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Friday, May 25, 2018

GDPR Challenges for Non-Profits

As a genealogist and an information junkie, I read quite a few genealogy blogs, belong to quite a few genealogy Facebook groups, have a lot of genealogy friends on Facebook and follow a lot of genealogists on Twitter. (Remember, I am an information junkie!) Thus, I have encountered quite a few discussions of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Based on what others - especially the Legal Genealogist - have written, I have tried to understand the GDPR and to implement changes to my blogs and my website. As a volunteer for the Nemaha County Historical Society, I have also tried to inform their board about the GDPR and help them implement changes.

One of the challenges was guidelines on what the historical society needed to do. Other than the genealogy related blog posts, there wasn't an organization or government site providing help for non-profits. When guidance was sought from statewide organizations, the responses received were not as informative as the genealogy blog posts. One response was also somewhat misleading in that it implied that 'it was unrealistic' to expect the society to be in compliant by today. (The regulation was passed 2 years ago.)

Another challenge involves the society's email. The society is located in Seneca, Kansas. Seneca is blessed to have several Internet providers -- including local providers. Almost all of those providers include an email address hosted by the provider. Many users, including the historical society,  utilize that email address. It is doubtful that these local providers have the resources to become compliant with GDPR.

The third challenge is ignorance on the part of U.S. based companies. One vendor that the historical society works with indicated that they did not fall under the GDPR requirements since they did not have 250 employees. If this is true, then why are so many genealogists (and other bloggers) working so hard to learn about GDPR and to implement changes in their blogs, newsletters and websites? The answer to the question is that YES, the GDPR applies to anyone who has dealings with citizens of the European Union. The following articles by Sophos and Forbes magazine speak to this.
Not only could the Nemaha County Historical Society be impacted by the GDPR but also area businesses. Even though we are a small Kansas town or county, there are businesses in the county with global markets. Below are examples of how local entities might fall under the GDPR requirements:
  • Have a website or blog that tracks how many people visit the site or blog (the tracking involves the use of cookies, thus a 'cookie notice' should be on the site/blog)
  • Send out an electronic newsletter where a recipient of that newsletter is a citizen of the European Union
  • Have a name and email address for someone from a European Union country in a contact list
  • Maintain any personal data (name, address, email address, etc.) in a database for anyone from a European Union country -- This could directly impact schools that have foreign exchange students from a European Union country!
Whether this European regulation applies to U.S. based businesses and organizations will ultimately be decided in court. Until then figuring out and implementing what is required by the GDPR is less costly than a potential fine.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

GDPR - Why Should I Care?

During the last month - and especially the last week - there has been a lot of discussion in the online genealogy community about the European Union's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). I didn't pay much attention at first. After all, it is a European Union regulation and I live in Kansas. As the discussion became more frequent, I began paying attention.


So, should I care?

One blogger made the comment that as a citizen of the United States, he didn't see how we could be subject to any fines imposed by the European Union in regards to GDPR.

I don't earn money from my blogs. Nor, do I have 'subscribers' to my blogs. Thus, it would be easy to take the attitude that the GDPR doesn't apply, especially for those of us living in small town America.

As I read more and more about the issue for bloggers, I realized that I should pay attention and try to be compliant.

So, Why Care?

Even though I live in Kansas, I have done research for people from Europe - particularly as a volunteer for the Nemaha County Historical Society.  I often included a link to a Nemaha County page on my personal website with their research report. Thus, it would be fairly safe to conclude that both the historical society's website and my personal website are visited by people from Europe.

With the potential for a citizen of the European Union to visit my website or one of my blogs and with the potential heavy fines,

I have elected to care.








Tuesday, May 22, 2018

GDPR Part 2

I'm working my way thru GDPR and my various blogs and websites. In the process, I'm having to learn more about how these free sites (Wordpress.com and Google) work.

One of the first things I did today was to search my email for GDPR and search again for action required. This was so that I could opt in to the various email lists to which I subscribe. At this point, I don't think I've received emails from all of my lists. Thus, I will be repeating this step in the days to come.

