PDA

View Full Version : Is Ancestry.com for real, or just a scam?



atanerk
28-05-15, 04:05
Are ALL of the ancestors you find at Ancestry.com for real, or are the REALLY old ones (say, over 600 years or so) just a scam?

I started subscribing to Ancestry.com a month ago, and I've already traced several branches of my family back A THOUSAND YEARS - and I haven't even reached the earliest traceable family members in many of those branches! Could this possibly be for real - or is Ancestry.com just scamming people with false ancestors to keep them subscribing?

And are there any professional genealogists out there that would like to chime in on this?

Sylvia C
28-05-15, 04:42
if you are using the Public Family Trees on ancestry ............... then you MUST be very careful!

Ancestry is a well regarded site, although most of us use ancestry.co.uk, BUT many tree makers are only too glad to add any and all information that they can find without checking it out. Ancestry does not have any control over what people put on their trees, except to make sure that the names of living people are automatically changed to Private

They take information from each other, or from the submitted genealogy on Family Search (the Mormon site)

I would say it is not Ancestry scamming you ...... but you are not using the records, you are using other people's trees, and they are not to be trusted unless they provide the documentation. Even if they do provide the documentations, you MUST not add the information to your tree without tracing everything yourself, and getting all the proof yourself.


Nobody has ever said that genealogy is easy, nor is it cheap.

If you have got back 1000 years in only a month ............. you've been had by the people who have put up their Family Trees, not by ancestry

grumpy
28-05-15, 05:42
Adding to SC's comments I could give you a public tree of mine, and you could go back a thousand years in under a day, with nearly 60 thousand names on the tree.

Go figure.:confused: As far as I am concerned most of the public trees are not worth the ink they were printed on, but the real stuff on Ancestry can be found in things

like parish registers, war records etc etc.

Anne in Carlisle
28-05-15, 08:20
Websites like Ancestry and others, which have the real records from the past have transformed family history research in recent years. If you are lucky you can do much of your research online but that depends on whether the records are available. For example if your ancestors come from West Yorkshire there are thousands of real parish record images to use.

However, I think it is fair to say that the large majority of families cannot be traced back before 1600 if you are lucky and many cannot go back before 1800. Any tree you see on Ancestry which goes further back than that needs to be approached with extreme scepiscism and doubt.

Anne

Olde Crone Holden
28-05-15, 10:00
You haven't traced your family members, you have copied other people's trees and that is not research. All tree hosting sites have a wide selection of rubbish trees on them and that is because it is impossible for the host to verify every tree submitted to them.

No professional genealogist would ever copy someone else's tree.

OC

AntonyM
28-05-15, 10:31
You haven't traced your family members, you have copied other people's trees and that is not research. All tree hosting sites have a wide selection of rubbish trees on them and that is because it is impossible for the host to verify every tree submitted to them.

No professional genealogist would ever copy someone else's tree.

OC

As a professional researcher - I would agree.

I will look at on-line trees, and occasionally use them as "hints" for further research, but never accept any fact (without my own verification) or copy anything from them.

clematised
28-05-15, 11:05
http://www.familytreeforum.com/content.php/58-Getting-Started

Our reference library has an excellent how to Guide for people who are new to Family History research click on the link above in blue to read up on how to get started in researching your own family tree.

Edna

Anne in Carlisle
28-05-15, 11:12
Yes, I agree Antony. Online trees which are properly sourced can be a great time saver in finding the approriate records. I did find one recently which sourced an Ancestry collection I didn't even know existed ..... images of Gretna Green marriage records. I then always examine the image and related records and decide for myself if they refer to the correct oerson.
Anne

Olde Crone Holden
28-05-15, 11:22
On one line of my tree I can go back to 897 AD. This is a work in progress which has taken me more than 40 years. I do not claim it is correct but it is something I would LOVE to discuss and collaborate on with other people who may also have got back that far. However, I wouldn't dream of saying "This is my family tree" because there are many queries and imponderables on it. But it IS compiled from my original research, I haven't just scooped up someone else's tree.

Something I would say to beginners: If you haven't checked the primary sources, what makes you think that anyone else has? Only last week on another site, a member has queried the birth date of a very famous person. This birth date is all over the internet on some very learned sites (including the National Biography site) but our member has looked at the ORIGINAL record....and the internet date is wrong!

