Internet Sources - Three Questions

Thank you for hosting the Evidence Explained Forum.  I recently submitted an article to the NGS Quarterly and they required evidentiary changes.  I have three questions.

1.     Since the internet is constantly changing, what are we to do when a cited source is removed?  Rootsweb is the perfect example; nobody can find much of anything there now, thanks to Ancestry.  Since Ancestry recently purchased Find-A-Grave, most Find-A-Grave information will likely soon require an Ancestry subscription to find it.

2.     To use FTDNA effectively, you need a password and a kit number.  Obviously, passwords can change at any moment.

3.     Is it permissible to cite a DNA match if that person has never acknowledged my request for a release of information?  

Thank you, Cynthia

Submitted byEEon Sun, 01/12/2020 - 20:09

Hi, Cynthia,

Question 1: Look in the top right corner of this page and you should see a search box. Type in "disappearing" and you will get a couple of discussions on how to handle disappearing websites or disappearing data from revised websites.

Question 2: This is the type of question that is best answered by the editor to whom you've submitted your manuscript. Different editors handle these issues in different ways. Most editors don't offer this kind of advice unsolicited because they assume that submitters have already studied the back issues of their journal to see what approaches the editors use to handle different situations.

Question 3: This issue centers more on ethics than citation procedures. The most basic principle is that we never use anyone's genetic data without their written permission. Yes, this is a handicap when we are trying to solve a case and certain data seems essential to our case. On the other hand, that is not a new problem for researchers. We've always faced situations in which valuable records are in private ownership and the owners do not grant permission for the data to be made public. In such cases, the solution has always been to use what we've learned from this closed source to find other information to build the case.

Do you have a copy of Genealogical Standards, published by the Board for Certification of Genealogists? The Genetic Standards section of this manual should guide you through a number of quandaries that arise from the application of genetics to historical, genealogical, and biographical research.