Do We 'Own' Our Ancestors?

This is a puzzling question and I'd like to know your thoughts.

Several years ago I found my Mum and Dad on someone's family tree and was surprised/annoyed/angry that this person had them there. The person was not related to me, or if they were it was very distant. As both Mum and Dad had passed and their death notices are indexed on Ryerson or can be found on Trove, I suppose that in order to keep his tree up to date he added them.

I contacted him and asked if he would remove them, he did but was surprised by my reaction.

So here are the questions;  As they were my parents, do I 'own' them? Can I suggest to non family members that they either ask me , to add them to their tree or not put them there, in the first place?

While Mum has been gone 11 years, Dad has been gone 59 years, so anyone could get his death certificate, now. 

Thoughts please.

Bye for now,


  1. I suspect a case of my-tree-itis.😉 If your deceased parents are accurately placed on someone's tree even if it's through a distant relationship they should be there.

  2. I agree with Jill. If your parents are deceased, and their information is publicly available, then anyone who has been able to determine their relationship to them, no matter how distant, then they should be able to include them in their tree. I have a photo of my parents' gravestone because someone who is fairly distantly related to me included the photo in their tree. If I had claimed ownership of my parents, I would have had to go to the cemetery myself and take a photo, which I'm not able to do at the moment due to my circumstances. Now I don't need to.

  3. Lillian, I first want to say I enjoy reading your blog very much from Saugus, Massachusetts! I can see why you were annoyed but I have to agree with Jill and Lois. If they are correctly placed on the tree it can only be a help to relatives trying to connect with each other. Now, if they showed incorrect information that would be à different story.

  4. I include the siblings of most of my grandparents, great grandparents etc. I feel they are all part of my tree. Your psrents were also siblings, cousins to others. As long as they are in context and the information is correct it shouldn't be an issue. Perhaps you could use the situation as a positive and work together with this person?


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