OC

Anne in Carlisle
28-05-15, 14:28
Ha! Yes that happened with the only "Famous" person in our One Name Study. His date of birth was manipulated (probably by him) and is stated everywhere. However WE have the birth certificate and it says he was 3 years older than he claimed!!
Anne

Heather Positive Thinker
28-05-15, 14:47
You need to do your own research - copying online trees isnt satisfying and often can be incorrect.

JBee
28-05-15, 15:36
Also without the certificates you could go off on a tangent and research the wrong family as I did when I assumed I knew someone's father's name. You also have to start with yourself and get the certificates of your parents, grandparents etc. You never know what these might reveal - family secrets covered up, no marriage, 2nd marriages, adoption, changes of names, ages etc etc. Until you look you don't know for certain.

I pounced on the only family with the right surname on the census in a certain town - unfortunately my man had died young and his surname had been mis-spelt as was his family. The children of both families had the same or similar first names lol!!!

It was only when I got a marriage certificate that I found I'd wasted a lot of time, effort, money buying incorrect certificates and visiting at great distance records offices and trawling the wrong parish records.

If you want as accurate a tree as possible you have to confirm every detail.

Macbev
28-05-15, 16:02
WE have the birth certificate and it says he was 3 years older than he claimed!!
Anne

Sometimes, not even a birth certificate can be trusted.

OH's g. father, whose birth in Drummanaught, Donegal was registered by his aunt as having taken place 15 Oct 1875, was, confusingly, baptized in Letterkenny, Donegal 22 July 1875. The same aunt was also responsible for registering the birth of a niece, both registrations being lodged 18th Oct 1875.

Grandfather's birthday was celebrated within the family in July. When I queried the discrepancy with Donegal Ancestry, I was told "it was a requirement to register full details of a child's birth within 21 days. Failure to do so invoked a fine and in rural areas particularly, the 21 day deadline for registering births was frequently disregarded. In order to avoid payment of the fine the dates of birth were adjusted to comply with the deadline. Where Church records give the dates of birth these are generally more accurate than those given in civil records, however, variations of up to nine months can occur."

I imagine aunty had to make a special journey in from the farm to the local district registration office and decided to make one trip serve two births.

Janet in Yorkshire
28-05-15, 16:06
My mother's birth surname was Abel (all blonde and blue-eyed, no hint of any gene pool other than Anglo-Saxon.) I found a couple of online trees which started with one of her cousins and took me back through Plantagenet monarchs, biblical times and eventually to the very first Abel, son of Adam and Eve. It even went from Adam to dust, to God.
Absolute rubbish, but I kept on having uncontrollable laughing fits for several days. :D:D

Jay

Janet in Yorkshire
28-05-15, 16:21
Sometimes, not even a birth certificate can be trusted.

OH's g. father, whose birth in Drummanaught, Donegal was registered by his aunt as having taken place 15 Oct 1875, was, confusingly, baptized in Letterkenny, Donegal 22 July 1875. The same aunt was also responsible for registering the birth of a niece, both registrations being lodged 18th Oct 1875.

Grandfather's birthday was celebrated within the family in July. When I queried the discrepancy with Donegal Ancestry, I was told "it was a requirement to register full details of a child's birth within 21 days. Failure to do so invoked a fine and in rural areas particularly, the 21 day deadline for registering births was frequently disregarded. In order to avoid payment of the fine the dates of birth were adjusted to comply with the deadline. Where Church records give the dates of birth these are generally more accurate than those given in civil records, however, variations of up to nine months can occur."

I imagine aunty had to make a special journey in from the farm to the local district registration office and decided to make one trip serve two births.

My grandfather's birth was registered by his mother and the certificate issued on 24 December 1867. (Christmas Eve)
The registrar recorded the date of birth as 25 December 1867 (the day following the registration of the event.) As we all know, registrations cannot be done in advance, LOL. The copy cert I have is a photocopy of the hand-written entry, held by the GRO.
Perhaps I should write to the local office and ask the superintendent registrar if there is also an error on their record, or whether it occurred during a copying out process.

