Surname only records added to end-of-line people
On very rare occasion, I have added a record consisting of a surname only with no other information as the only way to connect two people known to be siblings for which there is no other known information concerning the parents. But, over the past few months I have seen different people repeatedly adding such surname only records on multiple end-of-line ancestors that have no known siblings. These record contains no given names, no dates, no places, no events, i.e., just generic "Smith", "Jones", "Brown", etc., tacked on as the parent to an end-of-line person with the same surname. The data is not sufficient for LDS temple ordinances. Some of these end-of-line ancestors are high profile with lots of descendants and are often subject to addition of unproven and sometimes very fictional parents coming from secondary sources. I watch for those kinds of unsupported additions to remove them whenever necessary. However, if I do not watch these generic single surname records, they will morph into the unproven and sometimes fictional parents without notice only to mislead others. I have already seen it happen. What I would like to do is unlink them, but is there any official practice regarding these kinds of additions.
A large percentage of those contributing to the FSFT are not members of the LDS Church and have no interest in or knowledge of the procedure for ordinances.
I'm a heavy contributor to the FSFT; I'm not a member of the church. I only add a surname only when I have known siblings to connect, but I know many others who add a surname-only profile both on the FSFT and other platforms.4
I too would be interested in guidance or polling on what 'proper Family Tree convention' should be in this circumstance. My preference - as Áine mentions above - having parent-child relationships indicating evidence of a surname could thus result in such a conclusion (enough to suppose surname but possibly little else - other than estimated dates). I would prefer if such conclusions could be 'marked' provisional (a status indicating further research needed. There needs to be some identification of such conclusions.)0
It was many years ago that I first raised the issue of how to connect siblings with unknown parents. I was told to just create an ID with the same surname. In practice, I have made this a male person, although the children (both /all) could possibly have had a mother of that surname and have been illegitimate, of course!
As far as adding a surname for an unknown parent of a child without siblings, I see no sense in that at all. After all, one could carry on doing this for further generations - and for what purpose?
Again, my comments are from a purely "genealogical" perspective (i.e., not related to ordinances), as I am not a member of the (LDS) Church, but - other than as a means of connecting siblings - no, I don't see any point in adding an unknown parent - either with the same surname, or, perhaps, as "Unknown".3
Detaching such empty placeholder profiles isn't helpful. If anything, that just makes the problem worse.
I spend a lot of time finding those detached floaters and merging them into the families where they belong. It is a chore and a half.
I do create a placeholder profile for a parent whenever I have a little information about the parent. Usually there is a surname, an approximate birth year (I use the nearest decade), perhaps a birth place, and a residence year and place where a child was born.0
Now, I am seeing end-of-line people added without a surname with just "Uncertain" as the name with no other information. I don't see the point in that the lack of any profile would have indicated that the person is unknown. Here's an example: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/GVJX-1SM
I am also seeing the multiple generations of just surnames only added as well as mentioned in one the posts above. Here's an example: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/GN55-684
As another data quality concern, I have encountered cases recently where different users have made a sweep through multiple generations of a family modifying every name to include the mother's maiden name as an additional given name of every child in a family when those names were never used. Here's an example: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/LBLH-H360
I would detach these "Uncertain", "Unknown" and surname only IDs (except where justified, of course - primarily where the ID has been created to link siblings),
And certainly I would edit / remove all those examples of middle names that were never used (in their lifetime) by those to whom they have been added.
You might wish to contact the contributors responsible for carrying out this type of work, but I would base that decision on the date these entries were made and whether you feel the other user(s) would accept your changes. The last thing you want is an "edit wars" situation, whereby a stubborn user insists it is "their tree" or the way they are doing things is correct, and reverses all your changes.2