I have been researching my family tree for 15 yrs, preinternet it was very difficult to trace ones family tree, many hours have gone into gathering the information that I have about my ancestors. When I starting using the internet for family history I was able to solve some of the dead ends that I had come across.
Sadly, there are people out there that abuse our research. A few years ago I had a real problem with someone who had 'mined' all my research, I was stupid enough to allow him to see my tree after he had claimed that we had a link. And through answering his questions he was able to obtain information about my immediate family. When I contacted him requesting that he not display my personal information on a particular site, he sent me a very rude reply and refused to delete the information. Not only that, he had also incorrectly displayed some of my ancestor details.
In the end I contacted the internet site provider and I belive they deleted him. Yesterday I joined this family tree site. I only added myself and 3 generations of information, tday I have had an emal telling me that my names matched some added to this site by another researcher. That included myself!! It is the ssame person that I had problems with a few years ago. He has NOT had my permission to share my personal information with anyone. I am very cross that I have found his still doing this. I belive that if you share information with others you firstly should consider whether you are going to tell them about living relations, I have been told that it is actually illegal for you to share information or display it on these sites without their permission. Secondly if you do share this information, ask them not to share information about living people on public sites.
It is frustrating to see ones research hijacked, It is annoying to find tat someone is sharing incorrect information about your research. And in this day and age with banking security in mind, it is worrying that someone can spread information about yourself on public sites.
As far as I know I have now removed my family trees from all the family history sites that I have joined. It destroys the fun of family history. I have contacted the site owners, whom I hope will takethis matter seriously.
In spite of the fact that it came at an unfortunate cost to you and your genealogy research, I think it is incredibly valuable to others who are researching their family history to hear stories like yours as well.
You are correct in saying that it is important to try to be as aware as possible how and with whom you share information.
It goes without saying that there are people who may take advantage of a kind heart who wishes to help others, although there are thousands of people who successfully collaborate with each other every day at MyHeritage.
I hear really amazing stories from members all the time. I am sure you have some too.
At MyHeritage we understand that privacy is very important to our members. For example, as XXX mentioned in his post, guests cannot see first names or details about people marked as living in your family tree.
This is the default setting for every family site.You don't need to set any special privacy settings to activate this feature.
You can also make your site completely private as you mentioned you preferred to do. If you would like to turn off SmartMatching for any of your family trees, you can do so by clicking on Family Tree > Manage Trees and clicking EDIT next to the tree.
I'm sorry you had a troubling experience and that you had to relive it here at MyHeritage. I'll be happy to help you with any questions or comments you may have.
sorry to hear of your problems. One thing that this site does well is that you can set living relatives to be private, so it will just list their last names, and nothing else. That protects the identity of those who could be hurt by its misuse, while allowing the sharing of distant relatives which makes these sites thrive.