Jay

AntonyM
28-05-15, 16:34
My grandfather's birth was registered by his mother and the certificate issued on 24 December 1867. (Christmas Eve)
The registrar recorded the date of birth as 25 December 1867 (the day following the registration of the event.) As we all know, registrations cannot be done in advance, LOL. The copy cert I have is a photocopy of the hand-written entry, held by the GRO.
Perhaps I should write to the local office and ask the superintendent registrar if there is also an error on their record, or whether it occurred during a copying out process.

Jay

As you say, the GRO certificate is a copy of a copy - as they always are.

The only primary source is the original register entry held by the local registrar - a certificate issued from there may well be different.

webwiz
28-05-15, 18:09
Nothing is absolutely certain in family history. There are only degrees of probability. Even if you have DNA tests against your parents which match this still leaves the possibility that you are in fact the child of an undisclosed identical twin of one of them. The further back you go the more likely that the "facts" you discover are actually false. The skeleton thought to be of Richard III does not match the DNA of a living descendant, indicating that they have either got the wrong body, or, more likely, there has been a NPE in the ancestry of that descendant. Research using mass DNA screening has suggested that a large number of people, maybe a million or so in the UK, are not related to the man they thought was their father. A smaller number, but still thousands, are not related to the person they thought was their mother. And this is without all the possibilities of documentation error.
It is nevertheless an adictive and fascinating hobby, but nobody should be under the illusion that their research is 100% reliable.

Olde Crone Holden
28-05-15, 18:15
Helping a friend whose grandmother had had to send away for her birth cert in order to get a widow's pension but had been surprised to find she appeared to be four years OLDER than she had always thought AND had a middle name she didn't know she had.........long story short, but the GRO had looked for a birth with the parents' names she had given and come up with one in 1899. Unfortunately, that child had died as an infant and my friend's gran was born four years after that and named afted the dead sister! The gran never knew because both her parents died when she was very young and the subject never came up I suppose.

So....4 years extra pension lol and a beautiful headstone that was four years out!

Three pieces of evidence, say SoG. Not always possible of course, but the more evidence you have, the stronger the "facts" become.

OC

Olde Crone Holden
28-05-15, 18:23
Webwiz

You posted as I posted.

I wouldn't ever rely on DNA testing and certainly not as you have laid it out. One VERY famous case where the mother was "proved" not to be who everyone thought she was, was that of Prince Philip who appeared not to be his mother's natural child. OK, anyone fancy telling him that? So they did more work and discovered (eventually) that a rare, but not unknown, change had taken place in the mtDNA and that is why it LOOKED as if he wasn't his mother's child.

DNA is still in its infancy and I would not want to go around ruining people's lives by telling them they weren't biologically who they thought they were, just by using a crude and ill-understood tool. The "one million" with the wrong fathers is, to my mind, that old atavistic male fear that they are being palmed off with another man's child - all women being sl*ts of course. Also - many men are quite aware they are not the father of a child but are very happy to take on that child as their own. It doesn't mean they are being fooled or misled. It MIGHT mean - oh, heaven forfend! - that the science is wrong!

OC

bubblebelle
28-05-15, 19:19
Ha! Yes that happened with the only "Famous" person in our One Name Study. His date of birth was manipulated (probably by him) and is stated everywhere. However WE have the birth certificate and it says he was 3 years older than he claimed!!
Anne

Not really a comment related to the original post, but a neighbour I went to school with and was in the same year, is now in showbiz and is suddenly 14 years younger than me!

As for distant ancestry, I am stuck around the 1750's, I could speculate but most of the fun in family history research is the Inspector Morse type of clue gathering and the occasional reward from these.

You can pick an awful lot of data regarding dates etc, but really the most satisfying part of this hobby building a picture of their life. One of my recent precious finds, is a photo of some graffiti that an ancestors left in a chapel which is now in private ownership and was kindly shared with me by them. This would date to the early 1800's.

JBee
29-05-15, 01:19
Recently visited my great aunt's grave in the US and noticed she'd taken 8 years off her age lol. Must run in the family cause my Mum knocked 2 years off hers lol.

PhotoFamily
29-05-15, 04:47
Recently visited my great aunt's grave in the US and noticed she'd taken 8 years off her age lol. Must run in the family cause my Mum knocked 2 years off hers lol.
Seems like a lot of my ancestors, usually the women, but not exclusively, took years off their declared age. And the next census, it would be a few more!

