Wednesday, 9 September 2009



Dear Mr Chant,
It has been brought to my notice by other people looking into family history, that you have all the details of my living family showing of your web site which can easily be accessed.
Are you not aware that you are breaking the data protection act. Living members details should not be shown. If you care to remove all traces of living people then action will be taken. Advise has already been taken and this is the way I have been advised to initially take, in order for you to correct the matter.
Also please ensure that anyone who has taken information from your web site do not display it on the internet.
Those of you doing family history really should take greater care of what you are doing with the details of the people who are still living.
Your site is being watched so get the details off immediately.
Yours faithfully
A livid Chant family member

Royal Mail 28.08.09 Bath Bristol Taunton 08.56 pm 64104545

This letter was awaiting me on my return to Stoke. The postmark was no help to me in tracing the source. It is obvious that an anonymous letter containing an unsubstantiated allegation and an implied threat is illegal but someone, somewhere is upset. It would not help for me to report the matter to either the police or the Post Office investigations department: indeed, I feel this would be counter productive in sorting out the problem and cause no end of grief within the family. I research my tree for my amusement and with no thought to create any unhappiness. If I do not have a death confirmed for someone in the published tree I apply the ‘hundred year rule’, which is to say that I assume demise only one hundred years after the date of birth of the individual.
I have two Chant trees on the Internet but neither contains more than one living person, and that is me, as the root for the tree in each case. It seems that another family member has shared information with me and I with them. I now have to speculate that whoever it is has published a tree that has caused the problem and cited me as the source for their information. Without the URL for their tree I can do nothing practical. I have over four thousand contacts with whom I work on different aspects of family history, both theirs and mine.
I hope that someone will see this, either the writer or their informant, and tell me the address of the web site that offends in order that I can attempt to get matters corrected to the satisfaction of all of us.


Writing a letter without signature is GUTLESS and a bit creepy. A threat done in this way is stupid and pointless. It resolves nothing and only upsets people who love John and appreciate his efforts. It would have been much better to pick up the phone and discuss it in person and at the same time clarify the source was not John. Quite frankly some people just have nothing better to do. I know John is very circumspect regarding privacy and would never break trust. He is an honourable family member who should be treasured for his efforts not threatened so stupidly.

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