How reliable is the Tree
I am a relatively new user of FS and am gleaning information from it as my primary resource in completing a family tree project spanning 6 generations. I am not putting any new information into this platform other than that of my immediate family. Since this is my primary resource I am very concerned about its reliability. Can anyone give me an idea of what that reliability factor might be?0
What "reliability factor" are you seeking? How stable the platform is or how accurate the information entered in the tree is?
If you are searching records on FamilySearch, those are extremely reliable, within the limits of any set of records. The tree is not the same as records.1
There's no single answer to "how reliable is it" -- not even for a particular historical record, never mind for the crowdsourced collection of people's conclusions known as Family Tree.
For example, a death certificate can be fully reliable for the date of death, but completely wrong about the names of the person's parents. Or a marriage record can be 100% correct in all particulars -- but be talking about a completely different couple than the one it's attached to.
Reliability is even more impossible to rate in Family Tree: it ranges from "pure fiction" to "as accurate as is humanly possible", and everything in between.1
Mary Beth50 When you are working on a particular lineage, whether they are YOUR ancestors, or those of in-laws, other family or friends, I would concentrate on sources. Are there any? Are they appropriate? Familiarize yourself with the history of where your ancestors lived so you can be smart about this. I constantly see, for example, US Civil War Pension records attached to people who died before 1860. This is apparently a combination of assuming everyone with the same name, in the same place, is the same person, and not knowing history well enough to know when a source is appropriate and when it is not.
I also recommend you become acquainted with the wealth of sources available in FamilySearch. Play with all options on the Search menu, not just the search records option. There are many image collections which are not yet indexed, but are associated with locations and can be accessed by searching the catalog, images, books and wiki.
Finally, figure out how you want to proceed when finding other people's mistakes. In every case you can see who added or edited every bit of information associated with a person. This includes adding a source, editing a name, adding a spouse, etc. When you see mistakes, do you want to change the information? I myself choose to merely add a comment indicating why something is not true. However, you have notes, discussions and alerts available to you as well. Either way, you can message the person too.
By the way, people associate Ancestry with finding relatives, and yes, I have found many there. BUT, by messaging people who are contributors to some of my more remote ancestors, (ie 2nd greats and back) I have discovered many 3-6th cousins.
So, to answer your question about reliability of the tree, it is as reliable as YOU and I help make it! Good luck and have fun!3
I wish I could give Gail a couple of every type of upvote for "It is as reliable as you and I help make it". We should frame that and hang it on the landing page. :-)5
Julia Szent-Györgyi LOL Thank you! You made me smile.0