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When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 3 Jun 2012 7:42AM GMT
Classification: Query
What, if anything, can be done when you discover that someone else's tree has included your ancestors but their tree is seriously flawed and it is obvious that there is actually not a connection?

I have found another persons family tree where one of my ancestors has been included, even though a quick look at various census records, locations, dates of birth, death, etc. quite quickly prove there is no connection and they have attached the wrong person to their tree.

They have also included all of this ancestors descendants and photographs.

I have sent them a message and pointed out the error but have not received a reply.

Is there anything else I can do, other than make my tree Private?

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 3 Jun 2012 12:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 3 Jun 2012 1:10PM GMT
"What, if anything, can be done...other than make my tree Private?"

Making your tree private (an option which I use), you will almost certainly neutralize your most effective tool for correcting genealogical misinformation. If you elect to keep your tree "private", create a smaller tree containing your strongly sourced data and make it public. It will, more than likely, eventually prevail over the misinformation.

That being said, if the thrust of your point is to advocate for some type of "intervention" when tree owners are unresponsive to making corrections, other than alerting ACOM to some legitimate copyright violation, you're tilting at windmills here. The right to be wrong is integral to freedom of expression. While you're free to curse the darkness, it's better to light a candle.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 3 Jun 2012 3:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
People who grab ones ancestor in the wrong tree are usually just clickophiles anyway and probably will never pay attention to your messages and really don't care. They probably never even think about it because they are so proud to have X amount of names in their trees. I would send messages every once in a while to remind them but other than that, there is not anything you can do. My gg grand father had a very common name-James Johnson-and there are several trees with him included which are completely wrong. I have sent messages to the tree owners telling them that he must have been a miracle man because he was living in two different states at the same time in 1850 with two different families. It's just an exercise in futility. Once in a while you might get a reply and a person will correct their error and thank me for giving them the right information. I guess you could say that is my reward.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 3 Jun 2012 5:48PM GMT
Classification: Query
Yes, there is something you can do, which centers on realizing that you are using your brain-power much more effectively than the clickophile has.

Another element that can be difficult to internalize, especially if you've put a lot of thought and energy into working out accurate genealogical relationships, is that none of us "owns" our relatives. Aside from legal privacy and slander strictures regarding the living, anyone has a legal right to say anything they wish (such as publishing it within a tree).

There is so much that is silly, impossible or merely wrong on the internet, among opinions of the population at large, and within material published in the past, there is no point thinking that others' views generally can be "corrected" -- whether in matters of science, religion, politics or genealogy.

So lighten your load: if you take satisfaction from doing the best you can do, what others do will bother you a lot less.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 4 Jun 2012 12:26AM GMT
Classification: Query
The best things you can do - take a deep breath or a walk around the block or recite the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Clickologists will always be clickologists. So long as the ACOM hint algorithm presents wiggling leaves, someone will be around to click on them.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 4 Jun 2012 1:03AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks Everyone,

I am beginning to understand that some people don't actually want to do any research and just assume that a Hint means that it must be true.

Seems such a shame to care so little about those who came before.

Thanks again.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 4 Jun 2012 1:20AM GMT
Classification: Query
Ethelredtwo,

Yes, it is a shame not to care, but we have to remember the target audience - re the television ads - "you don't have to know anything" or words to that effect.

I subscribe for the access to multiple databases. Period.

I have had cousins ask for my help, and I've spent hours and days explaining, but the wiggling leaves hold their interest better than serious research.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 4 Jun 2012 6:13AM GMT
Classification: Query
I remember getting a little hot when someone took my dad and my grandfather. I don't care so much about the distant relatives, but I really don't care to have my dad stuck on some stranger's tree. It's just, well...creepy. I did contact this person and finally they removed him (after multiple messages). So far, so good as I haven't seen him attached to anyone else's tree. I guess he was removed before a clickophile found him.

My Aunt Bea was not so fortunate. My trees are private now, for this reason.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 7 Jun 2012 1:23AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 7 Jun 2012 1:32AM GMT
The best thing to do is to document your own tree well, including making notations in the text for events if explanations are simple or including writing a research note as a "story" to explain the evidence and your conclusions for what you have in your tree.

What and who other people put in their trees is up to them. You can alert them to a problem, but if they do not correct it, it is their problem and not yours, as long as you have documented yours well.

Re: When an ancestor is wrongly included in someone else's Ancestory tree

Posted: 7 Jun 2012 2:44AM GMT
Classification: Query
My tree is extremely well documented. A 4th cousin recently asked for my help. We are connected on his paternal side, which is my maternal side, and I shared a boatload of information, plus I researched his maternal side much farther back than I normally would, since he was "new." He copied all, but he also copied everything from anybody with a similar name. The result? his "tree" has grown from 200 people to 6000+ people in less than 30 days. He has most people listed 3, 4, 5 times and has connected to a few hundred trees, most of which have no connection to our family.

I have coached, counseled, begged and pleaded, but he keeps clicking on every leaf that wiggles. He has done zero research - only copying from every possible tree with a similar name. Most names in his tree are at least bigamists and worse, since they are seen to be living in multiple states, with multiple spouses and offspring in the same year. After repeated attempts to modify his behavior (remember - he sought me out; he asked for my help), I gave up. He no longer has access to my tree.

Yesterday I received a begging email, wanting access. I told him he could have access if he cleaned up his tree. I reminded him that I had shown him the duplicates, triplicates (and worse - he has his own parents twice, and our shared earliest ancestor 4 times) and how to find and fix. His reply "Sorry, it was a request for one item. It will not happen again."

The worrying piece - this person is a university professor in literature and communications. What does that say about the educational system?

Of course, I am worried that the gene may be shared, and I only hope it came from his off-side:)
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