Making changes in someone else's tree
I have just spent the last two days correcting information that someone unrelated to the family made to my family tree. I am experienced in family history, have been a family history consultant since the 1990'a and have been researching this town since the 1990's, if someone is researching this town, they usually find their way to me. I spent 2+ months meticulously researching a family with 15 children. Out of the 15 children, 9 made it to adulthood. As is common in Italian families, when a child dies, the next child of the same gender is named after them--it preserved the name, but also created confusion. I included meticulous sources which were ignored. Then, it happened again to very close relatives. I've had unrelated people change last names because they were playing around on family search and decided that they "never found that last name in Southern Italy in all the records they've searched." My town is very small and is not in a lot of sites other than the civil registration on Family Search." That was several hours again in correcting it. I have lost several days this week just in correcting errors put in by someone else. I feel that the response I get of "just hit the follow button" is almost a slap in the face. When you have hundreds or thousands of people you have entered, it is just about impossible to find everyone to do that. I spent 3 hours today going through "my contributions" to mark people I am following and I'm only partway through 2019. And all of my research is not on Family Search and I have reservations about putting anymore onto the site because of this. This is a real problem and I've had to help numerous patrons unravel things like resurrecting their mother when someone just assumed she was dead and marked them as such when their mom was alive and well--or temple work done for cousins who were alive and would never have agreed to work being done. That could have caused a great rift in the family had we not found it and corrected it. I had 3 people in three days add a spouse to my grandaunt because of a record hint that came up. She died in the Spanish Flu pandemic and never married.
The above was the problem. Here is what I am trying to accomplish: less frustration for people because correct research procedures are followed.
My suggestion is to have some kind of training before people even start to use family search. It is not as user friendly and concerned with accuracy as we might hope. Maybe have a spot where records that are found can be placed until there is some kind of review done? or a mandatory contact made with the original poster who added the individual to the family tree. If I make any changes to a family tree, I immediately inform the original contributor, I keep their original PIN (if I've merged something), and if they contact me back with more information, I make the changes for them. So, if you find a record you think might be for this person, you've gone the extra mile and tried to prevent the frustration that comes when someone changes your information.
Solving this problem would stop a lot of frustration when someone has to go back and correct information, and it improves the accuracy of the site.
Donna, I share your frustration. FamilySearch offers a great idea - crowd-sourcing- but many contributors do not understand that it is not "their" tree, it is one tree. I've had a cousin who deliberately made changes to a family after I'd contacted her and demonstrated that her changes were inaccurate. She insisted that a 1900 census record attached to Person A's son was more accurate than Person A's 1850 census record, even though other documentation supported the 1850 record. Every discussion went back in a circle to 1900. Another ancestor's record has been twisted so that two people with the same name, one born in Virginia and one in New Jersey, have been combined. I've sent notes to each person who contributed to the record, asking them to support separating the two, but because people pop on and off have only heard from a few.
These changes affected Rootstech Relative Connections for me this year. For one, I'd added a newly-discovered relative, with a large group of descendants. Someone removed the relative, so that whole line disappeared. In many other cases, errors in the lines led to cousin suggestions that are inaccurate, even as close as 4th cousins.
Familysearch began as an excellent free service with a strong starting point. The ability to talk to a live person is outstanding. The relative connections idea is wonderful.
Your suggestions are a good start. Despite all the benefits, though, I am almost at the point of not bothering with familysearch because of the extent of the errors and uninformed changes. To me, it needs a substantial overhaul.2
I feel your frustrations as well. I have not been on this site in a while, and when I was checking into adding information, someone has already "jarred" with my tree.
Misinformation everywhere. Double spouses, wrong dates, ect. There needs to be some sort of stop to adding to people's trees without permission.
Perhaps there should be a place for someone to communicate with the person that started building the tree first. I am very disappointed in all the mistakes that I am seeing in my tree.
I am thinking about removing my tree altogether.0
The Lord would miss you and all you do for your loved ones. He needs you guys. Think of what would happen, who you would hurt. Your Tree would keep going without you and that would disasterous to those who you love the most. They need you, the very ones you are talking about in your comments are waiting for you to work on them. Patiently waiting hoping you won't give in to the doubt.
You need to ask yourselves - What is my goal? Are not I among those humans who have different degrees of skill. Are not I progressing and enduring like everyone.
Those people who you are referring to are working their progression out in their way.
Things will work out because this is the Lord's work and you don't want to abandon that, do you?0
@Tamera Brothers There is no "my tree" to remove. Family Tree is an open-edit collaborative tree shared by everyone. You are welcome to correct error that you find. Here are a few articles from the Help Center that might be helpful:
The World’s Largest Shared Family Tree
How do I see what changes were made about a person in Family Tree?
How do I undo an incorrect change in Family Tree?
How do I undo a merge in Family Tree?
How do I correct parent-child relationships in Family Tree?
How can I prevent other people from making inaccurate changes to Family Tree?0
Thank you for the resources, but I’ve been working on family search since it was changed from PAF and I’ve been a consultant since 1998. I know how to do all of that. There are a lot of people who I am working with who are getting very frustrated when the information they have painstakingly gathered and worked diligently to check its accuracy, gets changed. (Because I’ve taught them how to verify the information). It is the greatest complaint that I hear and the greatest detriment to people participating in family search. The problem comes when people don’t know how to verify things, or they don’t realize the harm they do when adding inaccurate information. Just because a name matches, doesn’t mean it’s the correct person. This system produces an inaccurate record.
As I’ve lost sleep over this, I’ve come up with another solution. When someone enters information on a tree they didn’t create, an automatic email should go out informing the original contributor of the change. The follow button doesn’t help with this because of the amount of people who were entered into the system before there was a “follow” button, or the people carried over from PAF. We I’m sure the amazing FS team should be able to figure out how to do that. This really is a detriment to the program that needs to be addressed.0