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Putting Peoples Names On Web Pages

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#1 Linda in NY

Linda in NY

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 08:20 PM

Hi everyone,

I have a vintage collectibles website that ecommerce, but wanted to add some historical type info pages.

My dad served on a landing craft in WWII during the D day invasion. I found one of his shipmates a few yrs ago. I couldnt get any info anywhere else since my dad passed away in 1992, the shipmate is my only personal contact.

I had some minimal paperwork, followed it up, and during his search for my dad, we sort of found each other. Anyways, he gave me a ton of information on the ship, history, news stories he sent me, ships crew list etc. I got the logs for the ship from the government, very detailed logs for that ship on D day.

I want to add a section to my website with all the info. I figure it took me forever to find the info myself, there isn't really anything on the ship on the internet. I thought there might be other kids or family members of the crew looking for info or pictures that would appreciate it.

I was wondering is there anything wrong listing the names of crew I have. I got an updated list from the one shipmate showing who's still alive, who died and when they died, and if alive addresses (which I wouldnt put on the site anyways, maybe list the state only if anything). I can call and ask him if its okay if I put his name on the site. But is it okay to use all the other names ???
And if it is, would it be okay to list if they are still alive or not etc.

If you need more clarification because I haven't made this clear enough, please ask.

P.S., I almost forgot, long time no type, and Happy New Years to everyone !


#2 AbleReach


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Posted 19 January 2008 - 08:40 PM

I'm an Army brat. Nuff said.

A while back I saw a site that someone put up to find all the classmates in Mrs Whatshername's third grade, from a year that was apparently the golden year of all early school years for that person. Each classmate had page with a picture from the class picture circa 1950 or 1960 something. The page included the classmate's name and basic stuff about Mrs Whatshername's -- what school, where in the world, the kind of thing someone might use when searching for old classmates or even themselves. At first, under each photo there was the word "Lost!"

Every time someone checked in, their page was updated with a big "Found!" and whatever the person wanted to add. Some had offered up a current picture and info about what they ended up to "be" when they grew up. Some pictures simply said "Found!"

My advice is to be tasteful and nice, and see what happens.

I hope this helps!

Edited by AbleReach, 19 January 2008 - 08:42 PM.

#3 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 09:14 PM

No real idea of whether it is legally permitted.... as another member likes to point out - if you feel the need to question it, you probably already have the answer (or something of that ilk?).

If you provide a process to complain/request removal, make it clear that it is an option, and ensure no 'personal' details are made public... then you may be ok (I suppose there is only two ways of finding - either get a legal pro to answer the question, or try it and see if you get sued?)

#4 tam


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Posted 19 January 2008 - 09:23 PM

Are the names already public record? e.g. can I go look them up in an archive somewhere? If so then I think the only issue would be whether you're allowed to post transcriptions of those records. Not sure what the rules are on that but your local history/family history society probably would know. Although if you've collected the data yourself or from the person your in contact with then that's probably not an issue either.

I would stick to just the name rather than current location (even if just the state) unless you've got specific permission. As far as I know there isn't a rule about listing dates they passed away.


#5 Linda in NY

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 10:06 PM

Thanks all,

As far as the information being public record, good question. Some of the logs of the ship are very detailed and list all the crew. I wouldn't put date of death either, I was just going to list crew members that are still alive and crew members that have passed away.

The logs which are in the national records library in Washington DC for all the naval ships had the names, and the gentleman who does the reunions sends me a list that is updated 2 times a year or so. The Naval Historical Center does mention on their site the following: Reqeusts for copies of deck logs will be treated as a FOIA requests (Freedom of Information Act).

Anyone I think can go there and make their own copies of the logs, but they have to search them out and it costs per page.

I do like the idea of giving people an option to request the name be removed.

I was hoping with the names, is family doesn't know which ship exactly they can at least search on the name and then have the ship info and history.

Thanks all,

#6 ccera


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Posted 19 January 2008 - 10:39 PM

First, a disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this should not be construed as legal advice. :)

With that out of the way, I say post names, and maybe military rank at the time, but no location (not even the state), and you should be fine. As far as I can tell, names are not protected information. Although, you should read the US Privacy Act of 1974 for yourself.
I am a genealogist, have my own site and spend a lot of time looking at those created by others. Some choose to use the names (but no other information) of living family members, others make ALL info on the living private to anyone who's not a registered member. Those who use names generally offer an opt-out link for those who don't want their name out there for whatever reason.
As for using public records, in the US it is generally considered ok to transcribe anything you like, and to post those transcriptions, provided they don't contain information protected under the privacy act. Even then, the information can be made public, usually through the National Archives, after a certain number of years as being potentially of "historical interest". For instance, complete census information is made public after 72 years (thus info from the 1930 census became available in 2003, and info from the 2000 census will be available in 2073).
My take on this is that 1)posting names is safe anyway, 2)there are no WWII vets left under 72, 3)if the US government feels it's safe to publish data that old without being sued, you ought to be pretty safe, too.

Best Wishes,


Afterthought afterthought It seems intent makes a difference in what's legal as well. The National Archives makes the census data public after 72 years under Title 44, Section 2108 of the US Code. That section simply references a 1952 Exchange of Correspondence Between the Director of the Bureau of Census and the Archivist of the United States. (Funny how a couple of bureaucrats could establish US policy in a few letters). What I wanted to point out, though, is that the letters very specifically discuss intent.

Edited by ccera, 19 January 2008 - 10:57 PM.

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