Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

May 22, 2013


My Pinterest Boards

A Pinterest user is repinning photos from other genealogists' pins (absolutely ok) BUT the links to the original blog post or website are gone and have been replaced with a link to this person's own website (not ok)


A user creates genealogy boards and pins to their boards with an article or a page from a blog post or website they like. Other users can "repin" this pin on their own board.

Pinterest automatically inserts the link (URL) to the originating page or site when something is pinned or repinned. So if you see a photo or title on Pinterest that interests you, a click on the photo will take you to the page or blog post to read the article. This is good because other users can visit the originating site, which is the full intention behind Pinterest!


But this particular Pinterest user, with over 5,000 repins on his Pinterest page, does not have the original links nor any identifying information as to the website or blog where the photo originated. The original links have been replaced on every photo with a link to his own website (which I am not going to link to here). You can see the link to his website when you go to his Pinterest boards to check for your own photos.

I am not accusing this person of deliberately removing the original information and URL, and replacing it with his (or her) own.  I will leave you to draw your own (silent) conclusions about how likely it is that Pinterest "glitched" over 5,000 times for one person...... and how co-incidental that those different and unique original links were replaced with ONE link to this person's website... but remember there is a presumption of innocence until/unless proven guilty.


When I discovered this issue, I immediately looked through all his/her pinned photos and found 11 that were originally on my Pinterest boards as pins to some of the articles on my Olive Tree Genealogy blog. I noticed too that my friend and fellow blogger Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers had also found several of his pins now on this person's Pinterest page but no longer leading to the sites Thomas originally pinned from. You got it - they all led to this person's website instead.

In fact each pinned photo has a prominent note with it stating "Pinned from" (where xxx is his website name!) That implies the photos are on his website and that clicking through will take you to an article relating to the photo!

I noticed that Thomas had commented on each of his pins on this user's boards,  directing attention to the original URL. I thought that was a great idea so I did the same thing. I placed a brief comment on each of my photos indicating that the link should go to Olive Tree Genealogy blog.

I also reported each inappropriate pin to Pinterest and I filed a DMCA report of copyright infringement to have the repins on his boards removed.

I then posted an announcement on Facebook advising other genealogists to check out the boards in question to see if any of the photos should be pointing to their pages, blogs or websites. Several bloggers wrote to say they had indeed found pins on his board which no longer led to the correct website or blog, but rather to his own website.


1. Check his Pinterest boards for YOUR photos. It is not necessary for you to be on Pinterest to have your photos pinned by others. Pinning to Pinterest is a GOOD thing because the links to your data/website or blog are there, and other genealogists can click on them to go and read your articles.

Having your  photo used but your links replaced with someone else' link to their website is BAD.

Here is the URL of this Pinterest user:

**Please note that this person is NOT associated with the official FamilySearch! **

Choose either his board "lds-family-search" which is where I found all my misused photos, or his board "lds-family-history".  Click on any image that is yours. Then hover your mouse over the image and a little window at the bottom pops up. There is a FLAG in the lower right corner - click on that and report this pinner.

You can also report him on his main Pinterest page - just scroll to the top and click on the FLAG in the bottom right corner.
2. File a DMCA report. All you need is the link to the pin on his board and the link to where you have the same image on your site or blog. You get his board image URL by clicking on the image. You will see the link in the top of your browser window and can easily copy it. The DMCA report is easy to fill out and file.  It is found at
Be very careful to tick NO to the question REMOVE ALL? You do not want the image removed from your boards, just from his. Then tick YES to the question STRIKE? Ticking yes to this question assigns what Pinterest calls a STRIKE against this specific user. Enough strikes registered and Pinterest will ban him.
3.  f you see a pin that is yours and there is no link to your original page/post, please comment and give the correct link. No doubt he will block you from posting comments once he finds out you are doing so, and he will delete the comment but it will keep him busy. He blocked both Thomas and I, and removed our comments which simply gave the correct URL that should have accompanied his use of our photos. 
Neither Thomas nor I engaged in accusations or name-calling so there was no reason to remove our appropriate comments. Again I leave it to my readers to form their own (silent) conclusions as to whether a person who is innocent of any deliberate act of wrong-doing would delete a correction.
3. Tell other genealogists about this issue and urge them to check his boards and report him if they find their own photos being used inappropriately
1. FamilySearch has been informed of the possible trademark violation in his/her Pinterest name and his/her website
2. His/her website has been checked by a few bloggers who found he/she had published several articles with no attribution that had been written and published elsewhere. I have not had time to check on this to verify whether or not any of my articles are there without permission.
3. Several of us have reported him/her to Pinterest and filed DMCA complaints. 
Whether a deliberate or accidental act on this person's part, it is not okay and he/she needs to be stopped. 
 When I posted my comments with the appropriate link on each of my 11 photos on his/her boards, this person wrote a very brief response "Sorry I'll fix this" and immediately removed all my comments AND blocked me from leaving any more.  5 hours later nothing had been done. 
So I got busy filling out DMCA reports and reporting him/her to Pinterest. I  heard from Pinterest 2 hours later (Yes, a very speedy response!) indicating that all DMCA requests had been fulfilled and all the inappropriately used images had been removed from his boards. 
 I urge you to go and look for your own photos, and if found,  report this person to Pinterest and file a DMCA complaint. 
As always I welcome input, questions and comments. However please only post appropriate comments. This is not the time to accuse or name-call. Accusations or name calling can sometimes result in you ending up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.  
All comments are moderated, meaning they have to be approved by me before they are visible. I will only approve courteous, civil and thoughtful comments and questions.
Remember, there is a presumption of innocence at all times.