The second task on my "GDPR TO DO" list was to create a page for my privacy policy on my blogspot.com blogs (Heartland Genealogy: Developing Skills and Nemaha Tales) and then to actually write a policy. For the most part, I copied my privacy policy from my Wordpress blog and modified it for the Google aspects of a blogspot.com blog versus a Wordpress.com blog. I ran into a 'stumbling block' in that my new page wasn't showing on my blog -- even though I had published it. To get the page to be viewable, I had to modify my layout. I elected to add a 'Pages' widget below the header. Thru the widget, I was able to put a check mark by the Privacy page to create a link to it on the blog.

My next task was to continue working on my Google site, Heartland Genealogy. Previously, I had played around with converting my classic site to a 'new' Google site. However, I hadn't actually published the new site. I elected to go ahead and convert my site to the new site in hopes that the 'new' Google sites will incorporate whatever tools Google provides for GDPR. I also felt like the new site was more mobile friendly than the 'classic' site. However, I miss the ability to 'manage' the site!

I copied the text for my privacy page from my blog and pasted it into a new privacy page. I had to edit the cookie info since the site notice is currently missing.

I want to thank The Legal Genealogist for all of her posts on GDPR. Her blogpost, "The GDPR, You and Me" has been most helpful in getting thru these tasks!


Monday, May 21, 2018

Challenge of GDPR

I'm a 'sometimes' blogger -- with several blogs and websites from Kansas. Being a 'sometimes' blogger means that I blog or add to a website when I have something I want to share. Even though I try to follow laws and regulations affecting the Internet, I tend to focus on Kansas issues. Thus, I was vaguely aware of privacy regulations in Europe but I didn't really pay attention to them. Let's face it, I didn't think they applied to me -- until about 2 weeks ago when discussion of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) began appearing in Facebook genealogy groups.

Since that time, I've been trying to figure out what I have to do to be compliant! Even though I can usually find the information I want thru Google, figuring out how to be GDPR compliant hasn't been easy. Instead of trying to find information thru Google, I resorted to the forum for Wordpress and the Site Help menu for my Google Site. I'm still working on this blog which is hosted on Blogger.com. According to info on the settings, a Cookie notice should appear automatically -- but it doesn't.

So what have I accomplished? Cookie banners! Yes, I now have a 'Cookie' notice on my Wordpress blog, Heartland Genealogy and on my Heartland Genealogy Google Site.

Buried somewhere in the Wordpress.com forum's post about GDPR was info about the widget, EU Cookie Law. Once I found out about this widget, it was easily installed (Appearance --> Widgets) and it works!


Getting a notice on my Google site was almost as easy. In Sites Help, I found a response to someone else's question that suggested using the 'site notice' feature to add a Cookie Notice.
Armed with that suggestion and suggested text for the notice, I was able to get a Cookie notice added to my Heartland Genealogy Google site.


According to my admin page for this blogger blog, there should be a notice when others access this blog.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to verify that it works. After following the 'Learn More' link, I found that in order to view the cookie notice, I have to access my blog as if it were in a European country.


Once I changed the URL to end in .fr instead of .com, the Cookie Notice appeared! Thanks Blogger!




I've worked on a 'privacy' page for my Heartland Genealogy blog. Even though I've published it, I realize it needs improved! I still need to post a privacy page on my other blogs and on my Google Site.

I may also have to convert my google site to the newer version in order to be compliant with the GDPR.

My next step is to figure out what to do about comments. At this time, I don't have an answer. However, based on what I've read on these support sites, I believe all three companies will be providing the tools necessary for my blogs and website to be compliant with GDPR.

I would love to hear from other bloggers and web site owners about how they are working thru these issues!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ancestry Hints: Public vs Private Tree

I'm writing in response to Russ Worthington's comment on the Genea-Musing's blog post,
When Did Ancestry.com Last Index Ancestry Member Trees? In the comment, Russ brings up the issue of hints not showing. Since I haven't noticed an issue with 'missing' hints on my un-indexed tree, Russ's post made me question whether I was indeed missing hints. However, I did notice one difference between my tree and Russ's experiment. I work with a public tree and Russ' test was with a private tree.