Sylvia C
29-05-15, 05:28
My mother's parents added years to their ages when they married in 1902 :D

I'm not quite sure why, 'cos they were still underage with the adjusted ages! Grandmother said she was 20, and Grandfather said he was 19 ;D

Grandfather also celebrated his birthday on the wrong day ........... he said it was December 25th 1884, and we always had to go to their house to visit him. That wasn't easy after we moved to the other side of town. It took 2 buses, one into town and then the other out on the other side .......... but they often didn't run on Christmas Day so we had to walk.

After he died, we discovered that his birthday was actually January 9 1885

All I can think of is that his parents had moved his birthday back by 2 weeks so they didn't have to buy 2 lots of presents!

ahavita
29-05-15, 08:35
My mother's parents added years to their ages when they married in 1902 :D

I'm not quite sure why, 'cos they were still underage with the adjusted ages! Grandmother said she was 20, and Grandfather said he was 19 ;D

Grandfather also celebrated his birthday on the wrong day ........... he said it was December 25th 1884, and we always had to go to their house to visit him. That wasn't easy after we moved to the other side of town. It took 2 buses, one into town and then the other out on the other side .......... but they often didn't run on Christmas Day so we had to walk.

After he died, we discovered that his birthday was actually January 9 1885

All I can think of is that his parents had moved his birthday back by 2 weeks so they didn't have to buy 2 lots of presents! But,you have to remember, in XIX c they used 2 calendars, gregorian and julian ( I'm not quite sure in english is the same names).... It was ca 2 weeks between....
Maybe your grandfather was right :) Joanna

Olde Crone Holden
29-05-15, 09:44
ahavita

There was only one calendar in existence in the 1800s in the UK. The two calendars were merged in 1751/2.

One reason for the discrepancy in the birth dates is that there was a fine for not registering a birth within six weeks, so if the registration was late, the parents often adjusted the birth date to avoid a fine, so his birthday may well have been 25th December! Buying two lots of presents wouldn't have been a factor in the 1880s.

OC

ahavita
29-05-15, 10:51
:) If he was born in UK, ok. But Sylvia is from Canada and her grandfather was born .... Were he was born? :/ Joanna

Olde Crone Holden
29-05-15, 11:13
Oh, I had no idea Canada operated two calendars, sorry!

OC

ozgirl
29-05-15, 11:22
Interesting page giving all the info of when countries changed calendars (including why Sweden once had a 30th February)

http://www.tondering.dk/claus/cal/gregorian.php

Anne in Carlisle
29-05-15, 13:06
But none of the calendar changes have any relevance to people allegedly claiming to be ancestors born in 10AD!
Anne

Olde Crone Holden
29-05-15, 14:47
As you were everyone! Canada didn't operate two calendars in the 19th century.

OC

atanerk
30-05-15, 03:54
Yes, in retrospect it's quite apparent that other people's trees have led me astray. Thanks for your prompt, helpful response.

atanerk
30-05-15, 04:03
You haven't traced your family members, you have copied other people's trees and that is not research. All tree hosting sites have a wide selection of rubbish trees on them and that is because it is impossible for the host to verify every tree submitted to them.

No professional genealogist would ever copy someone else's tree.

OC

But I am not a professional genealogist. And I have not made my tree public - it exists solely on my own computer. And, as AntonyM suggests, I never intended to present my tree to even my own family until I knew what was verifiable and what was not. So all is well.

atanerk
30-05-15, 04:18
... I haven't just scooped up someone else's tree.
OC

"scooped up someone else's" sounds a bit like "pilfered". Surely you're not suggesting that I am somehow taking credit for someone else's work, or doing anything dishonest, unethical, inconsiderate or rude, are you?

Sylvia C
30-05-15, 04:45
My grandparents were both born in Lancashire, as was I :)

and Canada was far too much British and French back in the late 1800s and early 1900s to be anything other than in line with one or other of those countries!



OC ............. you may be correct about the 6 weeks. I've just checked his birth certificate, and the birth was registered on the 21st February :)

I hadn't thought of that as a reason until you mentioned it. DOH! :shame:

ahavita
30-05-15, 06:17
Ok,sorry :) 25 Of December is much better as another dates. But.....less gifts;) Joanna

Olde Crone Holden
30-05-15, 12:18
ahavita

You are taking offence where none was intended!

