19 November 2010

Scrappy Genealogist Learns to Blog - Footnote Friday and Privacy Concerns

A cousin of mine contacted me to find out why I had left the Grace surname off of my surname list. She pointed out that not only had I neglected to include it, but I also had not identified my great grandmother as a Grace. She asked if I was no longer claiming my Grace ancestry.

For the record, I am proud to be a descendant of the Grace family from Freshford Village in Kilkenny, Ireland by way of Quebec and Vermont. This happy couple is Edward and Catherine (Travers) Grace. They are great great great grandparents to me and great great grandparents to two cousins I have connected with through Ancestry.com.
Grace Grace and Catherine 005

This family treasure proved its value in confirming our relationship. They had the same picture! We were officially Grace cousins.

My cousin knew I was happy about our connection, so she had a valid reason to ask why I had not mentioned our ancestral surname. As you know, I am a newbie genealogy blogger. Part of learning to blog about my genealogical finds is deciding how much I feel is safe and comfortable to share.

For more recent generations whose publicized information might invade the privacy of living relatives, I have elected not to include any surnames. It’s a difficult balance to achieve. It’s a problem I ran into while creating my first Footnote Friday post. Within the source citations, I replaced names with [name for private use] and birth/death dates with (birth year-death year), instead of using the actual information.

Am I being paranoid? Probably not because identity theft is a clear and present danger. That said I would really like to find my groove and decide what my parameters are going to be. I would love to know how others have dealt with privacy concerns. If you are a blogger, how do you decide where to draw the line? Is your line permanent, or flexible? In the case of reports with citations, is it all or nothing? How do you handle this?

Thank you!

Scrappy Gen


  1. My general rule is not to include anyone who is living without permission. Regarding citations, I think you are on the right track.

  2. Thank you Michelle. I appreciate your comment!

  3. Just reading this now. I'm still not sure about what information might be private and what is not. Does 100 years and public access to information make it something I can publish? I guess much of it comes to personal discretion since you can't please all of the people all of the time. I agree with you when it comes to protecting living people, or someone who has passed but their children or spouse is still living.


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