How do I keep other people from changing information in my family tree?
I get frustrated when people change what I've put into my family tree. How can I stop them from making changes?
There are a lot of us who feel your pain. We are dealing with a world tree and anyone can come along and change our work. I was told having sources would slow the changes down, but even with birth and death records attached, someone will come along and merge my person who died as an infant with someone who was married.
So some things to do.
Click on the Follow star so you'll be notified when changes are made and you can fix things early.
Other researchers range from professional genealogists to 12-year-olds so you need to be careful when sending a message explaining what they did wrong. We want them to get better, not quit.
Keep a copy of your work where only you can edit it such as the free version of RootsMagic or a subscription site such as Ancestry.8
This is not an acceptable solution. I could end up watching hundreds if not thousands of people. I have contacted the person concerned, but got no reply.0
Yup, that is the problem with a world tree. I follow about 3,000 people and the rest of them, I just hope for the best and make corrections when I run into them again.
I was contacted yesterday by a person who told me I had made a mistake and her ancestor was not my ancestor. I had to go through the change log to find out what happened. Turns out someone before me had changed the person's name, birth date, and birth place which then made it a match for my person and I merged them.0
@Paul Willnauer ( & @beverleyanne )
You are not alone ...
Don't we all ...
Your Question: How do I keep other people from changing information in my family tree?
Short Answer: You CANNOT ...
Further to what 'Deborah' has already proffered ...
Most new (and, some old) Users/Patrons DO NOT understand the basic 'nature' and 'premise' of "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', when they join in.
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 ...
In fact, 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'.
One has to just KEEPING going in a fixing/addressing any problems/issues that you are aware of.
One may need to "Follow", some of the individuals/persons, in one's "Ancestral" Lines, in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
We can "Follow" up to x4000 individuals/persons, at any given time.
We can "Check" the "List" of those that one is "Following" on a 'Daily' basis.
That what one keeps on top of it ... I "Check" my "List" of those that I am "Following" DAILY.
[ At least, once; but, sometimes more, a day ... ]
Another option, if you do not already, would be maintain your "Ancestral" Lines, in your own Private/Personal 'Database(s)', on one of the many "Third Party" Applications that is "Certified" to work with "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
The "Third Party" Applications that are "Certified" to work with "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' can be found in the "Solutions Gallery" of 'FamilySearch'.
Here is a direct link to the "Solutions Gallery" of 'FamilySearch':
And, here is the direct link to the "Family Tree Management programmes" themselves:
"Third Party" Applications that are "Certified" to work with "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' include, BOTH, 'On-Line' "Websites" (eg. "Ancestry_com"; or "MyHeritage_com"; or, the like); and/or, 'standalone' personal (computer) programmes ("Ancestral Quest"; or, the like).
Some of the "Third Party" Applications that are "Certified" to work with "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' have, BOTH, a Basic FREE version; and/or, a Premium PIAD (ie. "Subscription") version, the latter just having more 'Bells and Whistles'. The Basic FREE version is sufficient for most, the average, User/Patron. Whereas, the Premium PAID (ie. "Subscription") version is the choice of most experienced and 'power' Users/Patrons.
You can use ONE or MORE than one, of the the "Third Party" Applications, the choice is yours.
Most of the "Third Party" Applications that are "Certified" to work with "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' that are "Family Tree Management programmes, have INTERFACES that work/connect (directly) with "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' that can, "Download"; and, "Upload" (ie. "Transfer", both, Data; and, individuals/persons) between, the "Third Party" Application; and, "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
I know that this most probably does not help; but, I hope that is gives you some perspective; and, some idea on how to move forward.
Just my thoughts.
I have a similar problem where a person not related to a particular family line has added in sources and even a sibling just because the names are similar.
My direct lines are the Bromby and Tennent families and one soon realise that there a many persons which similar or the same combination of names.
Maybe it exists but would it not help to have a basic "do's and don't" guide section within the main Familysearch site?
I also have an issue with children being given the surname of their future marriage status as opposed to their actual registered birth name.1
This is an age old problem, but there are some tools that we can use to help others stop making mistakes in THE tree (ie. not your tree, or my tree but OUR tree).
- Use the Follow feature as has been mentioned. You don't receive as many changes as you might expect.
