Still Another So-Called Family Tree Website Reveals Your Personal Address and Family Information

I wrote recently (at https://goo.gl/C6p932) about a new web site that claims to be a family history and genealogy service but seems to be primarily a site that publishes personal information about individuals. That web site is not alone. Still another web site has now appeared with a very similar offering. In fact, there are dozens of such web sites on the Internet that make money by selling your personal information and mine.

radaris_logoRadaris.com claims to be “a comprehensive public records search engine for information about people, properties, businesses and professionals.” The company’s press release states, “Radaris customers can start to build their family tree now without unnecessary time or expense.”

However, there appears to be little information about ancestors or family history on the site. Instead, Radaris appears to be a search engine that scours various public records found on multiple sources, gathering information about the people and places in our lives, and using it to create information to be sold to anyone who wishes it.

The site’s home page states:

“Radaris provides access to information about people, properties, businesses and professionals, available as one-time reports and subscriptions. We are the industry’s provider of the most comprehensive profiles sourcing data from the nation’s largest providers and dynamically integrating these profiles with social mentions, factual references and billions of public records in real time. Your profiles are continuously changing and expanding as public digital data is captured. You can also subscribe to our monitoring services and get instant updates, to view the new information that we have analyzed and added to your custom profiles.”

I experimented a bit with the site. My name and personal information wasn’t listed with my current address. However, when I specified the ZIP code where I used to live, Radaris listed my name, former address, and several of my relatives. It also claimed I was related to several people who are unknown to me. I then searched for information about several of my friends and relatives. Radaris found every one of them.

For a fee, Radaris also offers a “full report” that presumably contains even more personal information. I didn’t bother to purchase any reports.

The following is a press release issued today by Radaris. Notice the reference to genealogy even though the company doesn’t seem to offer any information about ancestors or family history :

Radaris, the public records search engine, has expanded its data to include more extensive family history records. The records include full names of family members and links to a detailed profile for each individual. The new data allows Radaris to give a more complete biography of every person listed on the site. It is included in both free profiles and premium reports.

Genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the country (after gardening) with nearly $2.3 billion spent each year on gaining access to family history records. This number has been increasing steadily due to interest in new DNA genetic testing and analysis, and greater access to established family trees, genealogy records and historical resources. Amateur genealogists account for more than 88 million ancestry related Google searches annually and often spend more than $1 thousand each year researching new records and resources.

While preliminary genealogical research frequently begins with interviewing parents, grandparents and known relatives, the next step is typically to find long lost relatives. The goal of this process is to document one’s life and family history in a form, such as a class family tree, that can be shared and maintained for future generations.

Radaris has added this new set of public record data to meet these new demands for the most current and accurate data available. Through the deeper family history records and family member data, Radaris customers can start to build their family tree now without unnecessary time or expense. The existing profiles supplement this research with the most recent contact information such as phone numbers and addresses without paying for a full report.

The new data is available today at Radaris.com for anyone to start a free genealogical research project by searching known relatives and following the linked profiles to recent family relations.

About Radaris
Radaris (https://radaris.com/) is a public records search engine. Radaris.com provides free public profiles along with premium background checks, contact information reports and other information tools.

11 Comments

I guess any site that list you and family members could technically be called a family tree albeit highly deceptive when the words ‘geneology’ and ‘family history’ are used in their advertising. No different than looking you up in the phone book and also seeing your spouse also listed – doesn’t make it a family tree book. Thankyou for posting this Dick. And each time you bring another dubious site to our attention I’m going to write down the name of the site and keep a list pinned to my bulletin board next to my computer for easy reminder of which sites to stay away from. It’s getting all too confusing now to keep track of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.

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As has been posted many times in the comment sections regarding these sites, there are HUNDREDS of these sites. Radaris is not new, it has been around for years; maybe longer than FamilyTreeNow.

I ran across a site today with an ad that mentioned it “scanned 216 information broker sites” in it’s search for sites like this. [I’ll see if I can find the link.] As more historical records come on line, like probate records from the past, these “information brokers” are bound to capitalize on them to expand their markets into genealogical research. Genealogists are not the only legitimate professions to use these sites. When SSDI was threatened, I lead a group that networked with about 40 professions that needs access to public records in order to do their legitimate jobs for legitimate purposes.

