JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Publishing Genealogies #general

Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>

On Tue, 16 Aug 2005 17:35:14 UTC, (Nick)

"Hilary Henkin" < > wrote:

I'd like to offer a differing opinion about this topic, in total
agreement with Stan Goodman.

If I list someone as "daughter, living", how can this lead to identity
theft? Even if I list "Ann, still living", how can this lead to identity
theft???? And how many cases of identity theft have you heard of which
began with info >from a genealogy website????
Well, my ISP (Internet Service Provider) BT Yahoo uses my mother's maiden
name as a way of accessing the Internet if I have forgotten my password.
That is incorrect. What happened, in fact, is the following:

a) Yahoo asked for your mother's maiden name,
b) You, perhaps thoughtlessly gave it, and
c) It became your password.

What do you think would have happened if you had told them your
mother's name before her marriage was "Marie Antoinette" or "Lizzie
Borden"? That is what I have done with a bank that asked me this
foolish question, and therefore the name I gave them (actually neither
of the above) is my password. Yahoo cares not a fig about your mother;
they are helping unimaginative people by giving them a framework to
begin to think about a password. Given that one's mother is on public
record as having borne one, anybody that gives the right answer
deserves whatever happens to him.

There is lots of information that is obviously available on the Internet.
One person who posts on this newsgroup referred to me half-jokingly as
"spying" on her when I looked up her name and then when I wrote to her I
referred to some information I had found out about her.

I think I have referred previously to "data warehousing" which is used by
marketing companies. If they have a number of databases containing
information collected independently about people, they can then pool the
information >from the different databases to build up a much more detailed
picture of individuals.

In effect, the Internet is a intersecting set of a vast number of
independent databases.
This is not really relevant.

Genealogical researchers are able to use this facility to build up a picture
of their ancestors.

Whilst noone minds this about people who are no longer alive, but people are
quite right to be concerned about the information about themselves available
on the Internet.

As in other areas of public interest, the fact that something is interesting
doesn't necessarily mean that such things are in the public interest.
It is indeed possible to bowdlerize a genealogy in deference to the
neurotically defensive. Remember that you are gathering this
information as a way to preserve information for the future, and that
anything you omit because the person is still alive is lost forever --
nobody, after you are gone, is going to fill in the details as the
nervous nellies die off. If genealogy is for you merely a fun way to
kill time, this doesn't matter much. If, on the other hand, you are
collecting information to show the next generation or so whence they
came, you may think differently. The children of the person whose name
you have omitted are also unknown, and are likely to remain so. You
may want to make your genealogy as complete as you possibly can. Much
information is already lost to us, simply because the people who could
supply it are gone -- and that is a process that, as you know, is
still active.

What is true is that it is foolish in many ways to publish sensitive
and identifying details, sometimes even of dead persons. Dates/places
of birth, marriage, and death are already matters of public record.
You are not releasing secrets into the public domain by publishing

Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

ISMACH: >from Lomza Gubernia, Galicia, and Ukraina
HERTANU, ABRAMOVICI, LAUER: >from Dorohoi District, Romania
GRISARU, VATARU: >from Iasi, Dorohoi, and Mileanca, Romania

See my interactive family tree (requires Java 1.1.6 or better). the URL is:

For reasons connected with anti-spam/junk security, the return address is
not valid. To communicate with me, please visit my website (see the URL
above -- no Java required for this purpose) and fill in the email form there.

Join to automatically receive all group messages.