Privacy Controls

As genealogists ourselves, we designed Treelines to meet our own, strict standards for privacy and security. We built a site that we would feel comfortable not only using ourselves, but also inviting our friends and family to use. After all, Treelines is all about sharing our best family stories! So, we've built in a lot of control to help you feel comfortable knowing that you're sharing only what you intend, only to the people you intend to read it.

The Privacy of Your Data

There are a number of levels of privacy controls in place on Treelines to ensure that you don't share any information that you don't wish to share.

Family tree privacy

You can feel comfortable uploading or creating your family tree on Treelines, because the way we use your family tree data is very different from other genealogy websites. Treelines is about sharing stories, not trees. On Treelines your tree family tree is a private database of information you can selectively choose to share within stories.

  • Everything in your family tree is accessible only to you unless you decide to include it in a story.
  • Only some parts of your family tree can even be included in a story. They are:
    • The names of people, which may be included in the animated Treelines that accompany each stories. People are included in Treelines only when you tag them on the page of a story.
    • The birth and death dates of these people, which are also used to create the animated Treelines. This only applies to the people you tagged within your story.
    • The events of people's lives that you create pages out of using the Tree Wizard.
    • The source citations for these events.

Tagging people

Besides the Treelines that accompany each story, there is no way for other users to browse your family tree or otherwise access any of the information it contains.

While we do connect public stories based on the topics you write about (see more below), we do not link family trees together. There is no way for other users to learn if the people in your tree connect to their tree.

Story privacy

Stories on Treelines can be public or private. By default they are private. You can change your default settings here.

  • Public stories can be read by anyone on the Treelines site. Choose this setting if you are looking to connect your story to other stories that take place in the same places, include people with the same surnames, or cover the same topics. Or maybe, like us, you just want to show off your amazing family history to the world!
  • Private stories can only be read by the people you specifically invite to read them. You may prefer this setting if you are writing about living people or sensitive subjects. You can invite new people to your story at any time or revoke access from people you've previously invited.

Before you publish your story, you can select the appropriate privacy level using the menu pictured above. You can always change your mind later.

People privacy

When you tag people in your stories, they will show up in the Treelines that appear at the bottom of every story. You can control how we display their names. By default, we hide the last names of living people and show the last names of dead people. You can change your default settings here.

Before you publish your story, you can select how we display peoples' names using the menu pictured at right. You can always change your mind later. Please remember that this setting only applies to the Treelines—take care as you write your story to include only the appropriate information in the text of your pages.

The full details

The above information is intended as a user guide to controlling the privacy of the information you put on the Treelines site. Our full privacy policy is available here should you have additional questions or concerns.