Do you have living people in your Ancestry family tree? It’s great to add your children, siblings, cousins, and other living relatives, but how are living people protected? At Ancestry.com there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure information about living people stays private. The first thing we do is determine who’s living and who’s not—and safeguard information about those who are living. When other Ancestry members view your tree, living people will appear as “Private” and any information entered about them is hidden.
So how does Ancestry determine who’s living and who’s not in your family tree? This happens a couple of ways: First, when you add or edit a person on Ancestry.com you set whether the person is deceased or living—and we respect that setting. Secondly, if you add someone through a GEDCOM upload or link a tree from your Family Tree Maker software (where there’s not a living/deceased setting), then we calculate the living status based on the following rules:
- First we look for death information, anyone with death information (date, place, etc.) is dead—that one’s easy.
- If there’s not death information entered we look for a birth date, anyone younger than 100 is considered living.
- The tricky part is if we don’t have birth or death information. In this case we look at the birth dates of close relatives to estimate a birthdate; if the birthdate is less than 100 years ago, they are considered to be living.
- If all else fails and we can’t make a safe estimate, we assume the person is living to err on the safe side.
There may be times when you’ll want to let others see living people in your family tree. You can share your tree with others and give them permission to view living people, or take it away, at any time (go to your tree, under Tree Pages select Tree Setting, and click on the Sharing tab). We encourage you to be thoughtful about what you share on Ancestry.com, please only post living information you have permission to, especially when sharing with others.
Privacy of living information should be taken seriously—it’s a priority for us. For additional information about how we keep living information safe or to learn about other privacy topics, read our privacy philosophy.
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