Family wishes information removed.

+2 votes
All the data that I have entered has come from two sources. First, provided by those in my very extended family who are interested in building the family tree. The second are from freely-available online sources such as Find-a-Grave, various state and federal sites, etc.

How do I handle those who contact me, upset when they do a "Google" or similar search and find that information on their living relatives can be found at Wikitree?

I do apologize and then privatized their family.  I also explain to them all the sites where data is freely available.

I'm really uncomfortable with this issue. On the one hand, I do not want to offend anyone, especially if they have concerns about privacy or identity theft.  On the other hand, I do not feel I have added information that cannot be found elsewhere with little or no computer skills.

Your thoughs would be appreciated.

in Genealogy Help by Paula Hurwitz G2G2 (2.4k points)
Unfortunately, this happens more frequently than we think. As I continue to add people to our family WikiTree, I notice that some do not receive the correct privacy status.

I am more careful now as I add the members of the families, and then I double check and do a bulk check to make sure that I have not left someone open to the public.

1 Answer

+3 votes

Hi Paula, The best policy is to set living people to "Private", so that only those on the barebones information about them is available publicly, like name. Children should always be set to Unlisted. I realize that you may have gotten the information elsewhere, but by being the one to post it on WikiTree, you are responsible for it, and thus you will be the person folks may complain to when they find their own name in a google search.  If someone complains, you might honor their wishes, and heighten the privacy settings on their profile so they are no longer publicly searchable.

Read here, for more information about stricter privacy settings:


by Tami Mize G2G6 Mach 4 (40.6k points)
Thanks Tami. Your quick reply is appreciated.  I always have set living people to "Private," but even that limited information raises some peoples' hackles. I definitely heighten the privacy settings when I receive a complaint... that's the only honorable thing to do. I realize I'm responsible for putting the info out there and now I will have to be extremely cautious. This is even more acute when I give a Wikitree invitation to relatives and they "add on" to what I have put online.
Hi Paula. I think this is a problem that will always be with us. All we can do is be sensitive to people's concerns. By the way, if someone really isn't comfortable with being in a database, even if access to the data is restricted, you could consider abbreviating their name or just leaving initials.
Duh!! Why didn't I think of that?  Abbreviating or initials only are good alternatives.  Thanks!

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