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January 2023 update is routine

Yes, Ancestry has once again updated its privacy rules.

No, it’s nothing to be concerned about.

With that — except for the worrywarts out there — The Legal Genealogist could conclude this blog post.

Ancestry banner 2023

If you’re not a worrywart, the rest is TL;DR.

If you are, essentially all that’s changed in the January 2023 update to Ancestry’s privacy statement is (a) moving away from the word “share” in talking about what is and isn’t provided by consumers to the company and by the company to anybody else and using the more accurate word “disclose” instead; and (2) some required language under some of the newer state privacy statutes.

Not one word of the entire privacy statement — other than the date and summary at the top — changes before section 15. That change says that Ancestry has added its operations limited partnership to those entities legally considered data controllers (the entities legally responsible for determining what gets done with personal data) and wants us to use that name — Ancestry Operations L.P. — if we send them correspondence by mail. That’s only a technical change in the privacy statement; the statement of corporate structure has said that for months.1

Section 16 is where the bulk of the changes are. That’s where the “disclose,” not “share,” or “disclosing,” not “sharing,” changes pop up. So it talks about information and content we “disclose to” Ancestry, rather than “share with” Ancestry and what Ancestry “discloses” about us to third parties, rather than “shares.”2

Subsection 16.5 makes it clear now that “Under the laws in certain US jurisdictions, you have the right to opt out of our sharing of your Personal Information for online targeted advertising purposes.” It tells us that “To change your preferences around targeted advertising, please visit our Do Not Sell or Share my Personal Information/Opt Out of Targeted Advertising page or the “Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information” link in the footer of some of our sites.”3

And it notes that: “Some browsers or plug-ins use a Global Privacy Control (GPC), which you can learn more about at If our site detects a GPC signal from your device, we will interpret it as a request to opt out of selling or sharing your Personal Information and to opt out of targeted advertising. If you opt out of targeted advertising via the GPC or the opt-out preference on the Do Not Sell or Share my Personal Information/Opt Out of Targeted Advertising page, we may still deliver advertising to you that is not tailored based on your Personal Information.”4

Subsection 16.6 clarifies some details about how to exercise some rights, particularly the right to correct any data Ancestry holds about us.5

And subsection 16.7 notes that: “Certain state laws allow you to opt out of the “sale” of your information to third parties in exchange for valuable consideration. Ancestry does not sell your Personal Information, and has not sold it in the 12 months prior to the effective date of this US Statement.To opt out of targeted advertising, please see Section 16.5.”6

And that’s it.

Worrywarts, stop worrying.

Seriously, there’s nothing to see here, folks… Move right along…

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Ancestry privacy update: no big deal,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 30 Jan 2023).


  1. §15, “Your Privacy,” effective 26 Jan 2023, ( : accessed 30 Jan 2023). Compare the corporate structure page here; it’s said the same thing since at least last October, according to this screen capture.
  2. Ibid., §16.
  3. Ibid., §16.5.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., §16.6 — and no, it doesn’t apply to corrections in family trees. Wouldn’t that be nice…
  6. Ibid., §16.7.
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