About Copyright and Privacy: Input Requested

I recently felt compelled to make a statement about copyright and to re-address the issue of privacy. I initially created this website as a way to organize my own family history and make information available to my relatives. Obviously there is also material on this site that is of general interest and it is my intent that anyone is welcome to view it. Recall that the family trees on this site contain the names of people who are only our remotest relatives by marriage. It is understandable that others may wish to learn more about their own direct ancestors even though they are not themselves Hasselbacher descendants. I am of mixed mind how to handle such interested persons and would appreciate your input.

Issues:
I have seen examples of how some individuals have added names from this site to their family trees on Ancestry.com. (I myself have placed the names and dates of my direct ancestors there in a so-far unrewarded hope that a relative would find me.) Aside from the disappointment that there is no attribution as to their sources, they have made an absolute mess of the information by using various commercial sites’ uncritical automatic methods of adding information and making invalid links to other people. Such misuse and introduction of errors does us all a disfavor.

Then there is the always the important privacy issue. Obviously a balance has been taken by anyone (including me) between publishing everything and publishing nothing. I do not want concerns about privacy to inhibit people from making contributions. On this site, I attempt to make sure that nothing other than a name is placed on the site for a living person (except with their express consent, as for authors of various contributions.) I have removed specific information when asked to do so. (Such as early and unhappy marriages.) What do you think of the privacy policies of this website? Should I allow a person to register for the Family Trees who cannot demonstrate that they are a Hasselbacher Descendant? I have denied registration to an individual who was just doing blind research for what appeared to be commercial purposes. Should I do so? Should anyone be able to look? Recall that requiring a password blocks Google and other search engines from finding individual names.

The notes in the Hasselbacher Family Tree were originally compiled by me as working notes and include (identified) speculative material. I continue to make corrections. I had an initial option not to place the notes in the database at all, but I did not want the perfect to be the enemy of the good, I wanted you to know my sources, and I hoped that others would help me improve the information. That has not happened for the Hasselbacher Tree very much, although for the larger Hazelbaker Tree, many corrections and additions have been made. That latter Tree has wonderful stories of early family life. What advice would you give me? I have had one complaint about material in the notes section. I removed that material and all the names attached. Should I remove all the notes?

Am I making too much of this? In truth, I have little idea how often the site is used so your feedback is important to me. Leave a comment here or, email me direct.

Peter Hasselbacher
Oct 25, 2009


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