We are all amateur genealogists on here, with one or two exceptions. I was making the point that even if we are amateurs we should aim for standards of research which are laid down by the professional bodies. Otherwise we run the risk of being led astray by poorly researched trees on the internet. And if we all used the same high standards of research then there wouldn't be any fantasy trees to worry about!

"Scooped up someone else's tree" referred to MY work, not yours. I am not accusing you of anything. If I was, I wouldn't hint, I'd use the unequivocal words so that there would be no doubt.

OC

TrevorFranklin
30-05-15, 20:12
I have some trees up on Ancestry.
They are MY trees, created as a way of storing information as I find it, with the target to double check further at a later date.
The tree has undertaken a number of corrections additions as I or others have provided confirmed information.
Just because someone has put a tree on Ancestry is NOT saying it is correct, so more fool anyone who takes information and does not even have the decency to contact the person that they have taken it from to share information.
I was contacted by one so called 'expert' who noticed I had an obvious error on a twig I had not fully checked, who then took it onto themselves to insult me with comments about my quality of research.

If I were publishing a book on the subject (And I am looking to do this for the Pursgloves of Southern England someday), then I would expect every single entry to be fully investigated, but Ancestry is there to HELP amateurs in the genealogy field connect to others who may be researching the same tree, by encouraging collaboration, those who expect it (like Wikipedia) to be 100% correct are fools, even transcriptions by experts have errors that I have provided corrections for.

PDennis
30-05-15, 20:36
I can agree with what everyone is saying and give an example, I have mentioned in the Forum before about a great grandfather who's parents, grandparents I can't find due to lack of information on my great grandfather, but someone who also seems to have him as a relative in their tree has given him parents and grandparents, yet he is not listed anywhere within the family that they have added to their tree, I got in touch and queried it with the tree owner and she said that was who she thinks are the parents etc., of my great grandfather, (granted she did say she could be wrong) the family she has added is actually in The Peerage and although it would be nice to think that I come from these people, he is not mentioned anywhere in the information. As it cannot be confirmed, I will not add him to my tree and I have asked a genealogist to take a look at this branch of my tree for me, I am waiting to hear back from him and will pass any information on to the other family tree owner.

Sylvia C
31-05-15, 00:20
My trees on ancestry are now both private, and can be seen by others only after they have contacted me, and proved to me that there is indeed a very strong likelihood of there being a connection between us.

I made my main tree private about 10 years ago ...... and even that does not have anywhere near the full complement of my father's ancestors on it, partly because I know that there is someone else building a massive tree that includes one branch of mine and she does "acquire" information willy nilly. I will share with her .......... but only under strict conditions!

However I had forgotten that I had set up a very small tree, just 2 names .......... my great aunt and her husband. She was my maternal grandmother's older sister and married at the same church the day before my grandparents. Three days later, they sailed from Liverpool to New York, and lived in Newark NJ for the rest of their lives. I'd set up the tree until I had managed to find the husband's family, and determined where the couple had lived etc etc., then forgot all about it!

She was my mother's godmother, and my mother was named for her ...... I knew her vicariously because Mum used to receive letters from this American aunt up until the mid-1950s.

About 18 months ago, I got a leaf tip that I had a match with another tree

I did ................ with my great aunt and her husband!

The tree owner had taken them without my knowledge or permission and added them to his tree ............... as the parents of some of his ancestors.

It turned out that the parents he was looking for had the same names as gt aunt and husband, were born and married in Lancashire and then emigrated to Newark NJ .............. but around 1820 or so :D

He had them as parents of children born over 75 years prior to their own births :rotfl:

I left a comment on his tree ......... and he was a "good guy". He read the message, and deleted gt aunt and uncle within 3 days.

That little tree is now also private ........ and I haven't got that much further with tracing back the husband's family as he has a very common name. I have all the information after they arrive in Newark, except for actual dates of death (which have to be around the mid-1950s), including the fact that they did not have any children.

wulliam
31-05-15, 13:31
Looking at it from the other point of view, my tree is freely available online (with living people removed of course) so that folk who stumble across it in their own research can get in touch. Inevitably there have been some time-wasters but mostly it's been good. I got a contact last week who researches as thoroughly as I do....and between us (her looking at it from the English side of the family, me from the Irish perspective) have linked all sorts of things together, including finally proving to our satisfaction that we have a common ancestor who fought at Waterloo.

