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“Privacy Issues with Online Trees” by E. Randol Schoenberg

  • 28 Aug 2022
  • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • From the convenience of your home device.


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E. Randol Schoenberg to discuss legal issues of online family trees for the Aug. 28 JGSI meeting 

“Privacy Issues with Online Trees” is the title of a presentation by genealogist and attorney E. Randol Schoenberg for the Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois at 2 p.m. CDT. Register/RSVP by clicking the button at left.

The talk reviews the legal issues with regard to online publication of genealogical information, and discusses the rules imposed by various online genealogy platforms. Randol will demonstrate that mostly what we call the right to privacy has little or nothing to do with what we do as genealogists. “Regular genealogical data regarding name, date and location of birth, marriage and death, the names of parents, siblings, spouses and children should seldom give rise to any claim for invasion of privacy, since these facts are usually not private, but are known by a wide range of people, and further are not offensive or objectionable to a reasonable person,” Randol said.

Among the questions he will consider are: Do the deceased have privacy rights? And if so, how are they protected? He will also explain how companies such as Ancestry, MyHeritage and Geni have developed privacy standards, not as a result of legal requirements, but as a marketing strategy.

E. Randol Schoenberg is an attorney known for his work recovering Nazi-looted artworks, as portrayed in the 2015 film “Woman in Gold.” Schoenberg graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor of arts in mathematics and a certificate in European cultural studies, and received his juris doctor degree from the University of Southern California. He is a board member of JewishGen.org, a volunteer curator for Geni.com, and the founder of the Jewish Genealogy Portal on Facebook. Schoenberg is currently working on a new documentary film, “Finding Fioretta” due in 2023, in which he traces his family back 500 years to the beginning of the ghetto in Venice, Italy.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. JGSI is a resource for the worldwide Jewish community to research their Chicago-area roots. The JGSI motto is “Members Helping Members Since 1981.” The group has more than 320 members and is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 75 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations, monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more.

Members as well as non-members can look for their ancestors on the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database.

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JGSI is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.