Do you manage profiles of children under 13 that are not your children?

+32 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

As announced here last week we are making some fairly significant changes to protect the privacy of living non-members.

I mentioned before that:

  1. Profiles of living non-members will become Unlisted, and
  2. DNA tests for living non-members will be deleted.

We have determined that we need to go a step further with profiles of living children under 13. Unlisted is not enough for them. Profiles of young children will need to be deleted unless the profile manager is one of their parents.

Many of us manage profiles for nieces, nephews, grandchildren, young cousins, etc. I am sorry that we cannot continue to manage them as we have.

Fortunately, most of these profiles have very little content. Our Privacy Policy and guidelines have always indicated that they should be placeholders only, and that's what most of them are.

Still, there are profiles in my own family that I don't want to disappear. In some cases I have been able to set one of their parents as the profile manager. In others I may be able to invite the parent to join WikiTree. Keep in mind, this doesn't mean that they have to be Wiki Genealogists. They just need to accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. See the GDPR FAQ for more on this.

To review which profiles in your family might be affected, see Jamie's app for finding living people in your Watchlist.


asked in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1m points)
edited by Eowyn Langholf
Thank you, Cindy.
The marvels of technology. We spent 50 years developing computers and software so we can keep our records electronically, and now to protect privacy and make sure some company doesn't delete our information due to a new policy, we have to keep paper records. This new policy will significantly reduce my activity here and redirect my efforts back to my personal computer.
And the things that they are trying to keep private are all public records. Most of the living people that I have added are found in census records.  I don't usually add people that can be found in any online obituary.  And the living people that are in my immediate family had their profile set to private or private with public tree, which shows no details anyway.
I appreciate the comments and discussion. (That's why I like WikitreeO)

But my question still has not been answered.
Sorry, yes, I did. In fact, my own first grand child was born just last March and I was thrilled to enter his name and look at my new descendant's chart. I also used to keep up with the births of my many cousins, all of whom we get along well. Sometimes cousins drift away and the next thing you know, their kids are driving to college. It was good to have their names, birthdates, and birth locations already on hand. Occasionally I will send letters to family members I haven't heard from for twenty years to get updates and see how they are doing. This year I have been actively taking over a family genealogy site and have plans for starting several more. For the rest of the year I will put my genealogy efforts on the back burner to see how all these changes settle out. I hate wasting my time trying to keep up with constant software changes and policy changes, especially changes of this magnitude.
I have just tried to merge say 2 children of the same family and I am unable to do it as I am not their parent

so if these are going to deleted as I have a few of them how can this be done or will it be automatically done as there is no delete for such profiles

Please see Eowyn's answer to Roberta above.  It will all be done automatically.
Thank you Ros as going through them now and adding them to the parents and my daughter signed up to save her son relief so she is now manager for herself and her son as well as myself and my youngest is saved as well thankfully even though he is adopted
I do not have any children under the age of 13 on my tree that are alive. I do not even put living adults on my tree that are living unless they specifically tell me that they want it there,. One good reason would be to do some research on their family not only the Dolman family
Please, revert this.

20 Answers

+17 votes
Thanks, Chris, for the heads up. I only had one and he is now co-managed by his mother.
answered by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (189k points)
I only had one and she's queued for deletion now.
I only have about a hundred queued for deletion now.  Is there a way to download a Gedcom or something for these specific profiles before they're deleted?  Many of these hundred, I'm close enough to remember all the relevant details, but plenty of the rest are family that I just don't see often enough.  Those cousins might find it annoying that I'm re-asking all these details after they've already told me before, but they wouldn't want to join Wikitree themselves either.

I stopped using other family tree programs after I started using Wikitree.
Matt, I find it easier to download the entire GEDCOM, but you can specify who you want to download.
Me too Isabelle, my granddaughter is the only one I have, and she has been unlisted always. I've never felt I have the right to create profiles for any other person that young anyway - from my perspective that's crossing boundaries. I'm sure my daughter would happily become a family member of wikitree so as my granddaughter's profile could remain but regardless I've decided to leave it in the deletion queue instead. If when she grows up she becomes interested genealogy these changes are not going to be any hinderance at all to her joining up herself, finding my profile, and connecting herself in to the tree.
+20 votes

 How will this be accomplished? Do we add a delete category or will editbot do this?
answered by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (198k points)

I'm not Chris but possibly this could be done through Special:Delete 

Note Option 1 This is generally only appropriate if highly sensitive information is being revealed, e.g. if it's a profile of a young child. Otherwise anonymization is better for privacy. However, if someone demands that their profile be deleted you need to respect their wishes. If it's about something other than privacy see the Deletion FAQ. Duplicates should be merged not deleted. 


