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The bull in the DNA china shop

Initial thoughts on the Golden State Killer case The past few days have been tough ones for those genealogists who — like The Legal Genealogist — love the ability to integrate DNA results into family history. It’s been even tougher for those of us...

Sometimes it gets it right

New AncestryDNA privacy setting Every time AncestryDNA changes something, the naysayers come out in force. Every. Single. Time. If it changes the way it reports something. If it changes its ethnicity results. If it changes its terms of service. And, now, that...

Don’t just take!!!

Ask before you use It’s come up yet again in our community and The Legal Genealogist is going to try, one more time (and as often as needed in the future) to get this straight. It’s generally not okay to take something we find online and simply use it. A...

Law and ethics at FGS

The 2017 Conference in Pittsburgh This week, hundreds of genealogists are descending on Pittsburgh for the 2017 conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. It gets underway Wednesday with Society Day plus an evening social event (what could be better than...

Ethical guidance

New code from IAJGS Genealogists deal with all kinds of family information each and every day. Including, of course, family secrets. Some of them are laughable to us today: the 18th century court record showing an ancestor getting into trouble or the 19th century...

APG updates ethics code

Solid guidance for genealogical pros… and consumers The Association of Professional Genealogists has long had a code of ethics to guide genealogical professionals and consumers through some of the murky waters of ethical issues underlying this field of ours. And...

The ethics of criticism

Being nice versus being right The genealogical community is a small one, as communities go. And, as with any small pond, something that makes waves is going to attract a lot more attention in our community than, say, even the largest-ever-built ocean liner would make...

Suggestion: opt out now

For privacy, this site’s not a good idea There’s a genealogy website out there called FamilyTreeNow that sounds really great. Its homepage says it has “one of the largest collections of genealogy records anywhere, and they’re all 100% free to...

The opt-in default

The default for living people It’s that time of year again, and The Legal Genealogist smiles to see all the family historians scurrying around trying to finish up research projects so they can publish family books as presents in this holiday season. Except that...

Before you gift

Think DNA ethics ‘Tis the season to be jolly… and to give gifts to family members and friends. For those who, like The Legal Genealogist, are fans of genetic genealogy, that may mean thinking about buying and giving DNA test kits to kith and kin this...