How is a dispute settled when individuals cannot agree upon whose family tree a person belongs to?
I discovered an error in our family tree, defined why I was sure it was an error, provided sources to substantiate my claim, evidence to refute the previous claims, and opened a discussion hoping to clarify any differing viewpoints by asking for sources that were not available to those of us following the same individual. Instead of receiving any discussion or additional sources to show how I may have been in error, someone deleted all of my entries and changes and replaced it all with the same incorrect information that existed before. It will be impossible to proceed forward on this line until this is resolved. I am certain of my research, but I'm also open to any additional sources of which I am not aware. What is the process to have this kind of issue mediated?
Your question will be forwarded to the Family Tree team for review and assistance. You may be contacted by that team if they need more information.0
Here are some help articles that may assist you. https://www.familysearch.org/en/help/helpcenter/article/how-can-i-prevent-other-people-from-making-inaccurate-changes-to-family-tree at the bottom of this article are several other related articles that may help as well.
Another option is to keep your own private database of your family. Here is a link that will help you with that: https://www.familysearch.org/en/help/helpcenter/article/how-do-i-find-partner-products?articleVariant=public select the Family Tree Management under the FamilySearch Solutions Gallery. There are many options that will allow you to share data back and forth from FamilySearch but you have your own private database.
FamilySearch is a public tree and often people change things and give additional information. It appears that you are doing your homework and providing sources, discussions and collaboration. Sometimes that does not work. You may want to look at some of the Family Tree management options.
Hopefully this will help.
Thank you for contacting FamilySearch. It has been a pleasure helping you. Best wishes as you continue finding records for your family.0
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
Whilst fully understanding your position - I sometimes spend up to two full days straightening out the mess another user has caused on one of the branches I am working on - I'm afraid you just have to accept these consequences are fairy inevitable when working on an open-edit project like Family Tree. Sadly, FamilySearch says it does not have the resources to provide a facility for arbitration, such as you suggest. Therefore, these "edit-wars" will break-out from time to time and you just have to hope the "perpetrators" (i.e those careless or unreasonable users who insist they are right, in spite of all contrary evidence) will give-up and go away when you stand firm.
As suggested, we all make mistakes (even close relatives of those involved), so - whilst not suggesting you are the one in the wrong - hopefully you will be calm and polite in dealing with this person, as they might be equally convinced they have the correct detail.
There are a number of users who have left Family Tree over issues similar to yours. Personally, I just persevere because I feel the benefits in using the program do outweigh the hardships - in spending lots of time in correcting errors, instead of progressing with more productive activities within the Tree.3
Julia Szent-Györgyi ✭✭✭✭✭
As others have pointed out, unfortunately, FamilySearch does not have an arbitration process. The Tree here is unmoderated and uncurated, creating a case of "may the most persistent contributor win".
If reverting the incorrect changes, adding copious notes and sources, and spelling out your reasoning don't help -- that is, if the other user engages in another round of the edit war -- then you have a few options:
You could detach the "offending" branch and re-create it correctly. When you remove the relationships, use the reason box to indicate that you do not believe that the current conclusions and relationships belong to your relatives, but due to recurring incorrect changes, you're abandoning the now-repurposed profiles and starting anew.
You could switch to one of the curated-model communal trees, such as WikiTree or Geni. Like most things in life, they all have their advantages and disadvantages; perhaps one of them will suit you.
Or, you could message the other person (again), wait a while, and then make your corrections again, and then lather, rinse, repeat, as needed. At least on FamilySearch, you can actually do something about the errors, unlike on the individual-tree sites, where the best you can do is reject the system's suggestions about other people's errors to propagate.1
Thank you for the informative articles, however, I don't feel that this answer has adequately addressed the issue that has been raised. I feel that I have followed the protocols mentioned in the articles. I am confident that my research in harmony with my sources and detailed explanation of my findings would stand alone to show the need for these corrections to be made. If the option to pursue a private database is available I would think that the person with the incorrect information without sources would be the more viable candidate to be invited to take advantage of that option. The correct information should be available on the open FamilySearch database in order to allow this confusing error to be removed and the work to proceed forward unencumbered for all other family members. This line has been a dead end unnecessarily for many years. I have been able to find the evidence to show this fact along with sources to help us move forward. I would think that this reasoning is more in line with the goal of FamilySearch.