Hi Paula and Steve. We can do this automatically, on the back-end using a tool like Special:Delete. You won't need to do anything.
Thanks so much!
Thanks for the feedback
+23 votes
There are probably a few current EuroAristo profiles for children under 13, that are either managed by the project/s or individuals related to the project.

Speaking solely personally, not on behalf of the project, I'm happy to see them deleted.  Even though they have Wikipedia pages, I always felt slightly uncomfortable about having profiles for children who in no way gave their permission to having such a profile.  Just because they are in the media spotlight doesn't mean we can't give them some privacy, at least on WikiTree
answered by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (298k points)
but aren't those children non-living? the policy changes won't affect those.
No all of the current members of the British Royal family have profiles on WikiTree, including the very latest addition and other children under 13.
+14 votes
Hi Chris & Team

I understand the policy change but just to play Devils Advocate around these changes

What has the GDPR got to do with those that do not live or are ever likely to live within the EU? be they 99yrs old or under 13

Is it because it is too hard to define who is and who is not in the EU (profile wise) so Wikitree is being changed to be one size/shape fits all to cover this?

Or is it expected of Wikitree through the GDPR that it is a one size/shape for all no mater where they are because some of the profiles are from the EU?
answered by Graeme Olney G2G6 Mach 4 (40.9k points)

See "Why does it affect non-Europeans?" for the official answer.

Also, most developed countries outside the EU have rules similar to GDPR - the US is very much in a small and dwindling minority - and at least some of them seek to apply them extra-territorially to foreign organisations dealing with their residents. As I have said elsewhere, this is not just the nasty EU.

This is not a criticism of the US. It is just a statement of fact.
+17 votes
I am very pleased to see this change. Irrespective of GDPR, it must be the right and ethical policy. I am in the UK where the approach on privacy for children may long have been a bit tighter than in the USA. But there are clear guidelines of the US National Genealogical Society. The relevant extract is a commitment to

“inform people who provide information about their families how it may be used, observing any conditions they impose and respecting any reservations they may express regarding the use of particular items;
 require evidence of consent before assuming that living people are agreeable to further sharing or publication of information about themselves;
 convey personal identifying information about living people—such as age, home address, genetic information, occupation, or activities—only in ways that those concerned have expressly agreed to;
 recognize that legal rights of privacy may limit the extent to which information from publicly available sources may be further used, disseminated, or published”

Under the NGS guidelines, children should give consent for information about them to go on Wikitree. There must be a question over whether children under 13 can be regarded as able to give informed consent even if they are told that a relative intends to put some information about them on Wikitree. For me this is a question of ethics.
answered by Michael Cayley G2G6 Mach 2 (21.9k points)
edited by Michael Cayley
+9 votes
I'm curious. Are we talking about actual tests - which Wikitree does not deal with directly - or are we talking about the Kit numbers and ID numbers that are used to identify DNA tests and GEDmatch.

IF DNA kit and ID numbers take 24 hours to propagate through the system when they are added,  is there now some new software to prevent them from being added to living non members when future members add their test details?

Or will some editbot have to follow along after they have been added, in order to remove these kit numbers and ID numbers, from the living members?  Will we have to do that?

And what if we DO HAVE permission from some non-members? How will that work?

Just asking some quetions that you may or may not have thought of...
answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (416k points)

OK I just read the FAQ that was linked to above.

I have no problems with the DNA details being removed - but the profile will still stay, right? The profile for anyone over the age of 13 is NOT being deleted? Although it probably will become unlisted.

And how will consent be added to the profiles if we do have permission?

I would also like to have something clarified.

The following statement says this - If you have attached DNA test information to one of your living relatives, the test information will be deleted unless they have joined WikiTree and thereby agreed to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Since the DNA propagation throughout the global tree is done automatically, the statement implies that we personally ourselves attached the DNA details to our living relatives. We did not. The servers or bots did that automatically.

Perhaps that line could be amended to read as follows - If DNA test information has been attached to one of your living relatives, the test information will be deleted unless they have joined WikiTree and thereby agreed to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

I'm pretty sure it means if you have attached details of a test THEY have taken.  Not one you have taken that matches them.


And I think this answer would be better in its own thread, rather than attached to the one about children under 13.
I am hoping that DNA results from my living cousins will not be visible to me.
Thank you Ros.
+10 votes
Just a thought....

If some profiles are going to be deleted, will we get notification that this has been done, or will we have to search through and try and work out what has gone?

(I don't have any children under 13 on my list, but I thought this may affect other managers)
answered by Dave Welburn G2G6 Mach 7 (74k points)
+9 votes
Noted. I have 3,043 living people on Jamie's list, many of whom (and dead people too) were added a long time ago by a member who never sought my permission.
answered by Sir William Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
+9 votes
So does this mean we'll be able to restore them once they turn 13 or will they be locked out forever? Is this a cap?
answered by Aaron Gullison G2G6 Mach 2 (24.4k points)
+10 votes
I suppose we could delete them. I have two profiles of people under 13. Those would be my nephews. I do have a question. What will happen to the numbering? Say they are "Ferraiolo-9" and "Ferraiolo-10" and you make an adult Ferraiolo-8 and Ferraiolo-11. Will the gap show or will they all be renumbered? I'm thinking the gap will be there because there's no Ferraiolo-3 because I needed to merge it with myself because of a mistake I made so it goes Ferraiolo-2 and then 4.

