Share and Share Alike: The Rules of Genealogical Privacy

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
Sep 6, 2019
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Speaker's Introduction
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12m 43s
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Standards of Conduct
5m 42s
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Respect Rights of Living
8m 36s
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Respect Privacy Rights
7m 55s
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15m 28s
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More Resources
6m 58s

About this webinar

Genealogy by its very nature is collaborative-we need to work together and share information with others, both relatives and non-relatives if we're to succeed in filling out our family trees. But doing family research doesn't mean giving up all semblances of personal privacy, nor is it a license to invade the privacy of others-family or not. All researchers need to follow the rules, both legal and ethical, when we share genealogical information.


Presented live at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City as part of the Joy Reisinger Memorial Lecture Series, and sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

About the speaker

About the speaker

A genealogist with a law degree, Judy G. Russell is a lecturer, educator and writer who enjoys helping others understand a wide variety of genealogical issues, including the interplay between genealogy and the law. She has a bachelor’s degre
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    10 stars!!

    A good reminder with explanations about where sharing ends and privacy begins.

    A lot of privacy issues were fleshed out very well giving a new light on how to address them. Great information provided.

    A much need topic of GREAT interest. Thank You, Judy

    All of it was good.

    Always a treat to hear Judy

    Always an informative and down to earth speaker, with extremely relevant information.

    Always awesome to hear Judy Russell speak

    always expect an excellent presentation from Judy Russell. Great advice and guidance for working/sharing in today’s world. She’s always a step ahead–

    Always great to hear so much knowledge expressed in an understandable lecture.

    Always informative and entertaining.

    Always presents a thought provoking lecture! Thanks.

    Another outstanding presentation by Judy!

    Another wonderfully informative session.

    As always Judy gives us a lot to consider when we do genealogy so that we maintain the highest ethical standards.

    As usual, Judy knocked it out of the ballpark. A fantastic lecture reminding us of the importance of our decisions and our actions regarding genealogical and genetic information. And, now I’m off to share that significant document that I’ve been keeping to myself because it took me a long time to find it. . .

    awesome lecture !!!


    Basically it comes down to compromise and respect when there are differences about what should be known and shared. However, when the intention is not to hurt or harm and another person is not willing to share information or a source (of non living relatives) that would help the rest of the family in their research makes it very frustrating and disappointing.

    BRAVO!!! Very, very TIMELY and very, very useful information providing critical guidelines with the new Genealogy Standards, Second Edition, including DNA standards and emphasizing requiring evidence of consent. Reminder of understanding of EXACTLY WHO has the RIGHT to tell a SPECIFIC story. Thank you for The FindAGrave Robber awareness. This is a much needed webinar for all! This may be the most needed webinar of 2019! It is my favorite webinar of the year and I have a lot of favorites! Thank you, Judy!

    Brilliant, as always!

    Clear and easy to follow with thought- provoking points, as usual.

    Clear explanation of an issue with new wrinkles.

    Complex subject, great presenter.

    Difficult subject, but one that needs repetition often.

    enjoyable and informative

    Excellent advice

    Excellent common sense advice we all need to be reminded of and excellent resources.

    Excellent explanations and clarity about what can be a somewhat opaque topic.

    Excellent handout. Thank you Judy for all your work educating the genealogy community on all these issues.

    Excellent information

    Excellent information

    Excellent presentation and explanations of the ethical issues in genealogy

    Excellent presentation. Lots of great points to think about and consider.

    Excellent presentation. Thank you!

    Excellent presenter! Great information!

    Excellent reminders on the ethics of genealogy. Good to remember to treat information on living persons respectfully.

    Excellent reminders to us all, thought provoking. Regarding the sharing aspect, the FHL digitized a huge Surname history which included my data, my daughters, etc. After discovering it had been digitized and put online, I contacted the FHL and asked for certain pages to be removed as it contained all the information necessary for identity theft. They understood, removed the pages I had requested. Hopefully they’ve reviewed their privacy policy. Contained information on hundreds of living people.

    Excellent speaker. Some of her points have prompted me to review some of my work to make sure I haven’t included some fact that needlessly can cause pain to some living persons.

    Excellent webinar covering some very important points about balancing the right to know versus the right to privacy. Every genealogist should view this.

    Excellent webinar! The best I’ve heard on privacy & sharing issues. Every person doing genealogy research &/or DNA testing needs to hear this one.

