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Frequently Asked Questions
About the
Family Tree of the Jewish People

Part IV: Privacy

I. Introduction II. Submitting your Family Tree III. Searching the FTJP IV. Questions about Privacy

We have tried, as best we can, to meet the expressed concerns of many individuals over issues of privacy and security. The following notes give some indication of the steps that have been taken to ensure both.

  1. What information does the FTJP display?
    1. What information is removed after I submit my family tree?
    2. What if I don't think that your provisions are sufficiently private?
    3. How private are my personal details after I've submitted my family tree?
    4. A person copied my data and presented it as their own. Will you remove those names?
  2. Are there any restrictions on who can search the FTJP?
  3. Does any monitoring of the FTJP take place?
  4. Disclaimer

IV. 1.   What information does the FTJP display?

For each individual, the JewishGen FTJP will display:

  • Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of each marriage
  • Date and place of death
  • Links to parents, spouse(s), and children

However, provisions have been made for privacy of living persons, based upon lengthy discussions which took place in the JewishGen Discussion Group several years ago. All GEDCOM files submitted to the JewishGen FTJP are subject to the "100 year rule".

The "100 year rule" states that for every person born within the last 100 years for whom no date of death is shown, dates and places of birth and marriage will not be included. Thus the only information provided about living individuals will be their name, and the links to parents, spouse(s) and offspring. Only for deceased individuals will dates and places also be displayed.

For living persons, the family tree retains the integrity of family relationships, but will not invade the privacy of people who do not wish dates of birth and marriages revealed.

No source information or notes will be displayed in the JewishGen FTJP for any individual at any time. Only the five items indicated in the list above will be displayed.

IV. 1.1.   What information is removed?

Before placing data on our website, JewishGen utilizes specially designed software enabling the removal of all date and place information about living persons -- with "living" being defined as someone born within the past 100 years, and for whom there is no death information indicated.

However, there is one minor problem. If you supply a date of birth without specifying a year, the "100 year rule" software will not remove the dates/places for that individual. For example, if a birth date was input as '8 Sept' rather than '8 Sept 1950', the software does not delete the information as per the "100 year rule" -- since it doesn't know from which year to work. If this is a problem for you, you might wish to create a copy of your family tree, take these dates out, and send us the copy, rather than the original tree.

We also remove all other GEDCOM data fields, leaving only name, and dates/places of birth, marriage and death. Other GEDCOM data fields such as immigration, occupation, religion, source notes, etc. are not used by the FTJP and will never be displayed.

IV. 1.2.   What if I don't think that your provisions are sufficiently private?

You are free to strip out any information in your family tree that you do not want revealed. The determination of what to include or exclude in the version you submit to us is entirely up to you. Once we have your GEDCOM, the "100 year rule" is applied, to ensure that the privacy of living persons is observed.

To create a family tree without material that you consider private, copy your existing family tree to a separate file, edit it as you see fit, and then create the GEDCOM file that will be submitted to the FTJP.

IV. 1.3.   How private are my personal details after I've submitted my family tree?

You are known to FTJP viewers only by JewishGen ID Number.  If someone has a question or comment, or finds a match to their family information, then they communicate with you via our blind contact e-mail system (see Question III.5.1).

While they will not know who you are when they first e-mail you, you will know who they are when the e-mail reaches you.  Only if you choose to respond to their e-mail will your name and email address be revealed to them.  However, a prompt and courteous reply is expected, since the underlying goal of the FTJP is to link families.

Please remember that keeping your contact information up-to-date is the only way to insure that people can contact you.  See Question II.4.2 for information on how to update your contact information.

IV. 1.4.   If I shared my tree with someone and they submit it as their own, will you still put it on line?

Yes, because we have no way of knowing who did the basic research and created the family tree.  The conditions under which a GEDCOM is submitted to the FTJP state:

"The GEDCOM you are submitting represents your personal research efforts into your own family connections.  If your submission includes data that is the work of another person you must have their permission to put it on line.

You will not submit any information that infringes on the copyright of others, nor is defamatory or profane in any way."

Therefore, if you see data in the FTJP that you shared with someone and they have not received your permission to submit it to the FTJP, it is your responsibility to communicate with that researcher and request that it be removed.

JewishGen can only remove a family tree at the request of the person who submitted it.  Where there is a dispute is between two parties, we can only attempt to facilitate a resolution by bringing the disputants together.  Since JewishGen has no underlying rights in the data, we can make no changes.  Your argument is with the person who duplicated and submitted your data, not with JewishGen.  The issue must be resolved between you and the person who submitted the data.

If the submitter does not comply, your only option is to advise JewishGen, by sending full details and the specific reasons for the dispute to Once your complaint has been received, JewishGen will attempt to learn the facts by communicating with both parties to the dispute.  JewishGen's only role is to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution to the problem.  If it looks like it can be corrected fairly soon, the data can be hidden from public view temporarily.  If, after a reasonable amount of time the data has not been corrected, we will hide it permanently.

IV. 2.   Are there any restrictions on who can search the FTJP?

In order to search the FTJP database, researchers need to first register with JewishGen.  They can then log in using their JewishGen ID Number and Password.

IV. 3.   Does any monitoring of the FTJP take place?

All access to the FTJP is carefully monitored, ensuring that the same level of privacy afforded other successful JewishGen projects, such as the JGFF, is part of the FTJP.

In addition, to insure that the third party e-mail contact system (see Question III.5.1) is used for personal research only, JewishGen monitors these initial communications.  If we find anyone abusing the system to promote their own commercial services or products, they will be blocked from access to the FTJP.

If anyone should use the information contained in your family tree to attempt to sell you any product or service, this is an abuse of the system and should be brought to the attention of JewishGen immediately.  Please notify with a copy of the solicitation included, and we will take appropriate action.

IV. 4.   Disclaimer

JewishGen, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained in the FTJP. Since the information in input by our many participants, it is subject to errors and omissions.

You will hold JewishGen, Inc. harmless from any wrongdoing or inaccuracies in the compiled data. Any complaints regarding the content of any data contained in this online version should be directed to the submitter who is the source of that data.

The information in this database is presented as a means to contact those listed herein solely for personal genealogical research. The FTJP may not be used, without the prior written permission of JewishGen, Inc., for any other purpose, including but not limited to: solicitation of paid research; school related research projects or term papers; commercial ventures; and interviews for purposes of publiction.

Authors: Warren Blatt, Michael Tobias, Carol Skydell, Iris Folkson, Susan King, Tony Zendle.
Version 2.04   Last Updated: May 1, 2004   WSB

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