Thus, I wanted to know whether public trees produced hints when the tree lacked Ancestry sources. Thus, I needed a public tree (small) without Ancestry sources. Since I've been searching for Judson Crawford to see if my tree was indexed, I decided to create a small public tree on Ancestry for Judson Crawford, his wife, children and parents. 

My first attempt at creating the tree was to drag Judson and his family into a new tree. When I tried to use TreeShare with this new tree, I did not get the option to upload the tree. Instead this small tree was connecting to my large tree on Ancestry.

For my second attempt, I created a Gedcom for Judson and his family. I then imported that gedcom into a new RootsMagic file. Again, I couldn't use TreeShare to upload this tree to Ancestry. 

On the third try, I uploaded the previously created Gedcom to Ancestry. I then used TreeShare to download that tree into RootsMagic. [JudsonTrial2]

Lightbulbs started appearing in the RootsMagic tree shortly after the download completed.






On Ancestry, those same individuals with light bulbs in RootsMagic had hints in Ancestry.



Based on this experience, I would conclude that there might be a difference between private and public trees in the way hints are populated. Unfortunately, the public/private tree status was not the only variable in our two experiments. Russ uploaded his data from his software to Ancestry and I downloaded my experimental tree from Ancestry to my software. In addition, I'm using RootsMagic while Russ is using FamilyTree Maker. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Narrative Report Success!

Thanks to the help of users on the RootsMagic Discussion Forum, I have figured out some of my issues with my narrative report and learned a formatting trick.

One of my issues was with the first letter of a few sentences not being capitalized. When I looked at the sentence structure for these facts, I discovered that the 'person' field wasn't capitalized in the template:
[person] lived< [PlaceDetails:Plain]>< [Place]>< [Date]>.
When I capitalized the 'Person' field, then the sentence began with a capital letter in the narrative report.

According to the forum discussion, the capitalization of the 'person' field should not affect the sentences. Thus, I didn't go thru my various fact types and change all of the [person] fields to [Person]. I'm guessing that I did something to the sentence structure for these few sentences that kept them from formatting correctly. Since my 'work-around' (capitalizing the 'person' field in the template) is working, I'm not going to worry about the 'why' for now.

Another of my issues was spacing between sentences. In most cases, the report was putting one space between the superscripted footnote number and the start of the next sentence. However, in some cases, it was putting two spaces. I verified this inconsistency by opening the report in Word and using the OPTION to DISPLAY the formatting marks (spaces, paragraph returns, etc.). Once I verified the existence of the extra space, I was able to look at the sentence structure for that particular fact. I discovered that in the process of customizing the sentence structure, I had inadvertantly put in a blank space at the beginning of the sentence.


The formatting trick that I learned involved the creation of paragraphs. I played around with adding carriage returns to the beginning of a sentence where I wanted a new paragraph. This method worked but when there are a lot of facts, it would be difficult to figure out where these returns were without studying a narrative report.

Thus, I decided to try using the Paragraph fact type. I created a new fact type called Paragraph. For now, I have only selected to use this fact in Gedcom and Narrative Reports.

Once I had the fact type created, I just had to create Paragraph facts with sort dates to place the paragraph return where desired in the list of facts.
For me, the addition of blank space in my list of facts is a visual reminder of where the paragraphs are breaking. After inserting the paragraph facts, I was able to print a narrative report, save it as an RTF file, open in Word, copy and paste into my Family Tales Blog.

Eugene David Crawford



Monday, January 1, 2018

Narrative Report Questions

As a former user of The Master Genealogist, I expect my current genealogy software to take the sentences created by each event and build a narration for an individual's life. Unfortunately, I still have a lot to learn about the way RootsMagic builds the narrative report.

Thanks to information posted in the RootsMagic Community Forum, I did figure out how to create paragraphs (i.e. some white space). I elected to customize the sentence where I wanted a new paragraph by adding two carriage returns at the beginning of the sentence. Those two carriage returns create a blank line before the sentence.


Now, I need to figure out how to resolve several other issues:
  • The first letter is not capitalized for some sentences (see second paragraph above)
  • In many cases, there doesn't appear to be a space between the superscript at the end of one sentence and the first letter of the next sentence.
Hopefully, the forum will help me figure out how to resolve these issues.