Doing a “Google” search on a person’s name often times produces more information in the “hit list” than several of these sites produces – including links to social media where participants publicly lump their friends and family members into groups with labels attached – like minor children nieces and nephews. Working on a probate case this morning, the Florida voter registration online provide complete name and birth date for each adult in the family. Another click on a Google hit went to the property records for their addresses. By the way, much of this same info was available in ancestry.

I have mixed feelings about these sites, and would certainly clean up any information about children in my family. But the only way to stop these sites is through legislated regulation.And when we regulate the ones we don’t want, the regulators are not going to overlook the ones we want to keep because they are “genealogy sites.”

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As Dee Dee said, these sites have been around for a while. My wife and I have used their “free” information at times to try to gain clues to living relatives when tracing a descendant line, but there’s really not much point to purchasing what they actually sell, at least not for genealogy purposes.
She also brings up a good point that goes along with what spurred me to write. As more of these “scam artists” (some truly are) get the bright idea to push genealogy (as Radaris seems to be heading now), some of them surely will try to re-name themselves to take full advantage of the genealogy community (a la FamilyTreeNow).
Someday the genealogy community may be faced with legislation to shut down true scam sites that “throws out the baby with the bath water”, just as our wonderful legislators/governmental busybodies did with the SSDI. None of them listened to reason, nor considered the real problem, but used the SSDI for a scapegoat, just because it was convenient and sounded (to the uneducated) like it would fix the fraudulent tax return/id theft problem. Do you suppose some of those same people would listen in the future? Especially considering the hostile climate everywhere in Washington now?
We’ve got enough problems trying to unlock information. My wife and I are currently desperately trying to unlock information from a newspaper from 1916, but it seems there’s only 3 places in the world that have that paper on microfilm, and none of them will do ILL, so our only recourse is a trip TO that place. Imagine if legislation locked up all the probate/land/etc records we’re now finding online? We’d be back to the 1960’s with genealogy – go there or hire someone.
That’s a road I don’t want to see traveled again.

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    I searched for my father, who has been deceased for since 1996. He was listed with an age as if he’s still alive, along with my mom who died in 1992 and her ‘current’ age! There was also another woman listed as an apparent relative who is not related in any way, just has the same surname. Dad’s address is correct for 2 years prior to his death, but not the time of his death. I’m really surprised it didn’t list my home town as his last known residence. I had power of attorney when he died, and the SSDI lists my residence as his final one.

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FamilyTreeNow.com is another site. You can opt out of this site.

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This is why I start my online trees with my great-grandparents, listing no descendants. It guarantees that everyone I post about is dead, and my data can’t be tied to any living people.

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A tenuous genealogical connection of a name associated with me on one of these sites, whom I never met or knew about, is a subsequent owner of a home I sold in 1997.

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I have seen radaris site and it comes with photos.

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Thanks Dick for putting a spotlight on these people. We need to be aware of what is going on out there. While these sites have been around for quite some time, I for one am still getting used to the idea of how much information is readily available. On the other hand, aside from the ease of access, they really are little different from the directories and ‘phone books’ that have been available for a very long time. I am sure most of us have consulted old directories in our family searches and were glad they were available. I wonder though, will these modern sources be available in 100 or 200 years.

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This site is actually just like a number of People Search sites, with one difference. Their ability to analyze the data is poorer. I tried running my exhusband. It couldn’t find him, but it did list me incorrectly and my son incorrectly. I followed both links and the information was wildly incorrect.

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The idea of Googling your own name produced a peculiar result for me.
In the 70’s I began to get phone calls for a person with my name, and occasionally for his wife. I learned that he was a student engineer at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) and was about 15 years younger than me.
As the years went on I continued to get calls and mail intended for him. I once visited a customer of mine, and when I gave the receptionist my name, she handed me an envelope and said ” Here are your plane tickets to XXXX location”. He was there as an engineering temp from a consulting company.
I got notices that his deceased mother’s church bonds had matured and invitations to a local high school’s reunions (I came from another state). Advertising and other mail still comes to my home after all these years. I googled my complete name- he and I had different middle initials-and discovered that I exist on the internet merely as an alias to the other guy who, it turns out, passed away about 6 years ago in Kansas. I learned that genealogically he and I are distant cousins, or at least would be if I actually existed.

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