Pam Beveridge said...

Thanks for looking out for all of us content creators!

Root Digger said...

Yes, I had seen Thomas responding to many of those pins. I just went through and seen some of my things redirected to their site and a few more of my fellow genealogist friends. This is so unacceptable. Thanks for the heads up.

Patti said...

Wow, how distressing that is! I'm so sorry such a thing happened to you and others.

Lisa Moorefield said...

Thank you SO much for the information!

Elizabeth Handler said...

I had seen Thomas posting on this issue, and I thank you for the clear step-by-step on how to report this, as I now have to set up a Pinterest account in order to post a comment on a photo from a blog post of mine.

Lynne Carothers said...

Excellent post!

Pam Seavey Schaffner said...

Thanks Lorine! Fortunately, I only found one, and followed your easy instructions on what to do.

Anonymous said...

Thank u for the heads up. I have already had problems with people downloading my pics & putting them back on as theirs.

Jana Iverson Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Andrea Kelleher said...

Thank you so much for the heads up. Some people just have no conscience I guess. Great Post!

Unknown said...

Thank you. I am new to Pintrest. I didn't realize how it works. I will make sure that all future Pins will be from the original site. I have "Pinned" from a Facebook Page which I will now make sure is where it originated from before re-pinning it. That you for this great information.

Deb Ruth said...

Thanks Lorine! I have found many of my images on the website. Have a question. One of the pictures is part of a post with Find-A-Grave photograph. This is a picture I took and have posted on the site. My bio states they can be used after contacting me for permission. Do I really have intellectual ownership of these? Seems a bit of a gray area, so not sure if this person can use them for his Pinterst.


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the heads up! I went to Pinterest and blocked him. He is down to about 2700 pins, so many have already been removed. I saw some on there for
Thanks again for the information!

Marjorie said...

I think it's also important that we look out for each other, especially those (like artists) who aren't in the genealogy community per se. Many people don't know you can search for *images* on Google, which very quickly leads you to the original source. I've spent some time tracking down pins that look artistic or handmade, found the original source, and reported them to Pinterest (commenting until I was blocked). Here's how to do it on a PC (maybe someone else can post Mac instructions). Don't be intimidated - it looks more complicated than it is!:

1 - Create a folder called Pinterest in your Pictures folder.

2 - Open your browser and go to the Pinterest page at

3 - Open a separate browser window for

4 - Go back to the Pinterest page and find any image on any board. Click it to open the pin.

5 - Download the image to your Pinterest folder. (On a PC, right-click the image, choose "Save Image As..." and save it with the default name in your Pinterest folder.)

6 - Go to the Google Images folder you opened in Step 3.

7 - Click the little camera on the right side of the search box.

8 - Upload the image and hit Enter.

9 - A list of Web sites with the same or similar images will come up. It's pretty easy to scan the URLs and skip the blogs and Pinterest pages. Just look for something that looks like a source: Etsy,, etc.

Anonymous said...

Yes!! I recently contacted a person using the Geneanet website who had listed some of my ancestors & given the source as
"Mocavo". Mocavo is a search engine & it consisted of several of my postings on 3rd site forums...
When I post something, I give my email so that people can contact me for further questions.
Due to wholesale copying, I have seeded my tree with some wrong info, just to see who picks it up...
Caught several lazy idiots this way...
Private trees on relatives's own computer is ok, but not living persons or recently dead (born <99 years ago) on public trees, since this is an invitation to ID problems for the living!

Casey said...

First name pin collectors. This is so wrong and sad. With all the potential resources out there waiting to be indexed and/ or found, makes you wonder if someone could put their genealogy energies to a better use. Thank you for alerting us.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Deb - if you don't want him/her using your photo, it doesn' t matter where it "lives" (FAG, your blog etc)

All you do is file a DMCA report and Pinterest will remove it. You can specify to remove it from that one board which has replaced the original link (to FAG or your blog) with a link to his/her own site OR you can specify to remove it from all boards.

I only wanted him/her to remove it as I am happy when others pin or REpin my photos with appropriate links

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Marjorie - thanks for the info about searching for duplicate images. I do it slightly differently -

I downloaded the add-on for Firefox from the Google Image search site, and now all I need do is RIGHT click on ANY image on my screen, and in the drop down list I see "Search Google with this image"

The results are as you specified.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the alert to this, I have found a number redirected and wondered how!! thanks for the instructions as well.

KIMMER said...

Thank you for this wonderful, clearly written post. I have repinned from photography sites and when I saw the URL, I knew it was wrong, but could not understand what happened. This explains it.

Stephanie said...

As someone who has started a blog on my own family history but it's "not quite ready for primetime'" to quote a famous show, I appreciate all the efforts on the blogging community's behalf. It must take an enormous amount of time to track down all this info; time that you could spend doing other things like studying, research, blogging your own stuff, and for that I am grateful. You all make this a better place for those young in the blogging world as well as the seasoned veterans. Thanks for taking the time to help the others out!

Debbra said...

I pin on Pinterest all the time. If I am interested in a Pin and it doesn't show the original site it is useless to me and I delete it. I check my pins often to make sure they go back like they should. We are supposed to use our own noodles and look out for ourselves. So it is written, anyway. I would like to see more people do what they should for their own sake and not depend on someone else to do it for them. Capisce?