I would never have made nearly so much progress if so many kind people amongst the time-wasters hadn't got in touch.
If people want to waste their time adding details from my tree to theirs then that's their problem. My tree isn't on Ancestry though - it's on my own site.

At one time I did deliberately put a false twig on one branch so that I might catch people out...;)

Anne in Carlisle
31-05-15, 13:37
The thing I'm thinking is at least on Ancestry the tree is yours and can't be edited by anyone else. I am intending the put my trees on there publicly when I get round to it so they are there for posterity (maybe!!) and people can look at them and use them for hints or rubbish them, whatever they like. The tree will stay just as I made it.
Anne

PhotoFamily
31-05-15, 14:16
The thing I'm thinking is at least on Ancestry the tree is yours and can't be edited by anyone else.
Anne

Yes, it remains as you made it, or at least by the standards that Ancestry.com has today (who knows what they may change in the future).

But it's only available to Ancestry members. I came to the conclusion a while ago that one of the features that Ancestry sells are the trees that you and I develop. I found that very irritating.

Now that Ancestry owns FindAGrave, people speculate that it could disappear. I doubt it - that's another feature that Ancestry includes for its members that the users do the development work.

Anne in Carlisle
31-05-15, 14:33
I have not yet got any material on the internet at all so I would be treating Ancestry as a hosting facility to go public with my trees. I'm not asking people to agree with them! I just don't want all the years of work I have done to be lost when I'm not around any more. I know I could make a website of my own but it would disappear when I stopped paying the hosting fees. By that time I won't be bothered who "steals" my family and plenty of folks can tell a duff tree from one which has a lot of work in it.
Anne

Olde Crone Holden
31-05-15, 14:49
It isn't so much that I mind people stealing my work (I do), it's more that I am trying to do my tiny bit towards keeping up the standards of research. I have several trees which are works in progress and are corrected and added to as facts arise. That's not a problem. What I do have a problem with is the trees which are simply blindly copied, rubbish and all, not a single hesitation or even the most rudimentary online checks. That is not family history research and I don't want to do anything to add to that laziness. No, it doesn't matter to ME if other people have complete fantasy trees but - as the OP on this thread has shown - new researchers tend to believe that everything on the internet must be true and that is the danger of rubbish trees. You soon learn, but in the meantime, it can take you down some winding paths to nowhere. Waste of time if nothing else.

OC

Anne in Carlisle
31-05-15, 15:37
But what do you hope to happen to all your work when you shuffle off this mortal coil??? Or maybe you would rather have it all lost than mixed with rubbish?
I keep asking these questions and not getting many suggestions! I'm not planning to go soon (LOL!!) but I do think (like making a will) we need to give it some thought ..... even if its just "That's OK it can all go in the bin"
Anne

Olde Crone Holden
31-05-15, 18:33
Anne

I've left instructions that my paper tree - which is the real, full tree - is to be offered either to SoG, or if they don't want it, to the County Records Office. That's if my family don't want it, of course.

I think I'd rather it were lost than meaninglessly mixed with some rubbish tree, which is the same thing as losing it, really.

OC

TrevorFranklin
31-05-15, 19:25
Basically, if you see a tree on Ancestry and all it has is sources from other trees, ignore it.
If it has sources that are actual records etc, contact them and collaborate.

As for worrying about poor trees, that is what research is about, sorting the chaff from the wheat


It isn't so much that I mind people stealing my work (I do), it's more that I am trying to do my tiny bit towards keeping up the standards of research. I have several trees which are works in progress and are corrected and added to as facts arise. That's not a problem. What I do have a problem with is the trees which are simply blindly copied, rubbish and all, not a single hesitation or even the most rudimentary online checks. That is not family history research and I don't want to do anything to add to that laziness. No, it doesn't matter to ME if other people have complete fantasy trees but - as the OP on this thread has shown - new researchers tend to believe that everything on the internet must be true and that is the danger of rubbish trees. You soon learn, but in the meantime, it can take you down some winding paths to nowhere. Waste of time if nothing else.

