Publishing Genealogies #general


TE <tome1111@...>
 

Rachel,
Rather than publish info about your ancestors, on the internet, you should
consider finding people who are researching your same town. Network with
them and come up with a way to get more information about your town and
family. Volunteer for town projects. This would be a much better use of
your time.

By offering info about your relatives, freely, how will you discriminate
between people who are legitimate potential relatives, and thieves who just
want to know more about you. I think you are putting your privacy and that
of your relatives at great risk.

Personal information is no one else's business. Protect yourself against
identity theft. Don't publish genealogies.

Tom Erribe
CA


Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>
 

On Fri, 12 Aug 2005 04:03:12 UTC, tome1111@earthlink.net (TE) opined:

Rachel,
Rather than publish info about your ancestors, on the internet, you should
consider finding people who are researching your same town. Network with
them and come up with a way to get more information about your town and
family. Volunteer for town projects. This would be a much better use of
your time.
That is one avenue; publication is another. To say that the above is a
better use of time is both sweeping and unsubstantiated.

By offering info about your relatives, freely, how will you discriminate
between people who are legitimate potential relatives, and thieves who just
want to know more about you. I think you are putting your privacy and that
of your relatives at great risk.

Personal information is no one else's business. Protect yourself against
identity theft. Don't publish genealogies.
Like most sweeping and unqualified statements and admonitions, this
one is open to debate. For example, there is nothing in the above
about what "publish" means. It would certainly be foolish and
impertinent to publish a genealogy with a lot of narrative about how
living persons have been spending their time since leaving school or
even before, with addresses and all the rest. On the other hand, a
tree containing no identifying material, no addresses, but only names
and at most dates/places of birth/marriage/death is pretty risk-free
-- especially when one recalls that virtually all identity theft is
done with information obtained through publicly available sources.
Harvesting identities >from published family trees is not the most
productive way for an identity thief to spend his time.

My ID card, containing only information of public record, contains my
parents' names. I have to show this card to various people fairly
frequently; is the Government putting me at risk? When I am called up
to the Torah, my father's name is announced in public; should I ask
the gabai to mumble inaudibly when he does that? There are countries
in which one's patronymic is a standard part of the way people are
addressed, so that the father's name is known to everyone within
earshot; is such a society playing with fire?

There is a large dose of paranoia in the claim that listing of such
information on the 'Net is dangerous. An admittedly extreme example:
In my database of about 3600 persons living and dead, one of the very
few protests (two) was >from a person whose surname (a typically
Anglo-Saxon one, not identifiably Jewish) is represented by tens of
thousands of men in the US alone, and no doubt a similar number in
the rest of the English-speaking world; his given name is borne by
many thousands of Welshman. There is no way that anyone could identify
him >from what is on my website -- even if anybody were looking for him
there. Is he at risk? Because his mother's name is also there, and
because he may be so foolish as to use his mother's name as a password
at the bank?

Use your head about what you publish. A properly limited publication
is no risk. If you want the narrative, keep it separate.

--
Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

Searching:
NEACHOWICZ/NOACHOWICZ, NEJMAN/NAJMAN, SURALSKI: >from Lomza Gubernia
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:
http://www.hashkedim.com

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.


Gnarlodious <gnarlodious@...>
 

Thank you all for some excellent and some unexcellent suggestions, and also
to those who emailed me offlist. I believe for now I will only publish the
information of deceased relatives for Google to harvest. That seems safe
enough.

Entity Stan Goodman uttered this profundity:

http://www.hashkedim.com
Thanks Stan for a fine demo of the GenJ web application, I had been wanting
to see it in action.

Does your family have some connection to almonds?

-- Rachel Cogent
GOLDBERG CYPRESS - Nikolaev
SILVERSTEIN - Kherson
KOGEN - Kiev, Kishinev
BELOGORODSKY CLUZFELD SCHINKER- Galati
BORNSTEIN - Winnick ?


Hilary Henkin <hilary@...>
 

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

I've read the several postings offering huge cautions against listing
family trees on the internet. I don't see of what use a name is to a
spammer without an accompanied email address. Harvesters don't
gather names, only email addresses. And if a "bad guy" even were to
find a family tree, they'd have no way to locate any of the
individuals. Their modus operandi is to send out thousands/millions
of emails to reel in suckers (that's why they call it "phishing"),
and go >from there, rather then to spend hours digging out family
trees, then more hours trying to locate the listed individuals.

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????

I think we're being 'way over-worried in too many ways today.

I maybe can understand the caution about publishing "mother's maiden
name", since U.S banks etc. had used that as a security
device. However, in the past couple of years, institutions have
stopped using that clue, so even that's no longer a concern.

My family tree has been on the web for about six years now. I've
found far more cousins, than otherwise. Two cousins have asked me to
remove their personal info, which I of course did. (their listings
now say, "daughter, living" husband, living", etc.)

Oh, yes, one more thing. If YOU get a message >from someone claiming
to be a relative, and all they know is what's on your website, then
YOU had better be careful!

Hilary Henkin
Atlanta, Georgia USA


Eve Line Blum <eve.line.blum@...>
 

I agree completely with Stan Goodman, but I want to add my twopence
with a special French comment.

