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Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 6:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
This is my most valuable tip to avoid adding the wrong people to your tree as parents:

Almost every day on ancestry.com, I come across people being listed in trees as the parents of someone that they can not logically be parents of. I constantly find instances where the child and parents are all born within five to eight years of each other....or the child is born
years BEFORE their parents are born (not possible)....or the parents are born 300 years after the child (child born in 1150, parents listed as born in 1470). Or maybe a listed parent died in infancy...birth and death year are the same, then someone goes on to make that dead infant a parent in their tree.

What amazes me is that these inaccurate, impossible relationships are then copied by hundreds and hundreds into their trees as factual. When you see the same parents listed in hundreds of trees, most people just assume that they are accurate. When you find such an error, it is a
really monumental task to try to notify each and every tree owner of that error, so it can be corrected.

I've developed a way that could help avoid all of this from happening. If users could be educated to apply this one reasonableness test before adding anyone to their tree: Examine the inter-locking relationships between the birth dates of the child/parents/grandparents bond and ask yourself....is this reasonable? is this even possible? If the parents are not of child bearing age (as with a "died at birth" or age five father), or the parents are born after the child, it is probably not accurate and shouldn't be copied into your tree. I even put an "AGE FIVE" between their first and last name on my tree to warn others not to try to make them a parent.

Inter-locking birth date relationship between child/parents/grandparents bond does can not prove that someone is a parent of one of your ancestors, but through applying the reasonableness test, it sure can eliminate some of them you'll find online in a flash as not being the true parents you are searching for!

That only now leaves us with what to do with all those errors that have been copied into hundred and hundreds of online trees. I have proposed to ancestry.com that there be an online "repeated error correction form" that one could fill out when a often repeated error like those above are found, The error form info could then be examined and confirmed and all those who's tree contained the error
could be simultaneously contacted with a request to review their listing...so that they could correct it if they were so inclined. The only thing is whether or not ancestry.com is interested in correcting such errors or not and whether they will find a way to do this. I've also proposed that ancestry.com include a reasonableness check into their online and offline tree software that checks for such errors
before new people are added to the tree and that at least a "warning" be flashed before adding the suspected error is added. They could even add a warning to others if that person is added to the tree over the advice of the warning.

Of course, if newbys would be advised to keep their trees "private", making it viewable by "invitation" to family and friends, until they learned what they were doing.....then take it "public" if they wished,it would keep the quality and reliability of the information listed a lot more accurate for everyone.

These are the things that drive me absolutely nuts when I run across them on a daily basis. A few suggestions on how to go about remedying them.

Thanks, and feel free to reply with your thoughts on this!

Re: Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 10:23PM GMT
Classification: Query
False family members and ancestors are rampant among ACOM trees. The most notable part of your post is "If users could be educated...". The newbies, as you referred to, have bought into, (lock, stock and barrel), the ACOM commercials that tell them they don't have to know anything except start searching. Education about how to research, analyze, and evaluate records and information is a must for those who want to trace their families.

There are numerous, NUMEROUS, threads about this subject on various ACOM boards which have been posted for more than a decade and even approaching 2 decades now. I don't know that there is really an answer to the problem except for the more experienced family historians to try to help the new ones when they see a need and opportunity to do so.

Re: Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 11:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
Good info here. Now can you delete your duplicate posts, please?

Re: Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 12:48AM GMT
Classification: Query
I'd really like to leave it up in those few locations, as it is now. Those who can benefit from that info the most, should have the opportunity to stumble upon it in more than one post....which they might not ever find in the first place.

duplicate posts just might prove beneficial to those who only discover any one of those posts.

Re: Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 1:33AM GMT
Classification: Query
It's on the same board, not different locations; thus, it's spam. Please delete your dupes.

Re: Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 4:12AM GMT
Classification: Query
done, dupes deleted

Re: Learn this trick to keep "false ancestors" out of your tree!!!

Posted: 22 Dec 2012 4:57AM GMT
Classification: Query
I will admit that when I first stared on ACOM I was guilty of adding just about anybody through Member Trees and not really sourcing the data aside from doing the obvious date checks that you mentioned. I'm currently going back through my tree and confirming and correcting as much as possible.

In my wandering around the forums I've noticed that a lot of people complain about others doing this without digging deeper into the source material, and quite frankly I wonder why you all waste time complaining about it.

Yes, some people, like myself originally, are going to just add whoever comes up in a Member Tree hint, and if you don't like that I would just suggesting getting over it and moving on. Is not something you'll ever be able to fix largely because most people engaging in that behavior don't care.

Others who want to get serious and educated, like myself, will learn rather quickly and "grow up" genealogically, so to speak. When those people come to you and engage you for your advice and wisdom you're time will be much better spent educating those people than trying to lead a horse, that doesn't feel like drinking, to water.
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