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Member Since 10 Dec 2011
Offline Last Active Sep 19 2016 11:14 AM

Topics I've Started

To publish or not publish information about living persons

15 September 2016 - 09:06 AM

I'm looking for guidance to help our reunion committee, with respect to publishing a history and genealogy that includes 10,000 people. The book will be published in both a printed and digital form, and sold at a price that covers our costs. We could donate copies to certain archives, libraries, and museums.


I think it's insensitive, unethical and possibly illegal to publish birth dates, birth locations, marriage dates, and marriage locations of our living cousins without expressed consent from each individual. Informed consent from young children is impossible. Not everyone on our committee agrees with me.


We're in Canada, and our book would mainly include living cousins in Canada and the US. In Canada, from a legal perspective, I'm concerned about federal and provincial P.I.P.E.D. Acts as well as the possibility of civil litigation for publishing personal information without consent. Of course, I'm also concerned about good etiquette and respect for the privacy and security of our cousins. 


This morning I found a post on another RM forum that says "As genealogists we know your name, date of birth, spouse name and a bunch of other information including mothers maiden name is considered public record." That surprised me and I wonder if it's true in Canada and the US. This might deflate my argument in favour of privatizing before publishing. 


Can anyone suggest links where I can find reliable information about our legal responsibilities to protect birth and marriage information?


I also welcome your own thoughts about the ethics of listing birthdates and marriage dates in our book without permission of each person listed.