If you are on social media, follow family history blogs or attend society meetings you might have seen people moaning about the FamilySearch tree. “People keep changing MY tree.” “There are so many mistakes.” Then more recently with RootsTechConnect about to start: “My Relatives at RootsTech are Rubbish.”
“People keep changing MY tree”
The FamilySearch tree is not your tree it is a shared tree where anyone that is logged in can change.
The best way I have found to avoid this is to add sources to prove why you added, amended or deleted something. Mind you I do have to try and not be sarcastic when someone makes changes to people I am related to in the tree. We can all get frustrated. For example, the person that married off a direct male ancestor to a second wife that lived in the USA. It would have been impossible for him to sail between the USA and England and have all so many children in two countries.
“There are so many mistakes”.
Yes, this can also be true. The skill levels of people attending to the tree vary from beginners to experienced so expect some mistakes. Some are from people that just accept the hints without reviewing them for accuracy. Some sources might have errors that add to errors in the trees. Sometimes people use an index and do not have access to the original document so miss transcription errors. The way errors can happen are numerous. I know I have even made some myself that others have fixed or I have fixed when I discovered them. For example, adding the same person twice when I thought that the first addition had not worked. Or adding to the wrong generation when a string of family first names is the same.
How do I handle this problem? I do not try to fix the tree every time I visit the FamilySearch tree. You could spend a lifetime improving the tree. What I try to do is fix significant errors that make a difference to what I am doing at the time. Why I select things I am working on is because then the information about that person is more top of mind. It is more likely I have my own family tree to hand with documents and sources about this person. Then I can easily check any changes I am making are correct.
This leads me to the next comment:
“My Relatives at RootsTech are Rubbish”
Over the past week, I have been checking My Relatives at RootsTech. In comparison to some USA genea-mates that have thousands of connections I only have a few genuine connections, in the teens. I looked a the tree to see if any of the branches I had added came to an end and did not join back into the big tree.
The chart format is one of the easiest ways to find ancestors where a branch stops with them. (If you are wondering why I have so many gaps – it is because my area of interest is 1800 and later.)
I found James Ireland’s mother Cornelia Steedman was missing. I started the process to add her to the tree. When you try to add a person the system checks for people that might be this person who is already in the tree. Then you can connect rather than add a new person, creating duplicates. One was suggested, I checked her out and her vital details and more matched so added her.
Quickly I got 138 relatives at RootsTech. Not through Cornelia Steedman but through her ancestors. In particular one Rachel Henderson from the USA. Cornelia (and siblings) were born in Scotland. A source for Cornelia had Rachel Herd as her mother. Plus I had no good sources confirming Henderson as her mother. So I removed Rachel Henderson and made Rachel Herd Cornelia’s mother with notes and the source. I did not review all the siblings even though many of these may be wrong because I did not have sources to clarify the relationship.
Most of my Relatives at RootsTech now seem realistic. I will be avoiding making contact with people who are not relatives and investigating sections of trees not relative to my research.
The rest of this series Ready for RootsTech.
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