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Raising Public Awareness about Genealogical Privacy across Canada, in both Official Languages


Department of English, York University



Project Leader(s)

Julia Creet, Professor


The goal of this project was to broaden public discussion of genetic genealogy and privacy issues with respect to genealogical records and direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy tests. A social media campaign promoting the documentary “Data Mining the Deceased: Ancestry and the Business of Family” (a project completed with previous funding from the OPC) was central to the success of this project. Supplementary educational materials in English and French, including a genealogy privacy fact sheet, and frequently asked questions, were created to assist individuals and groups in holding informative post-screening conversations as well as providing an additional educational take-away for viewers. These are available on-line and were handed out at eight screening events that Julia Creet conducted in person.

To reach a wider Canadian audience, the documentary was dubbed into French. Ancêtres Inc.: Affaires de famille - Affaires d’argent (56 minutes in length in broadcast quality) is now in distribution with Film Option International for French speaking audiences. A French subtitled version of Data Mining the Deceased is available on Vimeo.

With the assistance of professional genealogist Susan Young of Ancestry Solutions and impact producer JoAnne Fishburn of goodinfluencefilms, genealogical associations and libraries across Canada were contacted to publicize the documentary and a Genealogy and Genetics Workshop that was held at The Archives of Ontario in September, 2018. The livestream of the workshop had 1,798 views from around the world. Eight short videos from the workshop were created and uploaded to Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo, accompanied by a social media campaign on Facebook, garnering over 25,000 views of one or more of the eight segments in 36 countries.

In order to gather all of this material in one place, the team created a domain name website for Julia Creet with links to this project and future materials about genealogical and genetic privacy.

Project deliverables are available in the following language(s):



OPC Funded Project

This project received funding support through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program. The opinions expressed in the summary and report(s) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Summaries have been provided by the project authors. Please note that the projects appear in their language of origin.

Contact Information, Professor
Department of English, York University
Stong College, 334
4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3
Office Telephone: 416-736-2100 ext. 30439

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