- Use the Life Sketch area to put some key information in eg. Sam is a twin to Saul, or This is a son who died as an infant and the family later named another son the same name (common for the time).
- Attach sources. Always. And you can reference them in the reason statement eg. Father's name is mentioned in marriage record - see source attached. We can also edit the title of a source to add info eg. image shows date (or use the Describe the Record section of the source).
- Always give a Reason Statement for making changes (even if others don't always!).
- Use the Messaging option to kindly let people know they're merging incorrectly, or adding a different family, etc.
- The Discussion and Notes tool can be used to have discussions around the record, and clarify information.
Hopefully this list is helpful and clear...we do what we can when we share a family! 🧒👦👵5
I try to pre-empt changes if I think there could be a problem with duplicates and merging by putting notes in the collaborate field. To draw attention to that I put a short note in the life history field too - saying something like 'see notes in collaborate tab'.2
I agree with all the frustrated family search members who find their information has been changed or even deleted & I've had to re-input the information only to find it has been changed yet again. The information I enter for any particular ancestor is based on hard copy records, which mostly has been corroborated by living family or anecdotal history.
I am also aware that certain of my ancestors moved around the world & married at least 3 times during their lifetime, with families in the UK, USA, Australia, India & possibly elsewhere, which would account for different branches of the family, around the world, with the same ancestor, altering information in the family tree based on their own proof & anecdotal history.
One should bear in mind that the information input by any contributor to Family Search, is based on their family history from their own family's perspective which may appear to be incorrect to a different branch of the family who may have no knowledge of the existence of this 'other' family from elsewhere in the world.
As an example, my paternal ancestor Thomas Moore, born in 1830 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, (as per inscription on his gravestone), was married at least 4 times according to my research. With each marriage he changed his DOB e.g. 1834, 1836 (obviously he was getting older with each marriage & his brides were getting younger!!) I have therefore found several Thomas Moore's "created" on Family Search just because each marriage record indicated a different birth year and my information about the 'other' wives and children have been removed. I am aware these 'other' families are linked to me through a common ancestor, as they have been DNA matched to me.
I don't believe I will be adding any additional information to the "one world" family tree.2
Working in a 'shared/communal' environment such as Family Tree can be a challenge and frustrating sometimes, but also has many benefits. Not all changes are bad either - others may add great source material that you have not come across or links to other family members that you have not noticed before.
FamilySearch has a number of in-built features that can help prevent inaccurate changes. Here is an article from the FamilySearch Help Centre that may help:
From my own personal experience, (and I know this is not always the case) the more source information you add to provide solid evidence for your research and conclusions, the fewer inaccurate changes are likely to be made.
Hope this helps.4
I have been having a similar issue with another member / user who has taken it on themselves to "clean up" my profiles. This person has been busy deleting sources on my profiles and also changed names of spouses. It is a great pity that unknown persons are allowed to go on a mission to create mayhem for other users who are genuinely researching their family trees. This person has been sending me messages intimating that I do not know what I am doing and citing supposed inaccuracies in the profiles that I have placed on Family Search. As you may well imagine I was furious. Those who create these issues / problems should be excluded or blocked.0
I am just another 'lowly' User/Patron ...
You are not alone ...
Many of us have ... been there ... done that ... and, still do ...
Further to what has already been proffered, above in this post ...
And, really to somewhat to consolidate that ...
[ And, as I have proffered on occasion ... ]
As you will no doubt be aware ...
Technically there is no way to STOP another User/Patron working along the SAME 'Ancestral" Lines.
As, "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'.
That Said ...
Do not disappear ...
There are some, actions that one can take; and, options available ...
Here are some "Knowledge Articles" in 'FamilySearch', that somewhat addresses your problem/issue.
[ And, below are references to "Knowledge Articles" in 'FamilySearch' that have already been provided ... ]
Here is the FIRST "Knowledge Article":
[ But, your particular situation/circumstance, has gone beyond this following "Knowledge Article" ... ]
How can I prevent other people from making inaccurate changes to Family Tree?
After that ...
As you can 'see', "Collaboration" needs to be undertaken.
But, when "Collaboration" FAILS; and, provided that there is NO "Abuse" ...
Then, there is this "Knowledge Article" in 'FamilySearch':
How do I report changes or problems made by other contributors?
that comes to the fore ...
