Friday, March 11, 2016

Unethical behavior and Mr. Barry Ewell?

This morning, Thomas MacEntee posted  "Review: Google Guide for Genealogy" in his GeneaBloggers Blog, warning "Google Guide for Genealogy Contains Plagiarized Content." Not one to mince words, Thomas supports those words with a side-by-side, paragraph by paragraph comparison of text from Ewell's book and the previously published work of Kimberly Powell at Mr. MacEntee has granted me permission to show this screen shot from his blog post, where I've added three red circles for the paragraph that follows.

IMAGE: Screen shot from Review: Google Guide for Genealogy
by Thomas MacEntee. Used by permission.

DearMYRTLE completed an independent testing of Mr. MacEntee's findings. I reviewed paragraphs from both Kimberly Powell's original internet posting and Mr. Ewell's Google Guide for Genealogy Chapter 3. I noticed one difference: namely, Mr. Ewell elected to number the sub headings in each of the five steps. Otherwise, to my eye, Mr. Ewell's text is an exact copy of Mrs. Powell's published work. These are the resources I consulted:
  • Barry J. Ewell's Google Guide for Genealogy: 1001 Ways to Search the Internet like a Genealogist. (One Leaf Press: 2016) Kindle Edition Locations 931-992.
  • Powell, Kimberly, Five Steps to Verifying Online Genealogy Sources, (, accessed 11 March 2016)

Like Mr. MacEntee, I am unable to confirm if other content has been copied from, say from a published book, where content isn't readily searchable in Google Books format or other digital indexes.

In a subsequent skirmish on Mr. MacEntee's Facebook Profile and, Collette Ewell and Barry Ewell rebuff Mr. MacEntee's remarks. Thomas MacEntee says: "Barry - I want you to know that I actually have a documented email exchange with the original author who has stated that she has not given you permission to use the content in question. I did my research - I'm a genealogist. I do my homework. I cited my sources. This is not just made up stuff." Source: Originally posted here: and subsequently reported here:

Sadly, Ol' Myrt here now must post an additional update my initial blog post about Barry Ewell work in my post "New Kid on the Blog: Barry Ewell" Back in 2012, I called him "my friend." However, in July of 2013, I had to push back from that distinction twice. Once a when a possible plagiarism issue had gone unanswered when brought to Barry Ewell's attention by Mark Andrew Davis. Secondly, later in the day when I noticed Mark's remarks were removed from Mr. Ewell's Facebook page without comment. It was fortunate I took screen shots of the pages in question. (See below.)

 From my post "New Kid on the Blog: Barry Ewell"

UPDATE: July 6, 2013: See problems with plagiarism
DearMYRTLE's "Is There Such as Thing as Ethical Plagiarism?"
SUMMARY: A reader notes verbatim text between an early PBS publication and a later publication known as Lesson Learned #50 by Barry Ewell.

Mark Andrew Davis commented on Barry Ewell's Lessons Learned #50: "Wow, this list look like it's verbatim from Terry Willard's study guide from the old PBS Ancestors TV Show (yes, I bought the book). In fact, just checking the pages and the information is identical. Hopefully you're not using the information without the Willard's, PBS and the Publisher's permission, but I don't see any indication on your posting what the source is and what permissions you have." DearMYRTLE went a step further, gathering screen shots to see if Mark Andrew Davis' comment was accurate. I've included untouched screen shots that speak for themselves.

UPDATE: July 6, 2013 (later in the day) the manager of Mr. Ewell's Facebook page deletes without responding to Mark Andrew Davis' request for indication of the source of his text, and permission to use them as DearMYRTLE notes in "Follow-up: IS there such a thing as ethical plagiarism?"


I now formally call upon Barry Ewell to answer his critics and explain to the genealogy community why he should continue to present himself as a genealogy educator. I ask that he remove these and other offending materials from his website, Facebook "fan" page, etc., and cease selling books containing the work of others without generally-accepted appropriate quotation marks, citations and indications of use by permission.

I now formally call upon board of directors and conference chairs at #RootsTech, #NGS, #FGS,  #BYU, the Utah Genealogical Association and elsewhere to consider the ethics of hiring Barry Ewell. Consider what impact this will have on the reputation of your organization.


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