OC

Olde Crone Holden
31-05-15, 21:07
Trevor

I'd argue with you there. Research isn't about sorting the wheat from the chaff, it's about consulting original records.

Yes, of course look at published trees if you get stuck. My rule is: the first two pieces of info which are not backed up by any source, I check. If I cannot find any evidence then I abandon that tree as being of no use to me.

OC

wr.
01-06-15, 08:19
Trevor

I'd argue with you there. Research isn't about sorting the wheat from the chaff, it's about consulting original records.

Yes, of course look at published trees if you get stuck. My rule is: the first two pieces of info which are not backed up by any source, I check. If I cannot find any evidence then I abandon that tree as being of no use to me.

OC
Same here OC. Some of my family flagged up as hints on someone else's tree a couple of years ago. I had a look and was taken aback to see that they had copied a lot of members of my tree into theirs, including my photos. I did contact her in the hope of helping her to correct the mistake. I've just had another look and she's mixed even more of my tree into hers.

While amused, I'm also annoyed that it could set someone else off on the wrong track.

Now, if she's very wealthy and wants to leave me some of her millions, then that's a different matter. :rotfl:

JBee
01-06-15, 10:00
Yes that's what I hate is knowing that someone has gone wrong because they've just copied someones tree and when enough people have done that then the wrong tree information is deemed correct when it isn't.

I have found on ancestry my own bfather died when he was 6 in the US - ERM he never went to the US and lived until he was 79 and had 4 children.

I have quite a number of private trees on ancestry and when I see a mistake connected to any one of them I try to help by providing information so they can correct their trees. With one person I wished I hadn't but still, another has partially corrected his tree but still left parents and siblings that I've not found any connection to.

Janet in Yorkshire
01-06-15, 11:52
I find this care-less approach extremely disrespectful to those who have gone before. If one takes it upon oneself to post in a public place life events and details of people who are deceased and cannot respond for themselves, then I think that the very least one can do is GET IT RIGHT. Otherwise, it's like spreading gossip, or just as unproductive as playing Chinese whispers. Responsibility, courtesy and consideration spring to mind.

Jay

Anne in Carlisle
01-06-15, 15:00
I agree, Jay, getting it right is so important. I am specially concious of this when entering the details of infants who died. I feel that by adding them to my tree they are still being remembered.

I know there is a huge amount of rubbish out there but I try to think as I would have done as a novice family historian. Even then I would have wanted to "get it right" and I don't think even for a moment I would have been mislead by the rubbish. Even a moment's thought shows it is unbelievable! My attitude will be (when I take the plunge and go public) that at least my information, in which I am pretty confident will be there, alongside the others for those who come after me and want to "get it right". Of course they may consider my work incorrect and if they have the proof I would be happy about that.

I have noticed that public Ancestry trees which have plenty of sources listed usually come at the top of the list when you do a search, so there is some hope there. the vaguer ones are further down the list.

Anne

Olde Crone Holden
01-06-15, 17:51
Anne

I've been researching for more than 45 years now and I would absolutely LOVE IT if someone spotted that I had made a mistake and told me about it! Or even wanted to discuss it.

Mary Trafford died aged 4. It is on the internet. It's on familysearch, next to her baptism it says "died blah blah, daughter of blah blah". I have seen the original register. Yet more than 20 people claim to be descended from her. None of them can tell me where and when she married, all say "about 1751". One lady at least had the decency to discuss it with me but DOUBTED MY FINDINGS because, she said, the person whose tree she had copied, is a very good researcher. I cannot tell you how furious that makes me, when people don't even need to get off their backsides to check information, but don't. Now of course, it's 20:1 - who will the new researcher believe, the 20 or me?

OC

Anne in Carlisle
01-06-15, 18:15
Ho hum. No easy answers!
Anne

wr.
01-06-15, 20:00
I agree, Jay, getting it right is so important. I am specially concious of this when entering the details of infants who died. I feel that by adding them to my tree they are still being remembered.


Anne

Somebody once told me that there are three stages in dying. The first is when you take your last breath. Second is when your body is laid to rest and the third is the last time your name is ever mentioned.

Sylvia C
02-06-15, 00:40
I've told this story before, but it is a cautionary tale!

