Is it acceptable to upload an image of a census record or passenger list to a profile?

+5 votes
The image would have been uploaded from a site like and I wonder if there is any copyright or other issue which would prevent re-posting, even though I had paid a fee to access the image.
in WikiTree Help by Ralph Attwater G2G1 (1.4k points)

4 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer
You would need to consider the Terms & Conditions of the website that you have taken the image from. Most do not give you the rights to publish the image on a public site.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (680k points)
selected by Jillaine Smith
Jillaine, Thanks for the best answer star.
+5 votes
I dont usually upload census images, but I do upload at least one copy of the family on the ships passenger list (under the fair use rule) for the father or head of the family. Just to show proof of how and when they immigrated.
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+9 votes

U.S. census pages are in the public domain from the moment they are created, and that includes images of them.  There are no restrictions on their use, regardless of where the image is obtained.  See this G2G post for some additional details.

Conversely, U.K. census images are all copyrighted.  Posting a U.K. census document requires payment of a fee to the U.K. National Archives.  See the answer to this G2G post for additional info.

As far as a passenger list is concerned, it would depend on the source and the date it was created.  The facts contained therein cannot be copyrighted however.

by Kerry Larson G2G6 Pilot (238k points)
+2 votes
Census data is in the public domain because it is produced by government employees paid to collect and compile it. If someone resells it, it is now available free. It can never be copyrighted. Because of the potential of abuse it is embargoed for seventy-two years, so it is not available to law enforcement, the military draft, immigration, tax authorities, partisan politics, or any commercial purposes.

In general I have found that elderly people are delighted to be shown as children. But as a rule the data is shown after careers are over. You will not find that someone has been a physician or attorney before the person  is deceased.

Yes, I have seen embarrassing personal details such as imprisonment... but as a rule this is almost invariably of people now deceased. Crime is a choice, and a bad one. Imprisonment can appear on a Census record, but almost never of a living person. Take care in assuming things. People have taken the rap for others, and people have been wrongfully convicted. But do the crime and do the time -- and being able to trace a lost relative might be interesting. What harm can you do to a convicted horse thief from the 1870s? The fellow is dead.

It is true that on occasion you will find a census record that shows someone as a prominent scientist, creative person, academic, or politician. Most people do not have such interesting lives.

by Paul Brower G2G6 Mach 1 (11.4k points)

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