It is not my intention to be difficult or unreasonable in my effort to arbitrate these differences of interpretation of the facts. I would welcome the opportunity to work with this individual and find common ground, but I think that it is unreasonable to suggest that I seek another option to provide information unless I am shown that I am the one in error. I was hopeful that an unbiased third person could simply look at the sources and help both sides arrive at the same conclusion. My intent is to open up a clogged dam for the stream of information to flow freely, not to discredit anyone. I don't want to impeded the work of this other individual by making these changes, however, if incorrect work is allowed to move forward at the expense of that which is correct, then 2 errors are being allowed to continue.
If my approach and understanding of this work are not in harmony with the goals of FamilySearch please tell me so and I will endeavor to make the needed adjustments in both areas. I personally know too many people who have been frustrated with similar scenarios and who gave up family history research because of some well meaning, but uniformed, or uneducated individuals creating errors that were allowed to persist. We all make mistakes, I have made too many myself, but when errors are discovered and sources provided to show those errors, the errors should be eliminated and the mistakes corrected. I think it was a terrible mistake for those individuals I referenced to have quit doing this important work. I have no plans of quitting on this work, but I think there needs to be a little more support given to those making the efforts to provide sources, explanations, discussion opportunities, etc,, to keep the work moving forward. The work is being hastened and these kinds of impediments need to be addressed with the same kind of urgency.
I apologize if I have been offensive in any way with my comments. I am grateful for any help I may receive and will endeavor to respect the responses I receive.
I too hope that this helps in clarifying my position and question.3
You do not say what type of sources you are using. While you may believe you are using valid sources, you may be using something that has been debunked or a "source" that is simply not acceptable to many such find a grave or an ancestry family tree. If you are using correct valid sources, then you just have to keep changing. But also keep in mind, that a similar name does not mean you have the right person. I often find someone trying to add sources from England to a family that has been in the colonies for 2 or 3 generations. Or a revolutionary war database attached to someone who died in the 1500's. Or a "photo" of a person who died in the 1700's.I know personally when I see that kind of thing, I change everything back immediately as I can tell the person is not doing proper research, and I no longer trust anything they enter.
Now, if you are using valid sources, well there are always those who refuse to "give up their line" not understanding it was never their line to begin with. I have been called every name imaginable on here because a man refused to look at the proof I was explaining to him. Said I would have to hand it to him. that proof, was actually only visible while looking at another profile to prove they were not the same person. It is an everyday battle to keep some of these lines straight.1
If you want others to evaluate the evidence and review the tree, then please share the relevant PIDs and briefly state the point in dispute.1
I appreciate those who took the time to respond to my question. With all due respect, I see no reason for including the details of this dispute for others to evaluate since there is no arbitration process in place within FamilySearch. I already have individuals from both affected lines of research who recognize the problem and have made efforts to rectify the situation without success. There is only one individual who can halt the propagation of this error and that is the person who refuses to concede his point of view in spite of census records, marriage records, birth and death records, etc. Restoring or unmerging the records after changes are made until one of the parties eventually concedes seems to be the only recourse offered by FamilySearch to address this issue. However, I was reminded by one of my family members that another recourse would be to pray for this individual. I'm sure this situation will eventually be resolved by the application of both methods.
Thank you for your time.2
Indeed, Family History work and Missionary Work are One Great Work: of redemption and reconciliation.1
I am experiencing similar problems with other users making changes to my family in FamilySearch family tree. Right now I am working on a Research Report such as we learn to write when studying to become an accredited genealogist. I learned to write these reports from classes I took in the online genealogy classes at Salt Lake Community College and in the Research Like a Pro class (familylocket.com). I am developing my writing skills for these reports and learning more about genealogy research standards. I am hopeful that other users will pay attention to a professionally written report. At least, it should be easier to replace one document than to restore multiple sources. I will let this group know how my efforts work out.2
I had that problem and my family had done a DNA test to verify connections. A family member still refuses to see eye to eye. I think some people don’t want family lines to be connected for various reasons. It could be because they don’t see the connections through records, there could be some family secrets connected, or issues with race.0