Sunday, April 15, 2012

Make sure you have permission . . .

. . . before you post personal information about a living person online (even if it is a secure database) or even your database on your computer. Don't put personal information about living persons on a public database under any circumstances.

Case in point:

After I made a connection with my cousin in California she sent me information on all of her family.
I added all of the information to Family Tree Builder which automatically published to my tree on

A few weeks later I got an email from her daughter threatening legal action if I did not immediately remove all of her personal information from the website and any other databases.

I responded as follows:

1.            I was under the mistaken impression that her mother had permission to share her information.

2.            Only members of the family tree on the website could see her information (which only included a couple of my siblings and her mother at the time).

3.            Most importantly, as far as I am concerned her information belongs to her and whatever she wants me to do I will do.

In the end she agreed to have herself listed by her nickname and last name with no other information in the tree.

If anyone offers you information about living or even recently deceased members of their family make certain that they have permission to share that information.

I have already decided not to use Family Tree Builder any longer and I am seriously considering not including personal information anywhere about living people other than my immediate family whether they give permission or not.

1 comment:

  1. I don't publish about living people anymore. I end lineages with my grandparents (all deceased now) and don't mention my parents or living people by name (just "uncle", "husband" etc) When folks send me stuff I don't put names on line, even if they give me permission I used titles instead of names. I even changed my trees on Ancestry to private years ago, to avoid any mixups.