The intent of these pages is to present genealogical information about our family. I would like this information to be as carefully documented and referenced as is practically possible. My vision of these web pages is that may be a repository of data, easily shared by all family members no matter how widely distributed geographically we may be.
Genealogical information is far more useful if it is widely shared, particularly with those who may be looking for family ties which are documented here. This conflicts with efforts to preserve as confidential information about living people, e.g. birthdate, mother's maiden name, address, email address, etc. I'd like to have it both ways, having the private data behind password protection while making some data publicly searchable.
I've established password protection for part of the site in part to be able to make the information as comprehensive as possible. Feel free to give the username/password out to any family member, or anyone who in your judgment might be looking for a family connection. In order to minimize the searchability of these pages, private information is stored in the private subdirectory, which has the password protection.
In order to allow anyone to search a subset of the data, I maintain another site with information on the earlier ancestors; this page is at http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/b/e/n/Bryan-A-Bentz/index.html. It isn't as comprehensive as it might be, but at least it's searchable by anyone on the Internet, and is indexed by the Family Tree Maker search engine. I encourage anyone to provide similar public web pages, so those distant relatives have some chance of finding us.
Having a password for this directory also means that automated tools to grab email address (e.g. for spamming) can't read the files. This is another reason for the password.
A third reason for the password is that it makes it easier to get permission to include copyrighted material on the site. As much as possible I would like to have original source material available for everyone's perusal. There are many family links still to be mapped out, and the more eyes looking at the data the better.