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  • #13060

    This is more of a talking point than an issue, as I’m interested to know how others go about this.
    In principle, as I have committed to members of the extended family whose personal data appears on the database, and in the interests of personal data privacy, I only issue user accounts to those who can demonstrate that they are connected, by bloodline or marriage, to individuals appearing in the database. I also ask them to provide the information that would allow me to extend the family tree to include them (the hidden argument being that if they are not prepared to put their details up on the database they should not expect to be allowed to see the details of other living individuals!).

    That’s the principle, but there are often situations which are unclear and only by allowing someone to access the full database content are they able to work out and articulate their connection to our extended family tree. Also, occasionally, I receive a request from an academic or a member of the clergy who would like to have full access briefly in order to complete a piece of research they are engaged in. In most of these cases, I offer a ‘temporary user account’ and ask them to provide details of their connection to our tree or confirm the completion of their project (or request an extension) by a given date – typically about 14 days hence – If I am to extend the temporary access or ‘make the account permanent’. In practice, of course, they are all permanent unless I remember to do something about it. So in a way – maybe for Kiwitrees Nova Nigel?? – I would find it very helpful if at user account approval time I had the option to select ‘temporary’ account with either a fixed (I’d be happy with 15 or 30 days) or variable period after which the account would close. As I said I would find it useful but perhaps I’m the only one doing things this way so thought I’d air it for comments.

    Ron in France Website: kiwitrees 3.3.11; PHP 8.0.14

  • #13062

    Hi Ron
    I’m afraid my “gut response” might seem a little negative, and perhaps less trusting.

    I operate a similar set of requirements to you, and feel very strongly that they should never, for any reason, be broken. I simply don’t do it.

    One important question to consider – why would these “researchers” require access to any data about living members of your “family”? If they don’t need that, then why do they need to register with your site at all? Unless your site is totally locked down, and not accessible at all without registration, surely they can see all they need to without registration. If they find something of interest, can they not simply ask you if you have any further information you can share?

    And for a couple of really cynical thoughts (ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek):
    If a disreputable person wanted to gather data on living people (identity theft?) how long would they need access to a web site for? Would 15 or 30 days be long enough? Might “clergyman” be a suitable occupation to claim, to gain the website admin’s trust?

    My personal kiwitrees site is
  • #13063

    Thanks for your take on this Nigel – all very sound and makes perfect sense. I feel I should nevertheless clarify a couple of points:

    The ‘researchers’ are really very few – I’ve only had three so far – and could be controlled quite easily. In all three cases I had satisfied myself of their authenticity and serious intent; in each case I made clear exactly what they could and couldn’t do and it was agreed that I would have first sight of their finished work with the implicit right to change /’censor’. One was an elderly vicar who was writing a book on all that had changed in his small Welsh parish (one where many of my Davies ancestors had lived )and he wanted to check how far afield descendants had travelled. He had no desire to name names – at least not in the living generations. He stuck to his word – as I was sure he would – and produced a very readable book, which was clearly better for having had full access to the database. Another was a university lecturer who was preparing a paper on the dramatic population changes in the Rhondda valleys since the start of the decline and the final demise of the coal mining industry. He was keen to follow a number of prominent local families through the last two centuries, to show how conditions had changed for them and how the life choices of their children and grandchildren and been totally changed by the changed industrial and economic landscape. In his case, he DID want to name names and he was keen to be put in contact with living descendants in various parts of the world. I agreed with him that we should do this in steps – first, having spent time working through my database, he would tell me who specifically he would like to contact. I would then write to them explaining his project and telling them that he would be contacting them directly via the ‘site messaging service’ and I would remind them that there was absolutely no obligation to cooperate, etc. It all went very well; the academic was happy; members of the family tree who were approached, and whose direct ancestors were named in the resulting paper were all more than happy to participate. The third – which involved a professional researcher for a television programme on Welsh roots – was less satisfactory – not because any confidential information was disclosed, but because the researcher was given full credit at the end of the excellent resulting programme, and no reference was made to my site and the enormous contribution that my data had made – which I thought a bit of a cheek!!

    But it is in providing temporary access to normal folks trying to trace their family history, where I risk forgetting that I had provided an account and then not closing it down again after the agreed period. To understand why this should ever be a requirement, it helps to have a name like DAVIES in South Wales. Frequently, in quite small Glamorgan parishes, there are multiple DAVIES families and however far back they are traced they don’t seem to connect anywhere. However this also means that individuals from two separate DAVIES families often marry in that parish and so the separate lines join in the future even if not in the past! Add to this the fact that during most of the last two centuries, the Welsh seem to have been very unimaginative in naming their children, and you end up with dozens of individuals in the same small parish named David Davies or William Davies or Thomas Davies, and sometimes it’s a little easier to sort things out if you can get a glimpse further into the present day . I used to try to help people by ckecking ot their possible contacts amongst the living invividuals on my database, but it can be very time-consuming and now, if I think there is a good possibility that they may find something, I’ll offer a ‘temporary user account’ so theycan lookmfor themselves.

    But, as I said at the outset, I can well imagine that I am the only one doing things this way. I just wish I had a name like Murgatroyd or Hollingdale!!

    Ron in France Website: kiwitrees 3.3.11; PHP 8.0.14

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