We have received a number of letters in
response to the note in the December issue of the
Berkshire Family Historian on our intention to
make available via our website a surname index of
peoples included in Birth Briefs. The following
Questions and Answers are intended to cover the
Whats the difference between
Birth Briefs and Members Interests?
Both list ancestors or family surnames
that you are researching and aim to put you
in touch with others who have similar or
identical interests. Members Interests
list a surname with a place or county and a
period of time. Other people with an
identical listing may or may not be connected
to you. Birth Briefs are more precise: they
list individuals with sufficient markers (eg
year and place of vital events) to enable you
to judge if you are connected or if they
indicate someone in whom you are interested.
Why are you placing a Birth Brief
Index on the website?
To make it available to a wider public and
so increase the chance of members being
contacted by a cousin, for example, with whom
they can share information and research.
What are the disadvantages of putting
the Birth Brief Index on the website?
We state that the information is only
supplied on condition that it shall not be
used, or supplied to another, for commercial
purposes. However, there have been instances
of information on similar websites
subsequently appearing without permission
elsewhere. We cannot guarantee that this will
not happen, but we will monitor to whom we
supply information and will refuse to supply
if we think that the information is being
Can we object and have our Birth
Briefs removed from the Internet?
Yes, of course.
Why only five generations? Why isnt
my Birth Brief included in full? Do I have to
start with myself?
This standard ascent format used by most
family history organisations allows 16
surnames to be listed if the five generations
are completed. We may go another generation
or two in the future. To include the 15
generations on one Birth Brief or the 360
persons on another would verge on publishing
what is your intellectual property. That is
your responsibility, not ours. Anyone who
suspects common ancestors at an earlier
period can contact you. Equally you can use
the Members Interests format to draw
attention to earlier ancestors.
You are not obliged to start with
yourself, although most people do. Some
members start with a grandparent. Other
members start with their children in order to
include the family of their spouse. But this
results in name-only entries for the three
generations born less than 100 years ago.
Why are you not giving full details of
persons born less than 100 years ago? My surname
is fairly common and unless you include these
vital records it will be difficult for people to
know whether or not they are related to me.
We are very conscious of the recent Data
Protection Act and the possibility of
unintentionally breaking the restrictions.
Have you checked that all living persons in
your Birth Brief agree to their private
details being made available to the public?
Even if you have, and many submitters have
not, for obvious reasons we must treat all
Birth Briefs the same. Therefore we will be
cautious in what we include.
Why are the Birth Briefs that I
submitted not in the index?
There could be two reasons:
We have not finished entering all the
Birth Briefs that we have on file and may not
have reached yours.
Perhaps the Birth Brief you submitted is
in a non-standard format, in which case we
are leaving it until all the straightforward
Birth Briefs are entered. Some Birth Briefs
are descent charts and another is a couple of
pages copied from a book.
Can I include questions on my
Some Birth Briefs arrive with questions
such as I dont know what happened
to my great grandfather, can you help?
The BFHS volunteers and office holders cannot
undertake research on your behalf. The
magazine and the website list the searches
that you can request, and how you can contact