Tuesday, 25 June 2013

EU threats to genealogy?

Is the EU about to kybosh the genealogy industry? That's the view of the Genealogical Society of Ireland, according to an article in yesterday's Irish Times, if proposed changes to personal information on the grounds of data protection are pushed through in Brussels.

There have been major concerns on privacy and threats to the industry in the Republic of Ireland on these grounds in recent times, thanks to government shenanigans there, so I'm unclear how embedded or real this threat is. Nevertheless, it's an interesting read, and if true, could certainly have implications here - the article is at www.irishtimes.com/news/eu-regulation-could-restrict-genealogical-research-1.1440075

Meanwhile, on another front, it looks like the Europeana cultural digital platform (www.europeana.eu) may be under threat from Europe also, thanks to a budget slash for the cultural sector of 9 billion Euros to 1 billion. It's launched a petition at http://blog.europeana.eu/2013/06/sign-petition-to-keep-europes-culture-open-to-everyone-online/ to recruit support for the platform's continuation.

(With thanks to @CummingsPFH on Twitter and BI Gen at http://bi-gen.blogspot.co.uk)


My new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, is now available from Pen and Sword. My Scottish land and church records ebooks are available at http://www.gen-ebooks.com/unlock-the-past.html, whilst my next Pharos Scottish course, Scottish Research Online, starts Sep 4th - see http://pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=102. Time to smash a few brick walls...!


  1. It's unclear to me what the real effect might be. We already have the case that school registers (e.g.) are classed as personal data by the ICO. But all that means is that it's private until we can assume that the people have all died. Personal info about dead people has no protection.

    Adrian B

  2. Same here. It seems to me that if this is what is claimed to be on the cards, the worst case scenario would be a restriction on some aspects of genealogical research - tracing the living, heir hunting, for example. But data protection does not affect the dead. In Scotland, for example, most libraries with parish register microfilms have them up to 1855 only, so how could they be restricted, and for what purpose? Might explain GRONI's caution in not making available modern indexes online on its new forthcoming BMD site past the classified 'historic period' that it is proposing (100 years for births, 75 marriages, 50 deaths).