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7. The Drive for Youthfulness Even Extends to the Grave - Our modern culture tends to put a heavy emphasis on youth. Historically, this is the exact opposite of most cultures, which tended to celebrate old age. Traditionally, it was considered to be a significant accomplishment to be able to grow old gracefully. The article Obituary Photos are Getting Younger discusses this interesting genealogy trend.

6. The Downside of Genetic Genealogy Tests – Germany has become the first nation to ban genetic genealogy tests. The blanket bank was enacted mainly to prevent ‘unauthorized’ DNA paternity tests. However, the ban will affect all genetic genealogy tests as described in the article Germany Bans Genetic Genealogy Tests. At the end of the day, it comes down to a trade-off between privacy, an individual’s right to know and the need for the state to assign a father to every child.

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5. Europe Remains at the Forefront of Genealogy Privacy – Regulators in Europe were the first to put a shot across the bow of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace who had proven themselves good at collecting personal information but not-so-good at protecting it. The most blatant violations according to European privacy regulators were genealogy applications on social networking sites. As described in Europe Demands Privacy Standards for Social Networking Sites, some online genealogy applications tend to be heavy on personal information and light on privacy controls.

4. Why Your Ancestors Kept Changing Their Name – As any genealogist knows, one of the most challenging aspects of researching your ancestors is dealing with spelling variations of family names. Many people, if they go back far enough, find that family names have morphed into different forms. There may be good reasons for this, particularly if your ancestors emigrated to another country. As described in the article Why Immigrants Change Their Name, in many circumstances a strong economic case can be made for why your ancestors may have changed their name.

3. Facebook and Privacy – In 2009, Facebook became the leading social network site. Facebook is very popular with genealogists. The genealogy application called We’re Related has millions of users and is one of the top applications on Facebook. In the spring of this year, privacy concerns were raised about Facebook (see Privacy Fears Raised Over Genealogy Application on Facebook). The heat was turned up in the summer when regulators started to ask pointed questions about privacy on Facebook (see Regulator Finds Facebook has Serious Privacy Gaps). The biggest concerns were directed at genealogy applications on Facebook. Finally, this fall Facebook realized that they needed to seriously upgrade their privacy controls (see the article Facebook Announces Tighter Privacy Standards) or face further censure. Even Google recognized they needed to improve their privacy standards, as discussed in the article Google Ads New Privacy Tools: Implications for Genealogy.

 

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