How do I protect my records?
I created my account a few years ago and created records for my entire family and created my tree going back 7 generations. I signed in to update things today and was shocked seeing changes made by someone who, among other things, changed my mother’s name and changed her to Deceased. She’s very much alive!! So is it possible for anyone to just mess up what you’ve worked so hard for? How do I prevent this?
Many thanks in advance. I’m somewhat upset about this :(
You've presented two different issues.
First: profiles of living people are only visible to the person who entered them. This is a privacy measure. If another user has created a profile for your mother and incorrectly set it to "deceased", you can -- and should! -- get this corrected. There are two methods. If the incorrect profile has only been edited by the person who entered it, and said person has been active on FS reasonably recently, then you can use FS's internal messaging system to alert him or her to the error. If the profile has multiple contributors, or if the profile creator is not responsive, you can click "Edit" next to the death data, click Living, then Save. Fill out the reason box and a FamilySearch employee will change the profile's status within a day or so. Once this happens, you will no longer see the profile.
Second: unlike the many separate trees copying and re-copying each other that you find on sites like Ancestry and MyHeritage, FamilySearch's Family Tree is different: it is all one tree that we all work on together. It is open-edit: anyone can contribute anything, after logging in. Like most things in life, this has advantages and disadvantages. You've encountered one of the disadvantages: confused people can cause a mess in someone else's careful work.
The good news is that changes are tracked and can generally be reverted, meaning that you don't need to re-enter data in order to fix things. Granted, sometimes things get so confusing that it's actually easier to re-type, assuming you have the data backed up offline somewhere (which is good practice).1
Welcome to the "Community.FamilySearch" Forum.
I am just another 'lowly' User/Patron ...
Just in passing ...
IF, you had your "Living" Mother, in "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'; as, "Living"; THEN, ... NO OTHER ... User/Patron would have been able to 'see'; or access, that record of her, that YOU had for you Mother; as, that record of her, resides in your "Private Spaces"; and, is ONLY appears and is accessible to/by you.
I would humbly suggest, that ANOTHER User/Patron, has ADDED (ie. "Created), a "Duplicate" version of your Mother, into "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'; but, WITH the 'Status' of "Deceased".
IF, such is the case; THEN, you can access that "Deceased" version of your Mother; and, "Change" the 'Status', from "Deceased", to "Living" - by "Editing" the "Death" Record, to "Living"; and, providing a "Reason Statement".
Please be aware, that:
(1) The "Change" is NOT immediate; as, it must be investigated and considered.
(2) When you "Change" the 'Status', from "Deceased", to "Living", the matter goes to 'FamilySearch' "Support", for consideration (and, investigation).
(3) 'FamilySearch' "Support" investigates; and, if, 'FamilySearch' "Support" agrees with you; and, ratifies your "Change"; then, that "Change" of 'Status', from "Deceased", to "Living", will be upheld; and, implemented/actioned.
(4) When that "Change" of 'Status', from "Deceased", to "Living", has been upheld; and, implemented/actioned; then, the individual/person concerned, will DISAPPEAR from "Public" view; and, into the "Private Spaces", of that User/Patron, who created them.
As an aside ...
The work by 'FamilySearch' "Support", on the matter, may take a day or two, depending upon, their work load, so do not get too concerned by any slight delay.
I hope, that this may help/assist, somewhat.
▬ How do I protect my records? ... Short Answer: You CANNOT ...
▬ So is it possible for anyone to just mess up what you’ve worked so hard for? ... Short Answer: 'Yes'.
▬ How do I prevent this? ... Short Answer: 'No'.
Here an old 'standby' of mine, that I have previously proffered on occasion ...
Most new (and, some old) Users/Patrons DO NOT understand the basic 'nature' and 'premise', of "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch', when they join in.
Please let me explain ...
We do not have our OWN "Tree", in "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'.
We ONLY have "Branches" (ie. Ancestral" lines), that are interconnected, in this SINGLE "One" World "Tree", for all of us, that is, "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'.
"Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch', is NOT like 'On-Line' "Websites" (eg. "Ancestry_com"; or "MyHeritage_com"; or, the like); and/or, 'standalone' personal (computer) programmes (eg, the OLD, now no longer supported, "PAF"; or, "Ancestral Quest"; or, the like).
We DO NOT have "Private"/"Personal" 'Trees', in "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch', like other 'On-Line' "Websites"; and/or, 'standalone' personal (computer) programmes.
We do not even, own; or, manage; and, are NOT even responsible for, the "Deceased" individuals/persons, in "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'.
And, most importantly ...
We DO NOT even, own; or, manage; and, are NOT even responsible for, Our OWN "Deceased" Ancestors/Family/Relatives, in "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'.
"Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch', is built on a "Open Edit" Platform - hence, why any "Registered" User/Patron can "Edit" (ie. Add, Delete; and/or, Change) ANY "Deceased" individual/person, in "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'.
"Collaboration", is a big part, of the "Family Tree" Part, of 'FamilySearch'.
Of course, realistically, one thing that does not always occur, is the "Communications" part of "Collaboration".
We ALL make MISTAKES ...
NONE of us are PERFECT ...
None of us want to have our "Ancestral" Lines 'messed up'; but, unfortunately, it happens.
IF, you, 'see'; or, know of, a MISTAKE, in "Family Tree", of 'FamilySearch'; THEN, simply, address/fix it.
You have the OPTION to 'Message' the User/Patron who made the mistake, if you so desire.
You can do such:
(1) BEFORE; or,
making any "Change"/"Correction", the choice is yours.
Remember just be courteous in any "Messaging".
You never know, it may be, a LONG LOST Relative; or, an EXTENDED Relative, you did not even know about.
That is exactly why, many Users/Patrons, ALSO maintain their own PRIVATE "Database(s)" (ie. Copies) of their "Ancestral" Lines , on 'On-Line' "Websites" (eg. "Ancestry_com"; or "MyHeritage_com"; or, the like); and/or, 'standalone' personal (computer) programmes (eg, the OLD, now no longer supported, "PAF"; or, "Ancestral Quest"; or, the like).
All that one can really do, is 'Monitor', one's "Ancestral" Lines, for 'wayward' CHANGES, by OTHER Users/Patrons.
Nothing more, nothing less ...
As an aside ...
IF, you were not already aware; THEN, ...
In the "Family Tree" Part, of "FamilySearch' ...
We have the ability to "Watch" (Oops, sorry, 'old school', "Follow"), up to a MAXIMUM of x4000 individuals/persons, at any given time.
It is a matter, of "Following", one's MOST important Ancestors.
Just to keep on top, of any 'wayward' CHANGES.
I check, the "Changes" to those that I "Follow", on a "Daily" Basis; so that, I can keep on top of things.
More often that not, nothing needs to be done; but, at least, I have the opportunity, to be abreast of things; as, they happen/transpire/unfold.
I know, that this certainly does not help/assist; but, I hope, that this may provide you with, some additional, insight; and, perspective.
Just my thoughts.