Re: Confidentiality #general

Susan Fifer <suef@...>

I have been following this discussion with interest and I can see that
people have a genuine concern about identity theft amongst other issues. I
think that sometimes, however, those who object don't realise how much
information they themselves reveal in sources that they create.

As an exercise, I took >from last week's Jewish Chronicle the announcement of
a birth put in by the new parents. It gave the child's full name, the
parents' names, the date of birth, the siblings of the new born, the child's
living grandparents and indicated after whom the baby was named. Using only
the Jewish Chronicle archives and UK BMD material >from Ancestry, I was able
to construct an outline family tree within a few hours. The full names and
exact birthdates of the youngest generation were all provided through birth
announcements made in the Chronicle by the parents and other family was
filled in through condolence announcements which often mention the
relationship of the submitter to the deceased. The one resource that I did
not need to use (since I didn't even know if such a thing existed) was a
family tree compiled and published by a family history researcher.

Admittedly, I chose a name for this exercise which was uncommon and
therefore not difficult to track but it does show that, even without the
family trees which we construct, there is a lot of information out there
which is very easily accessible. This does not, of course, remove >from us
the obligation to behave responsibly as genealogists but is something to
bear in mind when people raise objections to the information you include in
your family tree.

Sue Fifer, London, England

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