In France (at least, since I don't know about other countries), many
Jewish people still are shaken up by all the events which happened
during WWII and the Shoah (just as a reminder, more than 76 000 Jews
left France to the nazi camps during the Shoah, and only 3 percent
came back after the war). I'm not a specialist and I don't know how
long it will last, but I know for sure it's still lasting even on the
second and third generations...

These people (and nobody is able to prevent that fact) still think
that *"it"* may happen again some day. They are really frightened about
leaving their name (and of course still more their genealogy) to be
published on the Internet. Internet seems very dangerous to them.
They believe that through the Internet, anything bad can arrive must
easily that it was during WWII.

One can try to explain them that nowadays, there are so many listings
everywhere (Social Security, bank accounts, various subscriptions to
numerous magazines and newspapers including Jewish ones, etc.) that
genealogy is only a very tiny part of the problem : it's to no avail.
They are anxious and nobody can't help it.

I began meeting that problem ten years ago when I began dealing with
the convoy #73 which took 878 Jewish men in deportation >from France
to the Baltic States in May 1944 : when I decided to publish the list
of these men on the Web (only names, first names, date and place of
birth), I received some mails and letters >from people who wanted me
to erase the name of their relative who was in that convoy, in
case... Of course, I refused and told them that these lists are
historical documents that can't be rubbed out. Nevertheless, it gave
rise to a lot of comments and complaints.

I even met the same problem three years ago when I decided to publish
the last known address of these 878 men... But now, since Yad Vashem
published the Pages of Testimony, some of them containing lots of
personal information, these people dare not to complain, even if they
don't agree...
--
Eve Line Blum-Cherchevsky
Besancon (France)
and also
Cercle de Genealogie Juive (International JGS in Paris)
http://www.genealoj.org


Paul <news@...>
 

"Nick" < tulse04-news@yahoo.co.uk > wrote:

[snip]>
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.
[snip]

Nothing requires you to give your mother's actual maiden name. I never do.
The request for maiden name is only to identify that you are the person who
requests a transaction online. You can provide any nonsense string as long
as you can remember it later.

Paul Wolf
San Diego, CA

KHAVULYA (Talnoye, Uman, Kiev, Buenos Aires, Philadelphia)
BEININ (Talnoye)
SWITZKY
SLAFER or SCHLEIFER


Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>
 

On Tue, 16 Aug 2005 17:35:14 UTC, tulse04-news@yahoo.co.uk (Nick)
opined:

"Hilary Henkin" < hilary@proppersource.com > wrote:

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

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
them.

--
Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

Searching:
NEACHOWICZ/NOACHOWICZ, NEJMAN/NAJMAN, SURALSKI: >from Lomza Gubernia
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:
http://www.hashkedim.com

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.


Nick <tulse04-news@...>
 

"Hilary Henkin" < hilary@proppersource.com > wrote:

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

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.

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.

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.
--
Nick Landau
London, UK

COHNREICH (Anklam, Germany Krajenka, Poland) ATLAS (Wielkie Oczy (near
Lvov/Lemberg), Poland)
WECHSLER(Schwabach, Germany) KOHN (Wallerstein and Kleinerdlingen,Germany)
LANDAU/FREDKIN(Gomel, Mogilev, Belarus)


Simon Tardell
 

Stan Goodman wrote:

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.
I don't agree. The discussion was about publishing as in making publicly available
on the internet. No information is *lost* if you choose not to do that, or if you
choose to omit data on living people when publishing. The data in your unpublished
database remains. Also, this is not an all-or-nothing situation. Sharing your
data, your full data, with family you know and trust, is an entirely different
matter.

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 them.
Again, secret is not an absolute, it is the degree of difficulty in obtaining
information. Information available through a search with Google is ostensibly much
less secret than information available through public record only (or being called
out by the gabbai in your local shul). There used to be a sign in railroad cars in
Sweden saying "The opportunity makes the thief", it applies here as well: The more
difficult it is to obtain information, the less likely is it someone will bother
to use it for sinister purposes. If it were otherwise, genealogy would be much
easier.

Also, public record is not unconditionally public. Maybe your cousin has
protected identity and changed names and addresses because her husband used to
beat her up. Maybe *you* got the information on her through some family relation
who didn't realize you were going to publish it on the Internet.

Inevitably this discussion seems to turn to identity theft, and that may be a
problem, but it is definitely not the only problem that can arise >from publishing
personal information. There is the hide-and-seek of the ex-wife and the ex-husband
I mentioned. There are other reasons for harassing people, of course. Some people
may have taken offence with your father's business practice and would like to get
even, but decide to take it out on a family member who happens to get in their way
instead. Maybe you have a gay relative who has not come out in his workplace yet.

And, I understand this is not a problem in Israel, in some countries some people
fancy making list of Jews. This is a fear strong enough that the Jewish
communities in Sweden do not collect their membership fees through the tax
returns, even though it would be much cheaper, because that would mean that there
would be a public database of all Jews in the country.

Once again there is no way you can know what concerns are valid for other members
of your family tree, so if you don't have their consent, filter them out before
publishing. As I mentioned, this is actually a EU directive, and one reason I'd
favour to see Israel as member. The same directive also forbids the export of
personal data of non-consenters to a third country which effectively means that
Europeans that participate in the FTJP are breaking the law.

Simon Tardell,
Stockholm, Sweden.