Where's the Library?

Libraries are not just a place or a thing. Libraries are evolving!

Online family files–who should be included?

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on November 30, 2008

Digital collections in the genealogical world have a lot of issues. There are copyright, privacy, accuracy, and preservation issues; just to name a few. All digital collections have these problems, but in genealogical files they seem to be at times overwhelming. It makes me wonder why people put collections online, except for maybe 5 minutes of fame. 🙂


As family historians struggle to make their records more accurate, they encounter even more problems. Much misinformation is available in family trees that are placed online, and family stories abound. While some family stories may be true, others were told to build a “better pedigree” than what they found.

Yet there are reasons not to include those who might be an embarrassment to the family. Privacy issues may prevent those family secrets from being shaken loose. For example, if someone is adopted and doesn’t know it, the last place they would want to discover it would be in a family online file.

Policies of online providers, such as Rootsweb.com to limit family files to those who have “passed on,” is a good rule. It saves embarrassment, preserves privacy and saves feelings of those who might be harmed. It just makes good sense.

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