My 2nd cousin D and my brother worked together in the mid- to late 1980s to research our mutual grandfather's family. Cousin spent many hours at Somerset House and at the Parish Churches in the 3 villages that were the "family home", poring through records, churchyards and parish registers.

My brother kept me posted as to their findings right up to his death in 1990. I kept those letters.

Cousin D eventually put together a 20 page booklet detailing all the family members descended from the joint ancestor who married in 1740. I was given a copy of this booklet by another of my cousins in Australia who had been able to visit the ancestral village on a trip back to England. She was actually D's aunt so had spent time with him. No-one has since managed to get further back, nor have they corrected very much of his work, it is amazingly accurate.

I start researching in 2003, and discovered there was a One Name Study on the family name. Whoopee!

Over the years, I had forgotten cousin's first name except that it began with D ............. the owner of the ONS was a D, so I assumed it was the same person. I contacted him, and made it clear who I was and that I had the letters from my brother detailing the work they had done together in the 1980s.

I had no response from him, and just let it go after one more attempt.

We went to Australia in 2006 and met up with the Australian family, who informed me that there had been a meeting of the family name in the early 2000s, organised by the ONS cousin. Somehow one cousin had been given a copy of a CD made for that meeting and given to every attendee. Her husband made a copy for me, and gave me the password to open it.

When I looked at the CD a couple of years later, I discovered that my father had disappeared, my brother was "married" to my mother, and I was their child. The fact that brother was not yet 11 years old according to the birth date information seemed to have been completely missed.

I immediately tried again to contact cousin through ONS, sending 2 International Reply Coupons to cover postage as required at that time, no response. I tried again, no response ............ so I emailed the Registrar of the ONS Group. He gave it 6 months (because I was overseas), then contacted the cousin.

Cousin responded by removing his study from the group, and never contacted me.

It took another couple of years before another 2nd cousin from that same family joined GR and got in touch with me. In "talking" together he told me that there had been a major rift between the 6 children for a number of years, partly caused by the fact that one brother had stolen all the family history work done by his older brother.

Yes, they both had names that began with D, and yes, I had got them confused ...... and yes, I was the one who had the real proof that the work had been stolen and then put out by the second brother as his own work.

And, yes ........... that blasted CD is still out there with my brother as my father. I've done my best to correct it, but I'm certain that I have not connected with many of the people who own it.

TrevorFranklin
02-06-15, 00:49
And by consulting the actual records, you ARE sorting the chaff from the wheat, by ignoring incorrect information and making sure what you have is correct.


Trevor

I'd argue with you there. Research isn't about sorting the wheat from the chaff, it's about consulting original records.

Yes, of course look at published trees if you get stuck. My rule is: the first two pieces of info which are not backed up by any source, I check. If I cannot find any evidence then I abandon that tree as being of no use to me.

OC

PhotoFamily
02-06-15, 03:19
I am still exploring WikiTree.com, but they claim to emphasize research, not copying. It is a wiki, so that others may edit the profile of each person - and, if disagreements exist that cannot be settled by inter-researcher-discussion, then there's supposed to be some sort of arbitration.

Olde Crone Holden
02-06-15, 10:33
Photofamily

That sounds interesting, must have a look at that. There are a few major and persistent errors out there that I would love to be able to correct.

OC

Janet
15-06-15, 21:17
Very fed up with a line of mine that was being copied incorrectly by four others,reproduced on Ancestry incorrectly as well as some of the incorrect information in a book produced in the 1930's and which was being reproduced on Wikipedia also incorrectly, i let fly at the first "tree maker" a couple of months ago. This person then contacted me to find out what the correct information was. Well, I am in the process of doing a project on this line, and asked him to wait until I have finished it and I will send him a copy. I told him a few of the mistakes made and because we are now co-operating, he has told me a couple of things I did not know and he is finding other details himself that I already know, and is very keen to have the Wikipedia entry rectified. We have exchanged a number of e mails and hopefully all will be revealed for him when I have completed my project. This sort of co-operation can work if there us a will to do so. I tried to correct the Wikipedia entry myself, but they refused to do it as they said the information they used was contained within the 1930's book! I have the certificates, photographs, postcards and other family history to prove the lineage I have is correct!

Janet