I thought I was being clever, but maybe I am too clever for my own good?
It bugs me to no end that other researchers take documents from my Ancestry.com tree and add it to their own without contacting me. I know it's out there in the public and they are within their rights to add the document to their tree. That's not my issue with this situation. My issue is with the missed opportunity. Genealogy is an extremely time consuming endeavor, I can't afford the opportunity cost of not contacting potential cousins with potential brick wall busters.
I don't put all my documents on my public tree, I pick a few key ancestors and put a document or two out there as bait. My hope is that others will take the document and then contact me. I currently have 7 outstanding emails I've sent after finding documents on other's trees. I'm hoping their replies will be positive, that my family lines expand through the communication and I won't have to duplicate work.
Randy Seaver recently posted about this topic on his blog Geneamusings. I commented on his post, referring to a post I created along a similar vein last year and sharing my latest tactic shown above. This probate document for Samuel Gilpin is FULL of valuable information, including the married names of his daughters and property descriptions. I added the text boxes and the note in hopes of encouraging a potential cousin to contact me. So far, I've not been contacted, but neither has anyone downloaded the image. Ancestry Member Connect shows 10 other researchers with Samuel in their tree.
I could be cutting my nose off to spite my face in this situation. If people do add my documents to their tree, I see that and can contact them. Without the download I don't even have that option. I think I will run a test by putting the un-redacted image up for a week and see if that stimulates any activity. Maybe that will answer the question of if I'm being too clever for my own good.