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago





    EXCELLENT!!! Always wonderful to hear Judy Russel speak. Plain, down to earth common sense.

    Excellent!!! Will be re-watching this one!


    Excellent, clear.

    Excellent. This presentation should be watched by every single person who is even remotely interested in family history and genealogy — casual hobbyist to professional to the scholarly!!! I will be pointing this webinar to each of my nieces, nephews, dreaded living sibling, and cousins to watch!

    Excellent. Very practical and clearly explained. Thank you for making it plain enough for anyone to understand. 🙂

    Good info and reminders bout copyright and sharing

    Good reminders of best practices .

    great as always

    Great content and excellent delivery!!!

    Great information

    Great information, I need to review this webinar again.

    Great lecture from Judy, I have followed her advice many times during my Masters studies when carrying out research.

    Great reminders!

    Great speaker!


    Great, as always

    Great, as always.

    I always learn so much listening to Judy! Such an engaging presenter!

    I always learn something from Judy. She hammered home a point of discussion I had with another genealogist this week. Thank you!

    I always learn something new from Judy Russell. And her presentations are always enjoyable as well as informative.

    I can see why Judy Russell has many fans (based on the comments). This was my first time hearing her speak. Wonderful speaker, valuable topic, information, and observations.

    Another great experience with Legacy Family Tree Webinars!

    I enjoy anything Judy presents. Always learn something – and she has a great presentation style.

    I expected more discussion of legal points and copyright, but Judy’s impassioned plea for sensitivity was a good reminder for all of us.

    I greatly appreciated the thorough list of further reading. This is an area that I am trying to balance – privacy v moving the research forward and this lecture gave me much to think about for myself and for clients.

    I have been lucky enough to attend lectures by Judy several times, and I always learn something new. Thanks!

    I have had to explain why I don’t share our complete family tree publically to many in my family.

    I have never heard Judy speak before. Her lecture was informative, concise, and engaging. I enjoyed her humor. I also received clarification about the use of DNA results on Ancestry, specifically the matches and the fact that I must receive permission prior to listing those individuals’ names in a family narrative.

    I hope this was just a reminder for everyone listening to this program, but it is good to have reminders.

    I just had a discussion with an instructor about the ethics of telling a story and I somewhat disagreed with my instructor about what was more important, accuracy or privacy/respect. This lecture changed my mind; I understand now why my instructor said not gen story is more important than respecting living people’s privacy.

    I liked having guidelines on sharing information. Common sense sometimes needs to be dusted off and used.

    I would give Judy Russell a higher score if one was available. She is excellent.

    I would have appreciated some specific examples of how Judy would handle the issue of privacy in a research product–case study or narrative genealogy, for example–involving a crime and imprisonment of a person who is deceased and has living descendants. I’ll have to post my question on her blog.

    Important information presented clearly

    Important points th adhered to at all must be

    Important topic, but some things to consider: is it stinginess not to share if one knows that some relatives just want to put info to put on their Ancestry tree to add more numbers; there is no clear way to give credit for all the hard work, time and money spent. How long is it ok to hold on to info if one is planning to publish something oneselfI feel more comfortable to share when someone asks a specific question after I know they have done some research … rather than just hand everything over …

  3. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Information was important to all family historians & genealogists: amateurs & professionals.

    Interesting and important information.

    Judy always gives an excellent presentation! This topic is particularly pertinent and she offered some very good advice.

    Judy always gives the best lectures. So concise and easy to understand.

    Judy always is thought provoking.

    Judy always tells us the stuff to keep us out of trouble legally AND ethically—-even when we don’t want to hear it! ROFL Good for the BGS’ (and others’) standards!

    Judy is always entertaining & informative.

    Judy is always fabulous, in topic, in examples, in message!

    Judy is ALWAYS loaded with information, can never get enough. This was a great source of new information.

    Judy is always on point and topical, plus her delivery is always the most entertaining. I always learn something from her!

    Judy is always one of the best speakers in any genealogy program and today was no different. Informative and interesting, as well as topical.

    Judy is an enthusiastic, inspiring, and charismatic lecturer. While we think we know what ethics are involved in genealogy, Judy made it absolutely clear the do’s and don’ts of sharing information. I will look to her for guidance in the future.

    Judy is an EXCELLENT speaker

    Judy is an excellent speaker. Always learn so much from her.

    Judy is my favorite speaker. Very informative presentation.

    Judy is superb as always.

