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There is a lot of family information on this site, and more all the time. How do I decide what to show on the site, and what to exclude? I follow standard practices for family history sites.

For deceased relatives, privacy is less of a concern. A great deal of information is released once someone dies, and much of it can be found online; most of the information presented here is just gathered from other public sites. Despite that, there are bits of sensitive information I do not display on this site. Social Security Numbers are an example. Even though they are available from several places, you won’t find them here. Most information on deceased relatives is fair game, however.

But what about living relatives? I limit what I will display for a living person on this site to not much more than a last name. For example, this is the page on this site that describes me. As you can see, there is not much there. My first and middle names have been replaced with the word “Living”. You can tell I am male because I used a silhouette of a man in place of a photograph. You can also see the names of family members, and you can see how they are related. However, those names are similarly redacted if their owners are still alive.

What if I don’t know whether someone is still alive? My software marks people as still living if there is no death date, and the birth date is less than 120 years ago. There are other rules to narrow this down further, or to decide what to do if there is no birth date. For example, if I know a birth date for a parent, but not a child, I can still make a reasonable guess about the age of the child.

There are exceptions; for example I don’t guarantee that a living person won’t show up in a family photograph and have their name in the caption. However, overall, I’ll continue to avoid displaying personal information about, or even talking much about living persons. After all, you don’t need to be on a family history site if you are not yet history.

If you have any concerns, contact me!