In particularly, the last sentence in that "Knowledge Article"; which, is very IMPORTANT:
If you have questions regarding inadvertent, suspicious or potentially malicious errors in records that you are unable to resolve per the instructions above, contact FamilySearch Support.
That Said ...
Your particular situation/circumstance, may really border on that of "Abuse".
As Such ...
This "Knowledge Article" in 'FamilySearch':
How do I report abuse, spam, inappropriate memories, and other content?
comes to the fore.
All That Said ...
As such ...
IF, you have undertaken "Collaboration" with the particular User/Patron in question, causing concern; and, that "Collaboration" has FAILED (eg. NO Response); and/or, there is "Abuse"; THEN, you can, either,
(1) For a "Private" communication ...
Contact 'FamilySearch' "Support" DIRECTLY via the,
(a) Telephone; and,
(b) an "Live ('On-Line') "Chat"
To keep the communication "Private", if you are directed back to this "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, insist that you do not want to do so; and, prefer that the matter be handled "Privately".
(2) For a communication is "Public" view ...
As you have done here ...
'Post' HERE in "Community.FamilySearch" Forum; and, HOPEFULLY, the "Moderators" [ ie. 'FamilySearch' "Support" (Personnel) ] HERE in this Forum, can TAKE the MATTER directly into the workings of 'FamilySearch' "Support", to help/assist you; and, communicate with you "Privately" via/through either, ("Private") 'Messaging' in 'FamilySearch' (or, the "Community.FamilySearch" Forum); and/or, DIRECT "E-mail".
IF, you want, keep any 'Post' here, in the "Community.FamilySearch" Forum, to a minimum, devoid of, "Personal" Information about one's self; and, even, not providing information about any Ancestors, just a precis of the matter; and, requesting a "Private" communication directly from 'FamilySearch' "Support" (Personnel).
You are not alone ...
Most of us have ... been then ... done that ... still do.
Plus, it is a 'Slow' process, the whole thing often takes some time, to resolve.
I hope this may help/assist, somewhat.
I TOTALLY AGREE! I had traced my ancestors back to the 1500's and SOMEONE has changed it ALL! ALSO, I have contacted these folks and they do not reply
I found and corrected SOOOOO many things that made NO SENSE and now it is all undone! I am canceling here and moving to a better site.0
This is ridiculous... I will be deleting my information...0
For anyone new to the collaborative nature of FamilyTree
check out these videos:
WHY USE FAMILYSEARCH FAMILYTREE
For anyone really wanting total control of their own private Genealogical database - FamilyTree may not be the best fit for you - but rather a standalone program like Roots Magic, FTM, Or Ancestral Quest.1
I have the same problem as many others on this site. I am being told of relatives I have or now discovered that in no way belong to my ancestors. I have changed the information and left notes so many times that I just feel like giving up. I really do not have the time or energy to keep altering false information. I love using Family search but this is a real problem for many people and misleading not only for myself but for others trying to find out about their ancestors.0
This has been a problem forever. My calling as a Ward and Family History Consultant has shown me that these people seriously do not care. Not only are they newbie missionaries you have to talk to about stuff you know more about, but the send you the typical "copy&paste" directions. Which tell you nothing. I have a stalker from Findagrave who is an administrator. This person now goes on my tree and changes my info, I cannot contact FamilySearch because the last time I asked them about my great Uncle, this was their reply.
"They were divorced so it doesnt matter anyway. Basically you are not related to him!" word for word my friends. I dont think there is anybody who teaches these people anything and if there is, I have never spoken to anyone.Nobody seems to know anything, at all. So we complain and nobody cares. Go to Ancestry if you can. At least you can lock your tree.'2
So true, any of the sites you mentioned are horrid. Now Billiongraves is doing it too.0
I would be interested in finding out what you have learned in the year and a half+ since you posted this question, @Paul Willnauer! Have you heard about the changes currently being implemented, and discovered that any of these may be helpful? Building a collaborative tree is a very difficult thing as we realize the seeming impossibility of the feat, because we all seem to see and need something very different from one another.
As pointed out multiple times, we first realize it cannot be viewed as "my family tree", and there are novice, professional and other sorts involved in building "our shared family tree". Hope you are doing well and really would be interested in what, if anything, has been helpful during the past 20+ months that has shaped your current views of FamilySearch Family Tree and the other partner sites. Best Regards!0