    Judy is THE best ever. Nobody will ever beat her as a speaker.

    Judy is the best! Thank you!

    Judy knocked it out the park and tell it like it is with complete answers! I’m always kicking and punching the air for JOY when she speaks. I know I’m gonna get the straight sense and answers from her! Fabolous Webinar!

    Judy makes privacy easy to understand!

    Judy presented reminders that everyone needs. As always a vital, reasoned presentation.

    Judy Russell always gives great presentations! Thanks!

    Judy Russell is always great!

    Judy Russell is always insightful.

    Judy Russell is always very informative and gives well presented lectures!

    Judy Russell is fantastic!

    Judy Russell is one of THE best webinar presenters, ever! I always come away with thought provoking ideas. Maybe we think alike since I am also a genealogist with a law degree.

    Judy was amazing, as per her usual! 🙂

    Judy was excellent as always.

    JUDY! JUDY!! JUDY!!! (In my best Cary Grant voice (although the quote actually originated with Larry Storch in one of his comedy routines . . . )

    Judy’s always insightful in her presentations.

    Judy’s presentations are always excellent and very thought provoking …

    Judy’s webinars are always great.

    LOL! Fighting with siblings…I am from a large family and my oldest sister thinks she can tell everyone else what to do and how to do and gets mad if they don’t follow her protocol.

    lots of good information, examples of how it affects an individual and the stressing on bringing a caring heart to any of your findings.

    Lots of helpful insight, explained carefully with good examples.

    Love Judy Russell and will go or do anything to see or hear what she is presenting. Thank you for this informative webinar.

    Love Judy! Very clear.

    Made sense of things that I have questioned myself

    Ms. Russell is always an inspirational speaker…always good information

    Ms. Russell is always fabulous!

    Nice to know that my personal ethical standards are correct. But I still would like to download the standards to have when communicating with family to assure them of my intentions.

    Privacy rights are always an interesting topic when it comes to genealogical information, especially where it concerns living people.

    Professional, ethical information guided by the heart. Excellent.

    Really interesting topic, well delivered.

    Right on!

  4. Legacy Family Tree
    5 years ago

    Share and Share Alike was absolutely wonderful. It was worth my whole day! She was articulate, well prepared, easy to understand and had a wonderful syllabus available. Loved it!!!!

    She always presents a great webinar–today is no exception

    She is always fantastic. No matter how many times I hear her I learn something new and have new thoughts about my research.

    She never does a lecture halfway. This one was interesting and loaded with lots of useful information.

    So thought-provoking!

    Some very valid points, especially about Find a Grave. I had never thought about her comment about being grave robbers if we put that information out too soon.

    terrific as always! So much to keep in mind!!

    Thanks for making the distinction between legal and ethical. I think in our current situation, this distinction has been forgotten.

    That was wonderful

    The Best=Judy Russell

    The topic was very interesting, and Judy is an outstanding speaker!

    There is always something to learn when listening to others speak about the genealogical legal and ethical issues. Great presentation!

    This series should be required watching before asking a question on FB! 🙂

    Valuable. Covering all aspects of privacy and ethical conduct.

    Very enlightening.

    Very good reminders.

    Very good webinar. Good reminder of some things I have forgotten.

    Very good- would like to hear more on detecting plagiarism and protecting ones self from accidentally plagiarizing.

    Very good. I appreciate any opportunity to benefit from the sharing of Judy Russell’s knowledge!

    very happy you covered this topic

    Very informative and current

    Very informative and well presented!

    Very informative! Ethics about sharing genealogy information with my cousins is very important to everyone involved.

    Very informative! Thank you!

    Very informative. Thank you. Standards for life in general. Consent, Privacy, and Respect.

    Very knowledgeable presenter

    Followed the syllabus

    Provided valuable information

    Very useful information, especially the pointers to guidelines beyond the BCG Genealogy Standards.

    Welcome reminders about ethical responsibility in genealogy

    Well done, good reminders.

    What can I say!! Share and Share Alike the Rules of Genealogical Privacy by Judy Russell was Excellent!! A Must See for Everyone!! Great, great information just love Judy Russell.

    Wonderful presentation!

    The point was made about copyright laws in other countries. Is there a source that directs one to find this information?

    wonderful speaker. good informaiton

    Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

    Wow! That was a great presentation. Really got me thinking……..

    Wow! Knowledgeable, engaging delivery. I learned so much.


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