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I Have Some Personal Family Records. How Can I Put Them In The Public Domain?

If you have family records, there are several things to consider when putting them into the public domain for the use of everyone.  By putting your genealogy records into the public domain, you are volunteering them up for use by anyone for any purpose.  Additionally, once they are in the public domain, you cannot take them back out of the public domain and make them copyrighted again.  By putting genealogy records into the public domain, you are helping future genealogy searches and creating a great resource for the public to draw upon.

To place a family record into the public domain, follow these steps.

  1. If the family record contains only facts and the facts are not arranged in an original manner, then all you need to do is make these facts known to the world and they will automatically become public domain or free genealogy records since you cannot copyright facts.  To do this, you have many options, ranging from posting them online to giving them to a local historical society.

  2. If the family record was copyrighted at one point (for example, a collection of narratives from great-aunt Susie, then you will need to respect that copyright if it is still in effect.  Consult your copyright attorney for any other questions on how to put previously copyrighted material into the public domain.

  3. If the material is not copyrighted and you are the author, you can place it into the public domain by stating so in writing on the material itself.