I just created a huge family tree using mind-mapping tools, not common geneology tools. I'd like to distribute this to relatives as a PNG. I'm concerned about security. What should not be in a tree that might leak into the public?

The tree has nothing but last names, first names, and relationships. There are no photos, dates, locations, or any other data.

Not so much anymore, but "mother's maiden name" has been a security question in too many places for decades. There are lots of kids' names in the image too, of course. Is this data still sensitive?

The image will be posted in a private website, with a password to protect it, and with instructions on the page about not publishing it anywhere. But I'm still concerned that some random person might innocently/stupidly post the image somewhere - "hey, look at my huge family!".

Am I doing what is reasonable given industry/community standards for this? Or am I missing some protocol that everyone here knows and I haven't learned yet? :)

I am not pursuing geneology as a hobby. My goal as an older member of the family has been to create a base resource for others who may wish to pursue details now or in the future. So I'm not yet informed on norms within this community. Thanks for bearing with me.

1 Answer 1


Many years ago, one of my distant relatives put way too much information online for anybody to find. I tried to get him to remove it, but they wouldn't. Fortunately, it is gone now.

I would be most concerned about minors. In the past, I had minors in my tree. I stopped putting minors in my tree a long time ago, so long ago that none are minors anymore.

My situation is a little different, since I am still adding to my tree. I am most concerned about dying unexpectedly and all my research being lost. A lot of my information for deceased people is online, but you can't expect it to be there forever.

Here is my plan, not fully implemented yet. I will pick a USB thumb drive size that will hold all my electronic genealogy files. I will put my electronic files on multiple USB thumb drives. About once a year, I will update all these drives. Each will be put in an appropriate pre-addressed unsealed envelope. They will all be labelled with instructions to seal and mail to them out upon my death.

The people that I pick to receive these envelopes will be either closely related to me, or cousins that I know pursue genealogy as a hobby.

BTW, without dates and places, what you have created isn't that useful. I see no issue with adding dates and places for deceased people.

  • Given the time that has passed here, I'm happy to flag this good / only response as an accepted Answer. Thanks.
    – TonyG
    Apr 9 at 21:55

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