Cautions of the Social Networks

Recently while I was on Facebook, I decided to see what genealogy data I could find about shirt-tail relatives. By shirt-tail, I mean 3rd or 4th cousins or those people that are in my family tree but I don’t have any contact with. I must say I was surprised by the good data that I found. In one case, a lady had her birth date and the birth dates of her husband and two small children, ages 7 and 9. In another case, one young man had about 25 photos posted and in all the photos he had a beer in his hand. Another lady had her birth date and place posted and she had a link to another social website where she had photos of her daughter now 2 year old daughter from her birth to the present. She also had postings about her divorce that were very personal. Some people didn’t have a birth date listed but had when they graduated from High School (just subtract 18 years and you have an approximate birth year). A lot of the genealogical data that I found is not the kind of things that should be posted for all the world to see. On Facebook, the original settings were to make everything available to everyone. A better idea is to go into “Accounts” and change “Privacy Settings” so that all or most data is available to just your “Friends.” The same on those other Social Networking  sites like MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Also, hopefully you review your friend requests before adding them to your “Friends” list.