Super frustrated about potentially wrong people being added to my tree
This is the one thing I really don't like about FamilySearch -- other people can add to my tree, willy-nilly, and many times the relationships are very much in question. I would like to have people removed from my tree who I am not certain belong there (my own family tree has quite different parents, for example, but I have not been able to research them).
Also super frustrated with people adding sources to my grandparents that include information about living children. Just because the information is out there doesn't mean the family wants it visible.
Is there anything that can be done about these problems? I understand people being excited by tracing their ancestors and connecting their trees. When I started out (on Ancestry) I took everything I saw at face value, too, and ended up with total messes in my tree (parents dead before a child was born, very iffy connections, people being confused with other unrelated people with the same name), and now that I'm making a huge effort to clean up my own trees, it's so annoying to find that similar things are being done to the trees I've worked hard to create here on FamilySearch.
people adding sources to my grandparents that include information about living children. Just because the information is out there doesn't mean the family wants it visible.
So true! The records are there, though, and if not attached to profiles then they will be looked at and worked by other people. So this is what I do to hide them as much as possible. I work all the attachments that can be done, then visit each profile to dismiss the messages about unfinished attachments.2
Since Family Search is a collaborative web site that can be very frustrating especially when people do not provide sources or explanations. You may want to go to the Solutions galley (found at the bottom of most pages on Family Search) and select a compatible software that you can use in conjunction with Family Search.
This article can be found in the Help center (? with a circle around it in the upper right hand corner). We are sorry for the frustration. Thank you Family Search2
This is the one thing I really don't like about FamilySearch -- other people can add to my tree, willy-nilly, and many times the relationships are very much in question.
This is what I like best about Family Tree. Here messes get sorted out once and for all, and when done well they stay sorted. Then all those people who come here to scrape data for their "own" trees copy the good tree. That is so satisfying.
A good tree is a tree everyone agrees on, it is clean, and it is supported by a lot of historical records. And when I say everyone, that can be a lot of people. One tree I work on has a descendancy association with over 10,000 living members. They estimate over 60,000 known descendants. The top of that tree has 32 contributors following it, with no disputes among them.3
Is there anything that can be done about these problems?
Sure. The main thing you can do right here is share the PID that bothers you most.0
Welcome to the "Community.FamilySearch" Forum.
I am just another 'lowly' User/Patron ...
As an aside ...
Just a word of Caution ...
Especially, in a matter such as you have raised here ...
I would humbly suggest, that you DO NOT post, the/any "FamilySearch Person Identifier" (PIDs), here in this post of your your; as, was previously been suggested.
Unfortunately, there are some 'well intentioned' Users/Patrons, that may make "Changes", without "Consultation", with the likes of the original poster (ie. yourself); and, such has caused considerable distress/heartache, to/for the original poster.
There has been, recent occasions, of late, when such has occurred.
Just my thoughts.
You are not alone ...
Many of us have been there ...
There are some, actions that one can take; and, options available ...
Initially, as, per this "Knowledge Article" in 'FamilySearch', that has already been previously proffered:
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" ...
Here is another "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.
All that Said ...
IF, you have undertaken "Collaboration" with the particular User/Patron in question, causing concern; and, that "Collaboration" has FAILED (eg. NO Response); and, provided that there is NO "Abuse"; THEN, you can, either,
(1) For a "Private" communication ...
Contact 'FamilySearch' "Support" DIRECTLY via the,
(b) an "On-Line" ('Live') "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.
IF, you want, you can, for "Privacy", keep any 'Post' here 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).
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 (BEFORE, other 'well meaning' Users/Patrons get involved).
I hope that this may also help, somewhat.
Here an old 'standby' of mine, that I have previously proffered on occasion ...
Most new (and, some old) Users/Patrons DO NOT understand the basic 'nature' and 'premise' of "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', when they join in.
Please let me explain ...
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 ...
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'.
I know that this does not help; but, I hope this gives you another perspective.