Thanks for the head's up.
answered by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (149k points)
I don't think it's going to matter much, especially when you get to Ferraiolo-451 and Ferraiolo-124749.  Are you going to notice? LOL
LOL yea. True. I still manage like 99% of all Ferraiolo profiles on this website, though. =) Random early morning musings.
+8 votes
I am not to bothered about some of them but I would like to keep my grandson so messaged his mother

I have explained everything to her and she will have a look later to sign up and sign the volunteer thing she wont have to do anything else yet as far as I understand it

It is annoying but have a feeling that it will reduce my watchlist also at the moment the padlock is automatically on private with public bio can that not be changed where it automatically goes to unlisted
answered by Steph Meredith G2G6 Mach 6 (60.5k points)
edited by Steph Meredith
+11 votes

This is driving me nuts, to be honest.

I think it's okay and actually good to unlist living family members. But delete DNA ID's from non-member accounts? That would make things so much harder. My 2nd cousin once removed explicitly gave me (written!) permission to manage his DNA results because he doesn't want to join wikitree himself. Will there be any other solution so that we can still confirm DNA connections?

answered by Evelina Staub G2G6 (8.5k points)
+10 votes
With the new changes, if someone joins wikitree and a unlisted profile already exists for them held by someone else, will wikitree now create a duplicate for them?
answered by Paula Dea G2G6 Mach 5 (50.8k points)
+8 votes
I understand the reason for the changes. I don’t like them, in part because I feel the nation, and it is a nation, of Europe is dictating to an American organization. My question is, what happens to the WT ID’s of all the children under 13 who get deleted? I know mergers eliminate ID’s, but those get directed to the lower number. WT is going to have some real blanks in the ID system.
answered by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (160k points)
+5 votes
I have about 50 such profiles ... children of nieces/nephews and the like.  I did add my daughter as manager for my grand-daughter but that's it ... my blood pressure has gone up twenty points!

So, my plan for the remaining kids that I manage is to save their profiles on my local computer.  I think my only choice here is as an 'html' file ... that's better than nothing ... someday I may re-enter those profiles when the kid comes of age, but maybe not ... Just Wikitree's loss ...I'll have to display my saved html files and re-type in the info ... at least I'll have the information.

Further, I won't or can't enter profiles for family new-borns ... guess we can refer to those kids as the lost generations ...

I need a blood pressure pill ...
answered by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1m points)
I agree with Bob 100%, the only difference is I have already started putting all of my workon to a Legacy 9 program that resides on my computer at home. That was before GDPR. I now believe that that choice is and was the best one because my work will remain available to those who matter to me.
They will not become "the lost generation". When they are old enough to make the choice for themselves whether or not they wish to be here (as should have always been their choice only anyway) it's not going to be hard for them at all to find the profiles of their older deceased family members and hook in to the tree.
+4 votes
If I understand this, if a wife puts her living husband in with his DNA (actually they had me do it) The husband doesn't use a computer, he barely uses a cell phone, doesn't have a email.  And the wife is nearly computer illiterate. So the husband is going to made unlisted?
answered by Lynette Jester G2G6 Mach 3 (38k points)
+5 votes

"Profiles of young children will need to be deleted unless the profile manager is one of their parents."

OK, but I have a number of Unlisted young people with no dates. One is in fact only ten years old.

I just now tried to enter a birth year of 2010, to schedule it for definition deletion, but the system will not let me save the change.

"Error: Invalid data. The following must be corrected:

  1. You cannot create a profile for a child under 13 unless you are their parent."

So, it seems I will be stuck with such a profile, even if I would like to let the system remove it.

answered by Steven Mix G2G6 Mach 3 (36.2k points)
+2 votes
What happens to information and photos from living children under the of 13 in the Biography section? What is allowed and what may not be mentioned? I assume that not allowed information can not removed with a Bot.
answered by Joop van Belzen G2G6 Mach 3 (34.2k points)
+2 votes
No - that is against the rules.
answered by Cheryl Hess G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
+2 votes
Please, revert this.
answered by Paulo Canedo G2G Crew (420 points)
This was discussed ad nauseam back in May when the new rules went into effect. They were not done arbitrarily, they were done to comply with EU rules on privacy and to avoid WikiTree having to deal with potential law suits and the expense in defending against it. The rule won't change until we see how the EU rules play out in practice. WT is an international effort so such rules do affect us.

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