What to do with discarded research data?

Some time ago, I was looking for anything related to the birth, or the family, of a lady who married into my line back in 1834. All I could see was one baptism that looked a good match some 30-or-so miles away. Hence, I had to research her and follow it through until I knew whether it was the same person or a different one.

This took me several months but I amassed a great deal about her family, including many newspaper reports, law information, wills, and BMD certificates.

Unfortunately, I finally came across that one piece of evidence that proved it was a different lady with the same name and date of birth.

However, I'm now left with a lot of data that isn't directly related to my own family but which I'm loath to simply throw away. I'm wondering what options there are to pass it on or publish it. Sure, I could upload the lineage parts into some online tree but that's not so easy with all the documentation and the reasoning.

  • Is "discarded" the term that you want in the question title and first line?
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 18:26
  • 3
    "Discarded" is a bit misleading. Perhaps "What should I do with research for somebody not in my tree?" It's a little verbose though.
    – user47
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 19:32
  • Perhaps the word "irrelevant" is closer and more concise.
    – Luke_0
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 21:13

5 Answers 5


If you have the bulk of the data with source citations in a genealogy program, I would recommend submitting it to a public, online, non-profit site so that it can be discovered and retrieved when someone searches for the person. Commercial sites like Ancestry seem inappropriate for this donation, and it looks like placement with nonprofit libraries like that of the Society of Genealogists would make only a catalog entry visible online, meaning the chances of discovery would be much reduced. Of course you could decide to place the data with more than one repository, gaining the benefits of their different natures.

The only suitable online nonprofit site I know of is WeRelate.org. It is a site which supports community contributions of genealogical information using a model much like Wikipedia does. The site is associated with the well-known genealogy department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

  • Upvoted for WeRelate.org.
    – Asparagirl
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 0:35

You may want to post about your findings to the appropriate surname forum(s) at sites like RootsWeb and Ancestry -- perhaps someone will recognize the family as their own and you can then send everything to them. I did this several years ago when I received an incorrect birth record for my grandfather, and to my amazement (it's a VERY common surname), someone responded and was thrilled that I had this record for her relative.

Also, see if there are relevant surname studies at the Guild of One-Name Studies. If so, you can share the info with the coordinators of those studies, since their goal is to collect everything having to do with a particular surname.

  • 1
    Thanks. I did contact a few people with this family in their online trees but I got a shock. Their trees all seemed to be copies of each other and had blatant errors. When I suggested that certain parts were wrong and provided alternative versions, I was "stone-walled" by all but one.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 18:18
  • @ACProctor - unfortunately, that's another example of people not trusting someone unknown to them when it comes to genealogy. e.g.: genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/265/29
    – lkessler
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 2:55

You could lodge everything with the Society of Genealogists library, which would be my first choice (and is where all my research will go in due course).

You can annotate entries at FreeBMD.org with information from the BMD certificates, to make that available to researchers trying to decide which entries in the GRO indices might be relevant to their own research.

There is also Certificate-Exchange if you simply want to pass the documents on, but I haven't yet used it, so can't endorse it.

To publish the lineage with all the associated documentation and reasoning online, you'll probably need your own website.

  • 1
    Thanks. SoG was my thoughts too since I'd like to keep it all together. Unfortunately, there isn't a standard format that encompasses everything including the reasoning etc.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 16:53

I include this type of information in my genealogy database and it is then added to my Ancestry Member Tree when I sync it again or upload a new tree to the site.

You could also add the person and the evidence you have to the LDS FamilySearch Family Tree (registration required), which is interconnected.

If you have a blog, you could write about your findings, and it would be searchable by Google or another search engine.

Other online family tree options are WikiTree.com (free), WeRelate.org (free) and Geni.com (free for limited number of persons) family trees. They are searched by Google and other search engines. There are other family tree sites with isolated or interconnected trees, of course.


Since Ancestry Member Trees allows attaching media files and PDF files, you could just enter the lady as a one person tree and attach everything to her- including a report in PDF format explaining your reasoning and then send the original research notes and documents to SOG.

  • I actually have stuff on her parents, uncles, siblings and their children, so there's quite a lot. I will check Ancestry Member Trees again
    – ACProctor
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 18:21

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