Last Updated February 16, 2011
In this Statement, we, Ancestry.com Europe S.à r.l., 31, rue Philippe II, L-2340 Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (“Ancestry” or “we”) provide information on (a) how we process personal data that we collect through websites that we operate and that directly link to this Statement (collectively “Website”) and (b) how you can process personal data on our platform and Website.
Most of the personal data on our Website is actually uploaded and processed by users for their own personal and private purposes. We recognise the confidentiality of information that may be disclosed by users in registering or making purchases from our Website and we are firmly committed to protecting your privacy choices. Ancestry’s mission is to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history through using the resources available on its Website and also through collaborating with its extensive number of users around the world. This may involve the collecting, processing, storing and sharing of personal data and we want to ensure that this is done in a responsible, transparent and secure environment that fosters user trust and confidence.
As a reminder, the Ancestry.com Community is the collaborative resource in which our users participate and it comprises the users of the Website and other websites and platforms owned by Ancestry (including ancestry.com, ancestry,com.au, ancestry.ca, rootsweb.com, genealogy.com, mundia.com). By registering with the Website you are becoming part of the Ancestry.com Community.
Yes. Ancestry asks for your name and e-mail address when you sign up as a member and use features such as e-mail. In addition we will need to know your postal address and payment details when you choose to take out a subscription with us or make purchases at the Ancestry online shop. We may ask for similar information at other times, such as when you enter sweepstakes or other promotions sponsored by Ancestry and/or our many partners. Most of this information may be entered at your discretion. As a member of Ancestry, you can also choose to share further information about yourself, your background and interests with other members. The amount and type of profile information you share in this way is entirely your choice. Information about some of your activity on the Website, such as historical records you save, may also be shared with other members in order to help you connect with others researching similar ancestors. See 'Member Profiles' below for more information on how you can edit or control what you allow other members to see about you and your Website activity in your Public Profile or other places on the Website. You may also provide us with additional personal information about yourself and others in the course of doing your, or others’, family research on our Website, e.g., adding a photo or birth record to a tree or sharing it with someone through our Service.
How Does Ancestry use my personal information?
Our goal is to provide you with the most personalised, relevant, user-friendly experience possible. The primary use of all your personal information is to efficiently provide you with relevant information. Ancestry will also use registration information to let you know about new features or other offers of interest from Ancestry, or to address customer service needs and requests.
In distributing advertiser or sponsor messages, we do not provide the advertisers with access to individual account information. Ancestry does not sell, rent or otherwise distribute the personal information you provide us to these advertisers unless you have given us your consent to do so at any stage. Advertisers simply provide an insertion order for the advertising message and Ancestry then displays the ad to appropriate users based on the criteria specified in the order. In this context, we may work with third party service providers and advertisers who will arrange for targeted ad displays to you (which involves cookie placement – as discussed in more detail below).
So that you get the most out of the Service and great functionality we will also use your personal information to serve you hints about possible matches in your tree, to enable you and other members of the Ancestry.com Community to contact each other on an anonymous basis, as well as to provide product and Website updates and newsletters, for your Public Profile, using Member Connect etc. See section below ‘Managing your privacy settings’ to learn how you can opt out or change your settings.
Does Ancestry request or require any personal financial information?
To facilitate payment and fulfillment for membership and purchases at the Ancestry Online Shop, Ancestry will request personal credit card or debit card information. In order to take advantage of other value-added family services that may be offered by Ancestry in the future, users may be required to supply financial information.
Will Ancestry disclose any of my personal information to third parties?
Ancestry will not disclose any of your personal information, except (a) with your knowledge and any relevant consents, (b) as described in this policy, (c) where personal information is collected through this Website and (d) as may be required by law, regulatory authorities, legal process or to protect the rights or property of Ancestry or other users.
Demographic information collected through on-site user surveys may be used in aggregate statistical form to attract potential sponsors, partners and advertisers but these statistics will include no personally identifying information. We do reserve the right to disclose aggregated user statistics, such as "45 percent of our users are female" or "10,000 members indicate an interest in gardening" in order to describe our services to prospective partners, advertisers, and other third parties.
Under the protection of appropriate agreements, we use third party processors in some cases to help us provide services, and manage our Website and relationships with you. These may include purchase and order fulfillment, credit card processing, removing duplicate information from lists, providing marketing assistance and providing other customer services. Third-party processors and providers will be given access only to that information needed to perform their support functions, and are prohibited from using it for other purposes. Processors include affiliated and unaffiliated service providers in Europe, in the United States and in other jurisdictions. With respect to processors outside Europe, we ensure adequate safeguards for your personal data, as required by applicable law.
If you click away from our Website to visit the site of any third party advertiser or sponsor, you may be asked for your payment card or other personal information in order to purchase or use products and services offered. These companies have their own privacy and data collection practices. We have no responsibility or liability for these independent policies. You should therefore review their privacy policies carefully if you have concerns about how your information may be used.
As our business continues to grow, we might restructure, buy, or sell subsidiaries or business units. In these transactions, customer information is often one of the transferred assets, remaining subject to promises made in existing privacy statements. Also, in the event that Ancestry, or substantially all of its assets are acquired, customer information will as a matter of course be one of the transferred assets.
How else may my personal information be used?
Ancestry may send electronic mail to you for the purpose of informing you of changes or additions to Ancestry or of any Ancestry-related products and services. You can also choose to receive promotional offers from trusted Ancestry partners. If you do not want to continue to receive such mailings, you may opt out at any time by using the unsubscribe link listed in the e-mail or by amending your 'e-mail preferences' in the 'My Account' section of our Website.
