General Data Protection Regulation
Since 25 May 2018, any business, organisation or group holding personal information about living people in the UK or European Union (EU), must conform to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is to prevent misuse of personal data. According to the European Commission, personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address. The regulation applies if the data controller (an organization that collects data from EU residents), or processor (an organization that processes data on behalf of a data controller like cloud service providers), or the data subject (person) is based in the EU. Under certain circumstances, the regulation also applies to organizations based outside the EU if they collect or process personal data of individuals located inside the EU. Citizens have the right to access their personal data and have information about how this personal data is being processed.
This Raitt genealogy website contains information I have collected since 2009 about Raitt (and variations such as Rait, Reat etc) families. It started with my own family and ancestors and the families they married into, but has expanded to include many other Raitts and their families from Scotland, America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, India etc who are likely unrelated to me.
Now, during the time I have been finding out about and writing up the family history of my own and other Raitts I have, of course, acquired a certain amount of information about some living people, as well as those deceased, through my research. It may be worth saying how I come by that information, how I store it, and how I share it.
How and where I find the information?
I generally come across this information in several ways:
From family history and genealogy database websites (such as ScotlandsPeople, Ancestry, FamilySearch, Find My Past, My Heritage and similar). These sites contain data sets which will sometimes contain details about living people (such as births, marriages, census records). These details are extracted from the official registries of a given country or state. Such information provided by these sites may be under review because of the GDPR.
It is information in the public domain which I have found on the web, in old books and manuscripts, in newspapers and the like. Examples are birth, marriage and death notices, obituaries, reports of news events, military service, advertisements, photos etc.
People have contacted me by e-mail via the Raitt website or through the page on FaceBook or by sending me a message on Ancestry or similar and asked for help in tracing their Raitt ancestors. In the course of this, they will have told me things about themselves and their immediate family in order for me to start the search. They may also have sent me photos of family members.
What I do with this information
The BMD dates and places, augmented by census data and anything else I can find or come across or have been told, that pertain to my own family and ancestors I add into the Raitt master file on my computer, as well as to the Raitt website. This file also contains similar details about other Raitts and their families who are not my own relatives - details either found by me or supplied to me by members of the those families. This is done in order to build up a picture of the population of people carrying the Raitt name, to establish their relationships (i.e construct family trees), and to help people find out their Scottish Raitt ancestors. I have not been entirely consistent with adding such (non-direct relatives to me) names to my computer file, but they are given on the Raitt website in an attempt to provide completeness and a link from present day families back to ancestors and vice-versa.
I usually use the information found or obtained or sent to me to construct a history or story of a particular Raitt family on the website often on their own page (see the Site Map). I also occasionally turn some interesting snippet into a Blog entry or Raitt Anecdote, though these are not normally about living people.
The information included on the Raitt website regarding living people is primarily their name and where known also their date and place of birth and marriage and sometimes the same for their spouse and offspring if also known. This information is, of course, normally in the public domain (by virtue of being included in official BMD registries), and some details have been provided to me by members of their families. Obviously the person who has written to me knows that they have shared the information, but the people they have mentioned may not necessarily know, if they are still alive. The website also has some photographs of living people identified by name only on the page. These will usually have been sent to me by family members or posted somewhere online (e.g. FaceBook).
I normally keep e-mails (which, besides names and dates, may also contain a family tree, photos, document etc) sent to me on my computer so that I can refer back to them if necessary. My computer is secure and I always logout after using my e-mail program. Messages send to me via FaceBook Messenger or posted on the Raitt Family Genealogy page on FaceBook are stored on that system - though I may copy the information into a document on my computer for convenience.
How I share the information
First and foremost, the information I have researched about a Raitt family is written up and added to the Raitt website. The website is hosted on the web by One.com (which has just issued lengthy guidelines for its customers regarding the GDPR) and is thus in the public domain and accessible by anyone searching under the name Raitt (or its variations) as well as any individual connected in some way to a Raitt. However, no-one, except me, is able to add to, delete or modify the information on the website. None of the non-tree information included on the website (or in my master file) is shared with or sold to third parties. However, the Raitt website is picked up by web crawlers and archived on the Wayback Machine and the UK Web Archive of the British Library.
As noted above, many Raitts (the vast majority of whom are dead) are included in the Raitt master file on my computer. The program I still use is for this is the out-of-date Personal Ancestry File (from Family Search) which is useful for creating the family trees which are included on the website.
However, I have recently uploaded all the names I had in my master file (which does include living people, but as I noted earlier does not include all the more recent unrelated families I have added to the website, although it does include some of the older unrelated ones) in one vast Raitt family tree to several genealogy websites such as Ancestry, Find My Past, My Heritage, Family Tree, Family Search, Genes Reunited, and GedMatch. This was done in order to make the names available to a wider Raitt-related audience as well as to have matches thrown up with other people’s trees. This in itself has resulted in several people contacting me to find out more about their family as well as my own. The tree gives the names of individuals together with BMD dates and places of them, their spouses, ancestors and descendants all if and where known. It does not give any other personal information.
Since it would take quite some time to update all these sites with all the new names and families I add to the website, then I plan to just update the tree on Ancestry as well as my computer for the families already on it. I may get around to adding all the other Raitt families on the website that are not included in the tree at present to my computer file and Ancestry even though they are not all related to other Raitts. This is a long term project, though! No-one, except me, is permitted to make changes to the Raitt family tree put up on these sites.
Although I freely share information and records about deceased people with individuals who legitimately enquire about their Raitt family history, I do not divulge information I hold on any living person, unless that information is already in the public domain or that person has given me permission to share specified information. If I am asked for contact details of a living person, then I do not supply them. Instead, I either ask the enquirer if they agree to me forwarding on their own contact details, or ask the other party whether I can put them in contact with the enquirer, and do that when permission is given.
I do not require or request payment for finding out about Raitt families for people. My website does not have advertisements. I do not maintain any kind of mailing list.
Rights of individuals
I recognize that living people included on the Raitt website or in the Raitt family tree that I have uploaded to the various family history sites have the right to ask me to have their information corrected, and/or expanded, and/or deleted. Indeed, as I have always stressed when informing people of the updates I have made to the website, I welcome any corrections or additions to the material I have provided. And, of course, living people can always ask me to add to or modify the details I may have about their ancestors if what I have written is erroneous.
I hope this clarifies the General Data Protection Law regarding personal data for living persons and I trust that my approach to creating and maintaining the Raitt website is both satisfactory and and acceptable.