Be aware of one website that masquerades as a genealogy resource but instead provides a thoroughly creepy and in-depth listing of your personal information.
You can find a number of sites on the internet that offer to find personal information on just about anyone. Most of these sites provide minimal information without registering for an account and paying a fee.
Companies that run such sites scour thousands of public records to come up with a comprehensive listing on you. I think they must search social media as well given the breadth of what they find.
What’s Available On This Site?
Your listing may include not only your current name and address but also:
- All previous names you’ve used.
- All previous addresses you’ve ever used going back decades.
- Wireless and landline phone numbers you’ve used.
- Your age and year of birth.
- Names, ages and years of birth for family members and relatives as well as people the site thinks you’re associated with, such as friends and former girlfriends or boyfriends.
This post may contain affiliate links; please read my disclosure here.
Services such as Lexis-Nexis offer such records for a fee and can be useful for legitimate purposes such as law enforcement investigations. With FamilyTreeNow.com, however, you can bring up a large amount of information that otherwise would be a lot more difficult to find.
If this all sounds scary to you, it can be downright dangerous for people who don’t want their home addresses publicized, including police officers and abuse victims.
Is It Accurate?
My profile includes a bunch of different (often erroneous) variations of my name. The phone numbers listed are either very old or numbers I don’t recall ever having. The addresses are variations of nearly every address where I’ve lived, going back to my parents’ home where I lived a long time ago.
The list of relatives is fairly accurate, including their names and ages, except for one relation whose age and year of birth are correct, but he died over a decade ago.
The list of “possible associates” includes mostly people whose names I don’t recognize except for two in-laws.
Why Bother to Opt Out?
For me, it’s a matter of privacy. I know that this information on me is somehow available and that other sites have it for sale.
It’s just way too easy for anyone to look up this information on me and my family members on FamilyTreeNow. As a long-time genealogy researcher, I’d much prefer to use Ancestry.com or the free FamilySearch.org sites.
You can find some limited information on living people using Ancestry.com. However, this is presented via the actual records, such as marriage applications and U.S. Census records, rather than listing a bunch of compiled information that might or might not be accurate. Some elderly people might appear in the 1930 or 1940 U.S. Census if they were alive then.
How to Opt Out
Opting out of FamilyTreeNow doesn’t mean that you’re out of the woods as far as removing information about you from the internet. It’s a good start, but all of that information will still be out there somewhere.
This opt-out process will simply make it harder for people to pry into your past and present activities. Here’s how to do it.
Visit the FamilyTreeNow.com’s opt-out page.
You’ll see instructions which you should read over before starting, then click “I am not a robot” and press the Begin button.
Run a search for yourself, including your full name, city, and state.
After you find your listing, click on the Details button and make darn sure that the listing is yours. It won’t do you much good to opt out for someone with the same name and year of birth who isn’t you.
Click on the big red “Opt Out” button.
Your record should be removed from the site within 48 hours.