing that all your hard work now gives other descendants needed information. I think, Jane thought you were complaining about others then using the information you found. I didn’t feel that was your topic or slant at all.

    An ancestor that far back in the tree has hundreds, maybe thousands, of descendants so we can hardly stake a solo claim on their life.

    • No, my intent was not complaining about others using the information. While I would hope that those using it would at least reference where they got it, I realize that’s not going to happen and I’m not really bothered by that either. I prefer the blog format over the trees for a variety of reasons–one of which is that I control how the information is displayed. Sometimes the “trees” create “pages” that I’m just not overly fond of.

  4. Lisa Gorrell says:

    What is copyrighted are the paragraph(s) or sentence(s) you write explaining WHY you think this parent to child relationship is valid. It is this that someone takes and then republishes without permission and attribution that is stealing.

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