The overall winners of 2018

So, putting the top DNA posts of 2018 aside after last Sunday’s post, The Legal Genealogist continues the look back at this crazy tumultuous year with a review of the top posts overall from all of 2018.

There are some interesting choices here, judged solely by the amount of reader attention they drew. And this blog’s readers are an eclectic bunch! The top posts (DNA excluded) focused on just about everything from trying our best to understand a new European Union privacy rule to copyright issues, including one huge infringement of the rights of Find A Grave contributors.

Top posts overall

So… without further ado … the top reader choices for general posts for the year 2018:

The casualties of GDPR (May 20)
“The mandates of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) take effect in just five days, on May 25, and those who — like The Legal Genealogist — provide information to people around the world including within the EU are scrambling to decide how — or whether — to comply.”

NY’s black hole gets blacker (March 8)
“New York has always been the Black Hole of northeastern genealogy in the United States. Between records that were never created in the first place and records that have been lost over the years, research in New York can be a challenge and a half. And the darkness is about to get a little deeper in New York City.”

Ordering the SS-5: 2018 style (December 14)
“The issue came up again yesterday, at a talk with the Main Line Genealogy Club in Berwyn, Pennsylvania: just how can we get our hands on the form that was filed by a family member to get a Social Security number? It’s far from the first time this has been raised — that SS-5 form is a gem when we can get it — but every time it does come up, folks have a lot of questions about ordering the form, how to do it, and what the complications can be.”

One big step forward for Find A Grave (October 3)
“The debacle over the wholesale swiping of copyrighted photographs from Find A Grave by an upstart website called PeopleLegacy has sure taken some interesting twists. The problem began back in mid-September when — billing itself as “one of the largest online repositories for cemetery and grave records from all available historical sources” — PeopleLegacy launched into a firestorm of public criticism: clearly it had indulged itself in wholesale appropriation of user-uploaded images and information from FindAGrave.com.”

Put the cellphone down! (September 18)
“The rules of the conference were crystal clear: no photographing the slides without the express consent of the speaker (note: and this post intends no criticism at all of the conference or its organizers). The speaker in this particular lecture had made his own rules clear: one or two photos for social media were fine, but nothing more. He’d even gone so far as to put up a slide saying no photographing the slides. And yet, as The Legal Genealogist could see from a perch in the back of the room, there was that attendee, happily raising his cellphone and taking photos of the slides. Every single slide.”

The GDPR, you & me (May 21)
“Loyal readers of The Legal Genealogist, you’re going to get really tired of hearing about the GDPR this week. Just about every website you use, every list you’ve ever signed up for (including a whole bunch you’ve probably long forgotten) and every service you’ve ever used that has a web presence is going to be sending you one of those “We’ve Updated Our Privacy Rules” emails and asking you to do things because of the GDPR. And The Legal Genealogist, as a web information provider, is no exception.”

Using the Internet’s time machine (January 8)
“… the inability to access these pages is hampering us, right now, in a very real way. And that leaves us with only two choices, doesn’t it? We can sit around at 3 a.m. in our bunny slippers and curse the hackers who caused the data breach, the Ancestry security system that hasn’t figured out how to get the data back online safely yet, the fates and more. Or we can go back in time. Back to the time before the breach… when the data was available online.”

Chasing the SS-5 (April 2)
“… since many of the earliest participants in the Social Security program were born before widespread recordation of births became a requirement in many US states, getting this evidence of the identification of parents is often well worth the time, effort and money. But there are certainly times when it’s harder than it should be. Three recent reader questions point out the difficulties.”

Justice in Georgia (July 31)
“… although that list is now 160 years old, those of us researching in Georgia — where The Legal Genealogist will be speaking Saturday at the Augusta Genealogical Society’s Homecoming — know so very much about every one of those people whose names appear on that list. Because that list is the Grand Jury list for the Superior Court in Wilkes County, Georgia, for 7 June 1858.”

About that copyright notice (June 12)
“Reader Bruce Massof couldn’t understand it. He’s a user of the Newspapers.com website and has printed or downloaded articles from newspapers published before 1923. He knows darned good and well that 1923 is a key year in U.S. copyright law: anything legally published in the United States before 1923 is officially once and for all forever and ever amen out of copyright. And yet each of the pieces Bruce has printed or downloaded — even those published well before 1923 — comes with a notice at the bottom: ‘Copyright © 2018 Newspapers.com. All Rights Reserved.’”

On to 2019… with one last side trip to review this blog’s top 10 posts ever.

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