Over on the Facebook group: Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques, I just answered what I thought was an excellent question with (what I also thought) was a very good answer.

Is it proper, or allowed, to copy that person's question to G&FH (giving credit to the source of the question and the person who posed it) and then pasting my own response as an answer?

The reason why I want to do this is that on Facebook, this Q&A will get lost in the sea of Facebookness and will be forgotten, and I know I will never be able to find it again. Here at Genealogy Q&A, the question will be made available forever, by tags or searchable and I won't lose it, and other people here will benefit from it.

So which of these possibilities would and would not be allowed?

  1. I post the question and answer, not giving credit for the source of the question.

  2. I post the question and answer, giving credit for the source of the question and who posed it.

  3. I post the question and answer, giving credit for the source of the question and who posed it after asking the Facebook poster for permission to post it here.

  4. I ask the original poster to join our group here and post the question herself and then I add my answer. The trouble with this is, of course, I would think there is a good possibility that the original poster has no interest in doing this.

  • Good question but I don't have an answer other than that I'm uneasy posting the Facebook question here even with attribution, at least not without the OP's permission. Can you construct a similar 'case study'?
    – user6485
    Aug 25, 2018 at 11:12
  • Not sure what you mean by a similar case study for this.
    – lkessler
    Aug 25, 2018 at 13:02
  • Can you create a generic question that illustrates the same problem?
    – user6485
    Aug 25, 2018 at 16:54
  • @ColeValleyGirl: Not really. If you're a member of the Facebook group, I can give you a link here to the question and my answer.
    – lkessler
    Aug 25, 2018 at 17:26
  • I don't Facebook. Sorry
    – user6485
    Aug 25, 2018 at 18:48
  • @ColeValleyGirl - I didn't either until a couple of years ago - but there are some great genealogy groups led by leaders in their field with huge participation and great content that are not to be missed.
    – lkessler
    Aug 25, 2018 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques is a Closed Group on Facebook. According to the Help Center's FAQ What are the privacy settings for groups?, only current members of a group can see the content of the group, even when it is shared outside the group.

I admin some closed groups on Facebook. The context is a mix of news items and personal postings. For ordinary news items, I might share those in the groups and on Twitter -- but for the personal postings, there is an expectation that the information doesn't go beyond the group. That was the whole point of making the groups closed -- that the members' participation won't be broadcast in their News Feed on Facebook.

The National Genealogical Society offers some guidelines as a PDF download: Guidelines for Sharing Information With Others Recommended By the National Genealogical Society. They suggest that

genealogists and family historians respect the restrictions on sharing information that arise from the rights of another as an author, originator, or compiler; as a living private person; or a as party to a mutual agreement

If something wasn't meant to be widely shared on Facebook, then it seems reasonable to assume that it shouldn't be shared outside Facebook either.

I would say that only options three and four -- posting the question with the permission of the original poster, or inviting them to post here so you can share your answer, are acceptable.

Whatever you decide to do, I would recommend making a copy of the question and answer for your personal archive.

  • Sounds reasonable.
    – lkessler
    Aug 25, 2018 at 18:31

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