National Genealogical Society

References for Researching

Standards for Sharing Information with Others

Recommended by the National Genealogical Society

Conscious of the fact that sharing information or data with others, whether through speech, documents, or electronic media, is essential to family history research and that sharing needs continuing support and encouragement, responsible family historians consistently

  • respect the restrictions on sharing information that arise from the rights of another as an author, originator, or compiler; as a living private person; or as a party to a mutual agreement;

  • observe meticulously the legal rights of copyright owners, copying or distributing any part of their works only with their permission, or to the limited extent specifically allowed under the law's "fair use" exceptions;

  • identify the sources for all ideas, information and data from others, and the form in which they were received, recognizing that the unattributed use of another's intellectual work is plagiarism;

  • respect the authorship rights of senders of letters, electronic mail and data files, forwarding or disseminating them further only with the sender's permission;

  • inform persons who provide information about their families as to the ways it may be used, observing any conditions they impose and respecting any reservations they may express regarding the use of particular items;

  • require some evidence of consent before assuming that living people are agreeable to further sharing of information about themselves;

  • convey personal identifying information about living people—like age, home address, occupation, or activities—only in ways that those concerned have expressly agreed to;

  • recognize that legal rights of privacy may limit the extent to which information from publicly available sources may be further used, disseminated, or published;

  • communicate no information to others that is known to be false, or without making reasonable efforts to determine its truth, particularly information that may be derogatory;

  • are sensitive to the hurt that revelations of criminal, immoral, bizarre, or irresponsible behavior may bring to family members.

© 2000 by National Genealogical Society. Permission is granted to copy or publish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.

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