Re: Data matching privacy issue on MyHeritage

David Dewick

The answers are simple. First, the Hints system on Ancestry can be useful in finding information that might otherwise have been missed by referring me to datasets I would not normally think of searching. Second, by keeping a tree private but searchable anyone with a genuine interest will, hopefully, contact me. Thirdly, as I have already said, keeping the tree private allows me to control who has access to my research, the upshot of which is I can easily contact those with access to my tree to let me know if I find a mistake, and with a reasonable degree of certainty that the mistake will get corrected in their tree. Fourth, because I have been requested to. Fifth, because it is all but impossible to contact anyone who may be living to get their assent to me putting their details online and publically accessible. Finally, because in the past my tree has been a public tree and copied (several times) lock stock and barrel, including some serious errors. These errors have subsequently been corrected through further detailed research but those who have made the copies have been totally deaf to my contacting them with details of the errors, errors that now persist and get propagated in a very large number of other publically available trees.


From: [] On Behalf Of Derek Kain
Sent: 19 August 2020 10:01
Subject: Re: [family-historian] Data matching privacy issue on MyHeritage


Hello readers,

A question, if you want to keep it private for sure why put the private information online?

I don't.



On Wed, 19 Aug 2020 at 09:55, David Dewick <david.dewick@...> wrote:

Ancestry may have an algorithm for blocking access to  “living people”, however, it does not take a great deal of effort (or skill) to identify them and gather a lot of information about them. I keep my trees on Ancestry private, but searchable so if anyone needs information from my tree it is necessary to contact me for it. My trees are also private in response to requests from other family members to protect as much as possible the information available about them online whilst still being able to continue my research. My Heritage is not the only service provider to offer all kinds of inducements, though, to putting and keeping your tree online, and although some may be worthwhile, the benefits need to be assessed clinically before you get tempted.


As far as finding my information on other peoples’ trees, that problem is endemic. The failure to respond to notifications when you discover an error is unforgiveable, but sadly is the case the majority of times. Eventually, errors spread so widely it is all but impossible to get corrections out there. Keeping a tree private does, at least, allow you to control who has access to your research, and keep them up to date with developments.


I think I might have a tree from years ago on MyHeritage. I will check and delete it.


David Dewick

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