"GEDCOM DATA"-- is this stuff somehow foolproof and should I heed it?? What is it exactly?
I've got a set of 4th Great Grandparents (Allen Smith & Piety Watt) for whom I seem to be about the only living person interested in finding records (vs. undocumented/ non-referenced hearsay) to prove out Allen's and Piety's parents' identities, siblings, etc for more historical knowledge.
I've worked diligently for years on them over on Ancestry- and here at FS- and smaller attempts elsewhere. Those searches and working through ideas has helped me learn about others of the same surname in the region, which probably are distant cousins-- but I am still looking for the people we have in common with all those probable cousins, i.e., my 5th?, 6th?, 7th? further? Great Grandparents, or even definite siblings of theirs.
SO, imagine my excitement when I find a record linked to one of them that is also attached to someone else!! ONLY to go open that id and see entered for 'the reason this is correct' simply read "GEDCOM DATA," ... no sources or mention of anything seen or heard that might support anything at all. At first I thought this "GEDCOM DATA" must mean DNA evidence, or something with some fact behind it. However, I dug around a little before posting this question and have surmised this isn't the case. Disappointing. Frustrating, too.
My questions then:
- Is GEDCOM DATA potentially just someone's guesses from another site (like Ancestry, etc.), or is there more to it? What is it exactly?
- Should I pay any attention to this stuff when it seems in contradiction to what I have found and I can't otherwise find any support for it?
- IF there were sources/reasons attached to the information in the original location, would it somehow be indicated here? Or is 'GEDCOM DATA' all that can show up, regardless of how many sources supported the data in its original location (perhaps because that level of information is not extracted with the data obtained by FS)?
- Who actually enters this "data" into FS/ FT? ( I did think briefly that it's someone working through their section of the tree. I'm now getting the idea that its not typically anyone with any ties to the person or their particular area of the tree- that these are large numbers of files extracted from another source and imported into the FS database via a FS volunteer/employee manually creating them as an assigned project.)
I will sometimes merge IDs while searching around when I can clearly tell they are indeed the same person. However, some of the would-be duplicate people pertaining to my Allen & Piety mission that are only supported by "GEDCOM DATA" will have a slightly different birth date, or maybe the wrong parents, or something else just enough different that I leave it alone, unsure if they are unique people or not. My hunch is that they are the same and that incorrect information is being imported with the GEDCOM DATA batches. I hope my hunch is wrong, because the duplicates (if they are) are adding a lot of noise and impeding a cohesive tree.
I'm guessing that most users run into this at some point (I seem to have hit upon a massive amount!). It would be useful- even responsible- for FS to have a user alert about what GEDCOM DATA is and isn't and how to factor it in when found for someone in your tree section. If such already exists, I've somehow missed it. Apologies if that's the case and you've had to tell me to go read it!
Brandi (who wishes people, especially from 1900 back to the BC era, would have had the good sense to leave their biography, all supporting documents, and answers to any likely questions, including a self-sketch- if not a painting or picture of themselves- in a universal repository completely safe from destruction)