May I refuse to provide personal information to Ancestry or to accept advertising?
Visitors may access Ancestry's free services by registering with a first name, last name, and e-mail address. To gain full access to the paid members-only areas, a username, e-mail address and appropriate billing information are required. Because occasionally the Ancestry Website may be partially advertiser supported, you may not "turn off" the advertising that appears on Ancestry pages, but you may opt to be excluded from any marketing or promotional e-mails.
Where you choose to invite other family or other members of the Ancestry Community to view and edit your family tree, we will ask you for the individual's e-mail address. You must first make certain that you have obtained their consent to the passing of their details by you to Ancestry. Ancestry will only use this information for the purpose of contacting the individual with their access details and will not use the information we collect as a result of this process for marketing purposes. In addition you should also make sure that information or material you wish to place on the Website about your living relatives is only posted with their prior knowledge and consent.
We have to use your IP address to deliver the Website and our service to you and to help diagnose problems with our server. Your IP address is also used to gather broad demographic information such as geographic distribution of our members.
You can erase or block cookies from your computer if you want to (your help screen or manual should tell you how to do this), but certain Ancestry services may not work correctly or at all if you set your browser not to accept cookies.
We may use third-party advertising companies to serve ads on our behalf. These companies may employ cookies and action tags (also known as single pixel gifs or web beacons) to measure advertising effectiveness. If you would like more information about this practice and your choices, click here.
You may share personal information through the Website in a number of ways. Please be aware that any personal information you elect to post on our Website may be made available on our affiliates’ websites, may be visible to both registered and non-registered users of the Website, and in some instances may be publicly available through, for example public record sources such as census records or birth, marriage and death records. You can control how you share some personal information by changing your privacy settings in the following areas (this is found in the My Account and Trees sections of the Website):
In addition, if we determine that you are living though our clever site algorithm then we will not show your information in your tree and so it will not be available to others unless you chose to share it.
What else should I know about privacy?
The following sets out a few key issues mentioned above.
Your Public Profile
When you sign-up as a member you are provided with a public member profile pre-populated with your chosen username. Your username and location will be displayed on the Website when you post, comment or interact with other Ancestry members. If you want additional privacy you can edit your username within your Public Profile to one that does not include any personally identifiable information. You can also enhance your Public Profile to provide additional information about yourself. Any information including any sensitive personal information that is disclosed in this area becomes public and you should therefore exercise caution when deciding what personal information you choose to disclose. You can customize your settings on how other members can contact you as well as what displays on your Public Profile. If you do not do this then the default setting is that the information within your Public Profile and also certain elements of your recent activity on the Website will be publicly accessible by other members. To edit your preferences click here.
Through the "Community Preferences" link in the Ancestry 'My Account' section of the Website, you can choose either to display your e-mail address with other members of the Ancestry Community or ensure that your e-mail is withheld so that you are only contacted anonymously through the Ancestry Connection Service. You can also control when you are contacted or block certain people from contacting you.
You can also customize what other members can learn about your Ancestry Website activity. To help you connect with other members of the Ancestry.com Community researching similar ancestors, by default new accounts are set up to allow other members to learn about things you publicly add or post to the Website, as well as some personal research activities (such as saving historical records to your Shoebox or private member tree). To customize these settings, simply go to the “Activity Preferences” link on the Community Preferences page.
Anonymous demographic profiles
Demographic data is collected at our Website at the users' option. This information may include age and gender and other personal preferences that can be viewed and tabulated for use in marketing Ancestry to advertisers and others. In no case is personal information given or sold to third parties. Ancestry controls the distribution of ALL information at the Website.
Ancestry may occasionally run contests or other special promotions on our Website in which we ask members or visitors for contact information (like an e-mail address) or demographic information (like a zip code, age, or income level). We use this data to send users promotional material about our company or our partners. The contact information is also used to contact the member or visitor when necessary and may be shared with other companies for promotional purposes, but only with your prior permission and under the terms and conditions specified when you take part in the promotion. At any time, users may opt-out of receiving future mailings of this kind, or simply decline to take part in the promotions.
Public forums – Ancestry.com Community
This section of the Website makes forums, message boards and/or newsgroups available to the members of the Ancestry.com Community. Any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should take care when deciding what personal information to disclose to others.
Ancestry places great importance on the security of all personally identifiable information associated with our members. We have security measures in place to attempt to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of member data under our control. For example our security and privacy policies are periodically reviewed and enhanced as necessary and only authorized personnel have access to member information. We use secure server software to encrypt financial information you input before it is sent to us. While we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration of data will not occur however we will use our best efforts to prevent this.
By using our Website and the Services you consent to the collection and use of your personal information by Ancestry. If we decide to change our privacy statement, we will issue an updated version of this Statement with an updated date legend (and/or notify you via e-mail or postal mail or by other appropriate means) so that you will be aware of what information we collect, how we use it and under what circumstances we disclose it in accordance with applicable law. If you do not consent to any changes to our privacy statement and as a result you would like us not to use or hold your information in accordance with the revised terms, you may notify us here so we can decide whether to continue to apply the previous policy or delete your information and/or account.
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, or wish to request access to and receive information about the personal data we maintain about you, update and correct inaccuracies in your personal data, have the information blocked or deleted, as appropriate, or oppose (in case of legitimate reasons) the processing carried out with respect to your personal data (note please that the right to access personal information may be limited in some circumstances), you can contact us by clicking here.