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Family Tree DNA has always said that the users privacy matter more to them than anything else. Over the years the Privacy has indeed improved. Having been a GAP administrator from the early years I can confirm that it has become increasingly difficult to both interact with and help those who have joined the Caperton Group on ftDNA, all in the name of Privacy. I have accepted this because I truely belive in privacy and I understand that not EVERYONE has a facebook account that they share their entire lives with total strangers (ok I digress). However, what Family Tree DNA has not been quite so open about until they just recently got caught, is that if you say you are law enforcement, and contact Bennett Greenspan founder of ftDNA and give him a sob story about an unsolved crime he will willingly turn over the keys to the kingdom and let you mine the ftDNA database for clues to help them solve their crime. He states that rape and murder and other heineous crimes are more important than family history privacy. This all sounds good in theory EXCEPT I believe that he does not have the right from me to share my private DNA information without my permission. It really is that simple. He does NOT have my permission. Period. End of Story.

Mia Culpa from ftDNA

So as usually happens in cases like these, ftDNA eventually got caught, and now their story is when you signed up you automatically approved this search of your DNA. However if are so inclined you can opt out of Law Enforcement Searches by changing a setting in your profile. ftDNA is saying that the vast majority of users agrees that Law Enforcement should have unfettered access to their DNA because less than 2% of their users have changed the Law Enfocement Setting. HOWEVER (again), Privacy is my right I should be the one giving the permission not Bennett Greenspan. Additionally, I should be requried to opt IN to the Law Enforcement NOT have to opt OUT. As for the 98% of people Mr. Greenspan says approve of his giving personal DNA info to Law Enforcement, I would like to see how many of those individuals  even know he is selling it (yes it is a revenue source for ftDNA) and or know that it is possible to opt OUT?

How To Opt OUT

There. With that said I will tell you how to opt In or Out. Log into your ftDNA account, go to your profile and click the link that says Manage Personal Information. Click the Privacy & Sharing Tab. Part way down you will see a paragraph called Law Enforcement Matching (LEM). If the button to the right of the paragraph is Green (which it is by default) then you have given permission to ftDNA to sell your DNA data to Law Enforcement. If you do not wish to do so then click the button and it should grey out. At that point you have then opted out of ftDNA selling your information to Law Enforcement.

In conclusion

Dont misunderstand me. I think ftDNA is a fantastic tool both for genealogy AND the potential to solve crimes. What doesn't change however is that this is still MY data and it is a privacy issue. I simply have not given permission for my DNA to be used in this way. 

Finally what really disappoints me is that While Bennett Greenspan DID apologize, the apology WASN'T for his illegal use and sale of DNA data he had no right to sell, rather it was that he didn't tell us he was doing this in a timely fashion. THAT folks, sounds like someone that apologized because he got caught, not because he feels bad about lying to us. I have been managing this website for over 17 years now, and have NEVER sold given traded or otherwise shared member information. Look at the bottom of virtually every page on this site and you will find a link to the privacy policy for this site in PLAIN english. I live what I believe when it comes to privacy.



Well another great "App" has finally hit end of life. Joaktree is the app that I have used on the Society website to display the family trees submitted by members for about a decade now. the creator of Joaktree stopped updating it several years ago but it was not until recently when I changed the version of PHP that it simply became to unstable to continue using. Niels Van Dantzig developed Joaktree at least as far back as 2013. However, he stopped development following his release for Joomla! 3.x. Joaktree continued on until I updated PHP after which time Joaktree stopped working correctly and had to be removed from the website.

So, Whats next?

Well, that has been a tough nut to crack. There is really only one other genealogy program that is available for Joomla! It is called SIMGenealogy. SIMGenealogy is fine as far as it goes. It is mainly designed to produce pedigrees for Joomla! but the interface is a little too cluttered for my taste, and just doesn't compare, to Joaktree. Currently I am evaluating an app that will allow me to convert RootsMagic webpages to the Joomla! format, including the links. If this works out we would lose the pedigree portion that Joaktree provided but would ultimately generate a more detailed look at the family trees so many of you have submitted. It is however a fairly pricey app so I want to make sure that it will work for us before I invest. So please stay tuned, I think the family trees submitted are an important part of the information on the website so I will eventually find a way to get them back online. Stay tuned!

We have a new reprint in the Store! I have completed work on a reprint of "The Killing of Adam Caperton" it is a paperback reprint of the 1918 book by William A. Gordon Jr. it is 96 pages and includes 11 photos. This book was previouslykac thumbnail available when the Society was selling CD versions of beeks, but had never made it to the printed version until now! it is in the standard 6 x 9 format of most of the other reprint from the society including Bernard M. Capertons "The Caperton Family". Also like other reprints the price is based on the cost to produce. In this case you can pick up a copy for only $14.00 + shipping. Which..... is a great segway into-

New Shipping Rate Added to Store.
We have now been able to include a more economical shipping method! It has always bothered me that a relatively inexpensive reprint would cost as much if not more to ship as it did to buy, but I had never been able to work out a shipping method that was available in PayPal or did not require an excessive amount of work on my part to ship (like stand in line at the post office). Now however I am able to ship via Media Mail, which is significantly less expensive that Priority Mail that was the only method available previously. As an example Media Mail rate for the Killing of Adam Caperton is just $3.50, compared to $7.50 via Priority Mail. Now this price does come at a cost! Media Mail is one of the slowest shipping methods available via USPS, so make sure you are not in a hurry for the book when you order, but if you do use Media Mail you will certainly save money! if you want to look into the new shipping calculator, just add some items to your cart, then click on Pay without paypal and put in your state and zipcode (you don't need to put in anything else to get the shipping costs). You should then be able click on the shipping dropdown to see the differences in shipping.

Adjusted Book Prices
I have also gone thru and adjusted the prices of books based on what the printer is now charging the Society. most (not all) of the paperback prices went down slightly while the Hardback USS Caperton War Diary book went down significantly so that I was able to not only lower the price but also include Free Shipping. I left the old prices on the website with a line thru them so everyone can see the savings.