- Who can see my DNA results?
Your DNA results are viewable to you, and also to your DNA relatives if you have opted in to seeing and being seen by them. Also, your DNA relatives will see your common ethnicity or your whole ethnicity estimate if you choose. Please note that your DNA relatives are Ancestry users that we believe are related to you. When you decide to see your relatives through AncestryDNA, your information will also be viewable to them. You should know that you might find a long-lost relative or you might find relatives that you did not know about or that are surprising to you. You could also find that someone you thought was related to you is, in fact, not. These aspects of DNA testing are all part of what makes us human, although some may challenge our visions of ourselves.
- Can Ancestry users contact each other?
It is important to us that you feel safe communicating with other members of the Ancestry Community, so we’ve created an online messaging service that lets our users contact each other anonymously. When another user sends you a message, you’ll receive an alert in your Ancestry inbox and an email. You can respond through the Ancestry website without sharing any personal contact information with the sender (except your username). Ancestry stores these messages as described in our Privacy Statement.
You can also choose not to communicate with anyone or block specific users. To update your contact preferences, click on your username in the upper right corner and select Site Preferences.
- Can other Ancestry users see my activity on Ancestry?
When you participate in the Ancestry Community, you may interact with people across the globe who are members of one of several Ancestry websites (including sites such as Ancestry.co.uk and Ancestry.ca). Here’s how they can view your activity:
Member Connect Activity
Our Member Connect service helps you discover other users who are researching the same family lines. When you connect with other users, they can see these research activities:
- Things you publicly add or post to the site. This includes information on deceased individuals in your public member tree, message board postings, or other publicly posted content.
- Personal research activities. This includes records you save to a private member tree (without sharing information from your tree) as well as records you save to your Shoebox.
To change these settings, go to Activity Preferences.
If your tree is public, other users can view all content in your tree except information about living people and notes. Other users can also see your username or full name depending on your account settings. See Privacy for Your Family Tree for more information.
Anything you post on message boards is public. If you ever have a concern about what is being shared, you can contact a Message Board Administrator at email@example.com.
- What's the difference between public, private, and unindexed trees?
When you create or upload a tree to the Ancestry Community you can determine whether it is public, private, or unindexed. By default, your tree will be public, because we believe that this will better help you find family members and share your family history. You can change this setting any time to a more private option by clicking “Trees,” choosing a family tree, and then selecting “Tree Settings”. When you change your public tree to “private” or “unindexed,” other users may continue to see your tree until we can complete your request, but they cannot access any record or document from your tree without your authorization.
If your tree is public:
Other users can view all content in your tree except information about living people and notes. Other users can also see your username or full name depending on your account settings.
If your tree is private:
Other users cannot view the contents of your tree. However, limited information about deceased individuals in your tree (name, birth year, birthplace, and any documents you upload) will appear in search results within Ancestry Community sites. For example, if you upload a picture of a deceased family member to a private tree - while no one can view that picture from your private tree, search results for that individual might show limited information for the uploaded photograph (such as the name of the picture and the ancestor the image is tied to). If the searching party then tried to view the photograph from the search, the site would tell them that the image is in a private tree and that they would have to contact that user directly to view it. A user could then contact you anonymously through the Ancestry messaging service, and you can decide whether or not to respond or give them access.
If your tree is unindexed (hidden):
Other users cannot view the contents of your tree and its contents will not appear in search results within the Ancestry Community. For example, no information about a document uploaded to your unindexed Private tree would show in a search. You can change your Private tree to an unindexed Privacy by clicking “Trees,” choosing a family tree, and then selecting “Tree Settings”. On the “Privacy Settings” tab select the “Also prevent your tree from being found in searches” checkbox.
- What happens when I share my tree?
You can invite friends and family members to view and collaborate on your tree using their email addresses or Ancestry usernames. To invite someone to your tree, select the tree from the “Trees” button at the top of any Ancestry page, then choose “Share your tree” and follow instructions on how to share. You can assign each person one of these roles:
Regardless of the role you assign, no one else can delete or rename your tree, change tree settings, or invite others to view your tree. And you can change who can see living individuals at any time. Please note that you are responsible for ensuring that the living people in the tree that you want to share have consented to have their information shared.
If necessary, you can revoke someone’s invitation to view your tree. To do this, select your family tree from the “Trees” button at the top of any Ancestry page, then choose “Sharing”. Then simply click the “Remove” link next to the appropriate individual.
- Who can comment on my tree?
If your tree is public, other users can comment on your tree; if your tree is private, invitees can leave comments. As the owner of the tree, you can see who submitted the comment (their name or username) and message them. For inappropriate comments, you can flag or hide the comment.
- Who can edit content in family trees?
You control the content in your tree. You can update or delete facts and photos or change the content at any time. However, once something has been added to a public tree, the content may be copied and re-posted. If you delete an item in your tree, it may still be displayed in another user’s tree. Because of this, we encourage you to think carefully about what you post and share within the Ancestry Community.
If you have a concern about information that someone has posted about you or a living family member please contact Member Services.
- Do I get credit for the content I post?
Because Ancestry encourages our users to share their family history discoveries, we want you to get acknowledgment for what you share. Whenever you post a photo, story, comment, or message board post to the Ancestry Community, it will be linked to your profile. That way you receive credit for your work and other researchers know whom to contact for additional information.
Remember that information you post within the Ancestry Community may become public to other users (depending on your privacy settings). This means that other users can copy and use the information you provide. If another user updates a person in their tree based on what you have shared in your tree, the information will include a source indicating that the information is from your tree. If they add a photo or story from your tree, it will show you as the original contributor. Although you may receive credit for your contributions, you don’t have total control over what others may do with the content you share.
Remember, you are responsible for what you post on the site. Anything you post should be something you have permission to use (see the Ancestry Terms and Conditions for more details). You should also avoid posting content that could be offensive to other users (such as anything obscene, indecent, defamatory, or that incites hatred of any kind).
- How do Facebook and Ancestry work together?
With your permission, Ancestry can use your Facebook account to enhance your experience on the Ancestry website(s). You can save time by signing into Ancestry using your Facebook login.
Signing in to Ancestry using your Facebook account
If you don’t want to remember another username and password, you can sign in to Ancestry using your Facebook login. (You can still sign in using your Ancestry username and password; this just gives you an additional option.) Facebook will ask you to verify that they have your permission to share certain information with Ancestry. Using your Facebook credentials to login won’t share your Ancestry account information with Facebook, and we won't post anything to your Facebook wall or contact your Facebook friends without your permission.
You can disconnect your Ancestry account from Facebook at any time. To do this, go to Site Preferences and click “Disconnect from Facebook” in the right column under “Facebook Connect.”
Adding information from Facebook to your family tree
You can use your Facebook account information to build a new family tree or to update a tree you already have.
We respect Facebook profile settings and will only access the information from your Facebook account that they tell you about or you have given us permission to access. We will also ask you to confirm all the information we access before including it into your family tree. Also, we won't post anything to your Facebook wall or contact any of your Facebook friends unless you permit us to do so. Be aware that when you use Facebook information in your family tree, you are explicitly granting Ancestry permission to retain and use that information in accordance with the Ancestry Terms and Conditions and Privacy Statement.
- Does Ancestry respond to law enforcement requests?
For all requests, Ancestry requires valid legal process in writing before producing any personal information about our users. We publish an annual transparency report describing requests we received. When we receive a request, our team reviews it for compliance with legal requirements and our policies. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it. We notify users prior to turning over any information in order to give them an opportunity to challenge the request unless it would be counterproductive or we are legally prevented from doing so.