It can be very frustrating when incorrect changes are made to lines you are working on. The previous posts about using the Collaboration feature of FamilySearch can be very useful. We encourage you to continue to try to contact those who have made changes to understand their reasoning. Keep in mind it may take a while for them to respond if they do not get on FamilySearch very often
You are able to undo the changes by editing Child to Parent Relationships, editing Spouse relationships, editing Vital Information and/or editing sources.
This does take time to do but it does allow you to fix the problems that you see. We strongly encourage to add detailed reason statements to the changes you make, or to any information you add. Most of the contributors who make incorrect changes do so unmaliciously. We have found that if the correct information is well documented and has good detailed reason statements it helps to prevent others making incorrect changes.
Thank you for your work in FamilySearch. We believe that by working together we can end up with a true and accurate Family Tree.2
Yeah, I've done that on the profiles I'm concerned about. I don't mean to be stinky about it, but I know my parents would be livid to know that information is public. (Go, Texas. Ugh.) I wish there was a way to put a note on a profile that said "Please don't add the following information to this profile" (I guess you can do it through the Discussions feature, but people may not check that.) What I really wish was that there was a way to contact the Texas department of vital records (or whatever they're called) and ask them to pull the records that are less than 100 years old, but given the current climate and administration in Texas, I don't think I'd be listened to.0
Thank you, Caryl! I will look into that for sure.0
Lots of good comments here, and I appreciate the time everyone took to respond. (For some reason I can't figure out how to individually reply to each of you without quoting your whole response, so I bailed on that.)
I will most definitely look at the articles many of you recommended to me. They look very helpful.
I like "collaborating" to a degree (I mean, we've all got lots of cousins and many may know things we don't, so that's fun, to learn new things and make new connections). But the fact that just anyone can add whatever to a profile without permission of the person who added it, or without HAVING to collaborate isn't my favorite thing. I've been also uploading profiles to WikiTree and there you manage the people you add, and if anyone else wants to add to it, they have to request to be put on your "trusted" list before they can do so. You CAN add someone as a parent or child without asking permission, so that's the big chink in the armor, but so far that hasn't been an issue in my lines. You also have to have sources before you can add someone over there.
Now, the biggest difference between WikiTree and FamilySearch, other than the strict control of profiles, is that FamilySearch has fantastic sources you can search for and attach to your people. That's not the purpose of WikiTree, so I am super grateful for the free sources on FamilySearch. Which is why I use FS, too.
I do wish there was some kind of little "course" people would have to take, or agreement they would have to sign, before being able to use FamilySearch. Something that would make it very clear that it's not cool to add records to deceased profiles that might contain information about living individuals (so if you notice that the deceased individual has living children, you agree not to add those children's birth records, or maybe even the 1940 census, as it could have those children on it, though I'm less concerned about that). And that you'd make certain you could connect people correctly.
I don't know. I know that I've made plenty of mistakes in my genealogy journey, from enthusiastic, eager beginner to more careful experienced family tree researcher (not near professional, by any stretch, but I've learned a few things through the years). I want to hold grace for the folks that do the irritating things (I'm sure I'm irritating at times, too 😉). I just wish there was a good way to curb the enthusiasm a little bit and channel it into more carefulness (my brain won't come up with a better word, ha ha). I admit I feel a little protective about my grandparents' profiles and information, in particular (as my living parents are, thankfully, private). I'm happy to collaborate and have others add CORRECT data, and RESPONSIBLE sources.0
CORRECT data, and RESPONSIBLE sources.
What fascinates me is that all content disputes I have seen on Family Tree to date, and I have been here long enough to see many, have boiled down to conflations: conflations of family groups, and even conflations of individual person pages.
Recognizing conflations is a skill very few novices have, and developing the skill seems to take a lot of practice. So I like the very low threshold to entry and just expect to have to wrestle with novices.
