You need to opt out of FamilyTreeNow.
As military spouses we hear a lot — and I mean a lot — about personal security and operational security. Loose lips sink ships, after all. So the idea that a series of public websites have your home address, including any on-base residence, and a pretty darn accurate list of family members just sitting there, waiting anyone to search and find is pretty shocking.
But it’s true.
All of this is completely legal. FamilyTreeNow.com and a series of other, similar sites pulls from public government records to compile a whole parade of information about you including long ago addresses, a list of associated names (for many women that likely includes your maiden name), a list of family members and a much less accurate list of “possible associates.”
For me this meant my current home address, eight former addresses stretching back to 2004 (many of which I had totally forgotten), including one on a military base, a list of all of my family members from my husband’s side, including my deceased brother-in-law (but none of my direct family who have my maiden name), and a list of 15 “possible associates” that only included two people who I actually know.
My husband’s listing was just as accurate and almost completely mirrored mine, but included addresses from before we were married dating back to 2006.
When I searched my father’s record, his entry included former business addresses dating back to 2001, former home addresses, a list of all of my brothers and sisters (but not me) and mom and my grandparents, one of which is deceased. His “possible associates” were more accurate than mine.
FamilyTreeNow isn’t the only site that has your home address just sitting out there, waiting for people to look up. But from what I can tell, it’s the easiest to use because it is free to search. USSearch.com, for example, shows you that results are available, but makes you pay to see them (I didn’t). Another site, Spokeo, also requires a payment.
The good news is: you can opt out of FamilyTreeNow and remove your information.
And you should. Right now. Here’s how.
2. At the bottom, click “I’m not a robot,” and then “Begin opt out procedure.”
3. Search for whatever name you want to remove. Maybe start with your own.
4. Click the big red “Opt Out This Record” button. This button won’t show up if you search for the record with the normal search tool on the site. You have to go through the opt out page.
They say it can take up to 48 hours to remove your information after you apply to opt out of FamilyTreeNow, but mine was gone within a few minutes.