Genealogy tree and family inference is there a need for generational consent?

family inference

Ancestry research and family tree testing are popular exploration activities but little is known about the impact of the use of these services on clients’ biological and social families. Ancestral tree databases are being enriched with self-identified data and data from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analyses, but also are being linked to other direct-to-consumer ancestral testing and research databases. As both Genealogy history data and DNA can provide information on more than just the individual, we asked whether companies, as a part of the consent process, were informing clients, and through the clients’ relatives, of the potential implications of the use and linkage of their private family data.


We used content analysis to analyze publically-available consent and informational materials provided to potential clients of the family tree and direct-to-consumer ancestry testing companies to determine what consent is required, what risks associated with participation were highlighted, and whether the consent or notification of third parties as required or suggested.


We identified four categories of companies providing.

1) Services based only on self-identified documents, such as personal or genealogy history.

2) Services based only on Genes provided by the clients.

3) Services using both.

4) Services using both that also have an additional research component.

The amount of information provided on the potential issues varied significantly across the categories of companies.

Old Genealogy tree companies showed the greatest awareness of the implications for family members, while companies only asking for genes focused solely on the client. While in some cases companies included text recommending clients inform their family members, showing they recognized the issues, often it was located within long terms and conditions or privacy family tree terms that may not be read by potential clients.

Why geneology4u?

Ancestry trees Exploration, or the tracing of ethnic origin and family tree, although a well-established process for artificial and scientific research has also become increasingly popular as a recreational activity in recent years. Historically, public documents including birth records and marriage certificates were the main sources of information for making family tree links. Genealogy4u have been created to assist individuals to ascertain their genetic heritage and fill out family trees, or pedigrees. More lately, technological advances and significantly lower identification charges have resulted in a number of companies incorporating Gene’s analysis further enabling people to seek out close relatives. Come and join Geneology4u to better investigate about your family tree in an efficient manner.

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