Privacy and Our Ancestors

Privacy and Our Ancestors

Summary Details

Length: 60 minutes

Summary: In this session attendees will gain a better understanding of how the concept of privacy has evolved in the United States over the past 200+ years and the impact on access to information about our ancestors for genealogy research purposes.

Description:  With all the news about privacy, identity theft and the role of access to vital records, have you ever considered that in 2014 most of us (at least here in the United States) have more privacy than our ancestors? As a result of living in the a digital age ruled by the Internet and social media, is there really less privacy than in prior years? In fact, the reverse is true. Learn what type of information about your ancestors was public and how to find it!

Audience Level: Beginner

Requirements: Projection for laptop/netbook computer on large screen; internet connection – wired or wireless (preferred in order to show live websites and resources).

Content: 6 page handout


  • The Concept of Privacy
  • How Did Our Ancestors Live?
  • Public Knowledge Then vs. Now
    • Newspaper Columns
    • Directory Listings
    • Hotel Visitors
    • Hospital Visits
    • Marital Problems
    • Mailbox Contents
    • Other Sources of Information
  • Modern Views on Privacy
  • Privacy and Genealogy Best Practices
  • Glossary
  • Links

©2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee


One Response

Comments are closed.