Apparent incorrect entry on my tree.
I am somewhat new to Family Search and have really enjoyed finding out about my ancestors. However, I believe I have run into problem. My great-grandfather (b.1859) and almost all of his relatives were born/died in the Ohio/Indiana area. The entry for his father is the exact name (b. 1819) but he and almost all of his relatives were born/died in South Carolina. The only child not born in South Carolina has the same name and birth date as my great-grandfather. From what I have observed, very few people during this time period moved long distances from their roots. This entry for what would be my great-great grandfather just does not look right. I do not know how to correct this possible error. Tried to verify the fathers name of my great-grand-father but only found one reference to a John Holliday. Maybe I should erase everything and start over. Any suggestions would be helpful.
In a collaborative tree like FamilySearch's, the one thing you definitely can't do is "erase everything and start over". That would potentially irretrievably delete someone else's work, and unless someone was entering outright fiction (which is very rare), those people did actually exist and their profiles should not be deleted.
It sounds like your family in Ohio/Indiana has been conflated with a different family in South Carolina. Unfortunately, such errors are part and parcel of the shared, open-edit nature of FamilySearch's Family Tree, but the good news is that another consequence of the open-edit framework is that you can fix it. Granted, yes, this involves figuring out not just what's wrong, but also what's right, and that latter task may not be so easy. (If it were, other users would not have made the errors that you see.)
While starting with a broad search by name can have good results, there's quite a bit of luck involved. Consider the following:
- Not everything was recorded. People on a rural farm could live their entire lives without ever encountering a clerk or pastor who had any reason to write down their names.
- Of what was recorded, not all of the records survive. In fact, given the fragility of paper, sometimes it's surprising that anything does survive, especially the further back you go.
- Of what survives, not everything has been digitized (scanned or photographed). I think most things in most archives are still in the same boxes or on the same shelves where they were filed on acquisition, decades or even a century or so ago.
- Of what has been digitized, not everything has been put online. There is a common misconception that "digitized" means "online", but it's false: making things available on the internet is a non-trivial task, requiring complex digital infrastructure (server space and bandwidth) as well as programming time. There are also often legal complications due to copyright and privacy laws.
- Of what's online, not everything has been indexed. If it isn't indexed, then no amount of creative searching by name is going to turn it up, because despite recent advances, computers still can't read old documents.
- Even if a document has been indexed, the index may not be on FamilySearch.
- Even if the index is on FamilySearch, there may be mistakes in it, causing your person or event not to show up in searches.
I'm sure you've heard the old joke about how the three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location. Well, it applies equally if you replace "real estate" with "genealogy". The "where" determines what sort of records were kept and when, and the further fate of those records is also highly dependent on the place. I suggest you combine this with the usual genealogy advice of starting with what you know and working your way back: figure out where your ancestor lived, learn everything you can about that place's recordkeeping, and then use what you find out to locate records of the preceding generation. The Research Wiki on FamilySearch can help with this, as can local historical societies and general web searches.4
@georgeroberts68 since you are new to Family Tree, the first suggestion I have is that you take plenty of time to get familiar with the system. Start with your parents and grandparents, make sure they have complete information, see who else has been working on their records, read through all their sources, review any hints on their records and see if they should be attached or not. Check out ever button, link, and icon on the Family Tree pages. In particular take time to get familiar with the Change Log, including watching this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvDgxulfroc and this: https://fh.lib.byu.edu/2022/05/27/more-mysteries-of-the-change-log-revealed-kathryn-grant-26-may-2022/ It might even be best to start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBc6Q_bSHlw and go through her whole series.
Then when really comfortable, go back to your great-grandfather and check out everything currently on his record, see what is documented and what is not and take a look at his Change Log. If you are sure he was born in Ohio/Indiana and it doesn't make sense that all of his siblings were born in South Caroline, it is very possible that two different men from two different states were merged incorrectly and that has be fixed. Or you may have just learned something you didn't know about the family.
In any event, don't change anything just because it doesn't look right. Only change things based on clearly documented evidence.
Your comment that people didn't move much may not be accurate for the time period in question since your great-grandfather was born in 1859. The 1860's were the days of "Go west, young man!" Almost all my great-grandparent, or their parents, moved from Europe or the eastern US to the western US in the late 1840's to 1860s. The Gold rush started in 1848. The Oklahoma land rush was in 1889. People in the US in the second half of the 1800s were very mobile. Moving from South Caroline to Ohio would have been nothing.
To take a concrete example, my great-grandfather was born in 1853, just a few years before yours. He was the eighth of nine children. The first was born in Ontario, the next four were born in Iowa, the last four were born in Utah.2
And just to illustrate that names aren't unique identifiers, not even when combined in relationships: I just found a marriage record that translates to "Stephen Miller, 48-year-old widower from [nearby city], after the required three proclamations married Elizabeth White, the widow of the late Stephen Miller of [local town]." (Mrs. Miller may be my 6th great grandmother, but I haven't found her first marriage, so I can't tell for sure.)1
We have been through this before and I thorught it was corrected. Yes, the obit for Anna Cuthbert Taylor said she was survived by my father Joseph Taliaferro Taylor, Jr. I have my faTHER'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND HIS MOTHER WAS THEODORA GAILLARD HUGUENIN TAYLOR AND HIS FATHER WAS HUGH CARTER TAYLOR. My father's parents were unable to raise him and his uncle and his wife fostered them. Anna Cuthbert Taylor had her overies removed shortly after her marriage to Joseph Taliaferro Taylor MD arount 1900 and therefore could not have given birth to my father who was born 1907. Also "Doc" was my father's nickname not his first name, please change that also. How can someone completely erase facts and put nonsense in? You all have made me NOT who I am. Yet, I am in National Society Colonial Dames of American through my REAL grandmother and they only accept PROOF - real proof - such as goverment records and church records. How can we keep anyone else from changing these facts??????????????? Anna Elizabeth Taylor Blythe0
Why am I listed as AnnaBlythe1?0
@AnnaBlythe1, you are listed as AnnaBlythe1 because that is apparently your account name here.
Not sure how you got to this post here in Communities, but it would have been better to start your own post since it doesn't appear to have anything to do with George's.
If someone has changed the information on your relatives based on an actual document, so in good faith, but a document that you know is incorrect, then all you need to do is review the information, repair it, put a thorough note under Collaboration and anywhere else someone might see it about why the obituary is wrong. Be sure to leave it attached as a source and put that full explanation as a note on the obituary source.
You keep others from changing facts by following problematic ancestors, consistently correcting changes, messaging those who make the changes to educate them, not criticize them. If every time an incorrect change is made you figure out why and document why the error occurred, and keep adding all the sources and documentation you can find, then eventually all your cousins will learn what the facts are and stop changing things.3