That's why I ask for a PID. Readers here can take a look and we often can spot instantly the likely source of trouble. Something in the tree is driving collisions. What is it? How best to fix it.3
Here is how to quote text.0
Hello @Stacy A
There is one knowledge article that you might want to review regarding the listing of the names of living people in Historical Records:
As the article states, "FamilySearch respects the privacy rights of individuals and strives to adhere to all applicable laws. FamilySearch publishes copies of records only after gaining permission from the original record custodian (generally a government agency) and faithfully abiding by the stipulated conditions."1
Another option to consider is having a back up tree that only you can add or change. It was mentioned in one of the earlier comments. Here are directions to using Solutions Gallery which includes many other family tree programs. Yes it can get frustrating when you are correcting misinformation but also rewarding when someone else discovers something that belongs in your tree that you did not know. That's what I enjoy is seeing all of the research others have done that have helped in finding my ancestors.0
@MNuttall thank you for posting that article. I called the FamilySearch help line and they said that since those documents are in the public arena (thanks to the brilliant State of Texas for deciding they didn't need to wait 100 years to make people's birth certificates available for online viewing -- the certificates are available as public up to 1935), there was nothing they could do about it. Which isn't exactly what the document you posted says, but it does say I would have to be the person involved (i.e. the one whose birth certificate is visible) or their guardian, and I am neither. (My parents have their full mental faculties, so don't need a guardian, though my aunt does have dementia, so maybe one of her children is her guardian by now.) So I suppose I could get my parents to try to have them taken down, but what a hassle. At any rate, I definitely appreciate you posting the article. :)
@DebDT Thank you for the suggestions! I do have my own tree on Ancestry and in Family Tree Maker and I keep those as accurate as I can. The problem comes on a public, collaborative site like this where people can tack their ancestors (or even NOT their ancestors, just someone whose tree they are randomly working on) to other people's ancestors, and sometimes that's super great because they've done their work and everything is accurate and I find new information; but sometimes it's a disaster because they're connecting people who don't have proven ties and they don't have the sources to back up the connection. Then it gets messy, because I might have someone in my tree listed as Jane Doe's father, and I don't have sources so I'm not adding them publicly, but this other person has someone else listed as her father and it's not proven, and they just go ahead and add it because hey, it's in their family tree, or someone else's and we're going with that regardless of there being no sources. (Usually this happens further back, in the 1700s or earlier.)
So I LOVE FamilySearch's ability to find sources and learn more and possibly connect with others, and all for free! I guess I'm just not too super happy with the fact that, unlike Ancestry, anyone can add on to the tree I started and make connections that are tenuous at best, and outright wrong at worst (and which I did not realize when I started adding my tree awhile back). Or that they can add sources that reveal private information about living individuals if the person they're attaching to is deceased (like my dad's father). Even if I had not added a tree here, others could add my deceased ancestors and get things wrong. I'm a little protective of the information about my closest deceased ancestors (grandparents, great-grands) and want to keep things accurate.
I know at this point I'm just ranting, and that's not super helpful. I don't want to be mean about people who add things without sources or whatever. I do understand the enthusiasm and the desire to make connections. I just value accuracy and also think it's more respectful of the dead to be as accurate about their lives as we can be. My dad always says, "When in doubt, don't." And I think that's a good axiom for collaborative genealogy. (And I do recognize that sometimes I make mistakes, too, and I hope that has not caused problems for others.)1
Thanks for your comment which is very accurate. We all get a little frustrated when trying to fix problems that we did not cause.2
How about a rejection of people mistakingly added to other trees? I keep having researchers adding to my tree. I found a Lydia Cuff b. 1883 added to my Great grand father Theodore Grissom Cuff b.1861 with her son Alfred born 1925. According to his Death Certificate , During this time my Great grand father was in the Trenton Nj State hospital were he passed away. If they would have researched further they would have found Theodore Cuff born in Pa in 1887. I had to go thru 4 other Theodore Cuff's in South New Jersey by birth dates they were born in 1843, 1861, 1863, 1878. Unless they match up with other researchers with my Ancestry DNA test I haven't claimed them as a relative. Have a reject button please.1
@RayDurham, there sort of is a "reject button": for conclusions (such as names and dates), it's in the Change Log, labeled "restore"; for relationships, it's on the relationship-editing flyout, labeled "remove or replace"; and for merges, it's on the merge-deleted profile's page, labeled "restore person".1
LYNR-479 Theodore Grissom Cuff has some Residence events that perhaps don't belong there. Incorrect and vague events, sources attached that don't concern the person, and incomplete attachment of sources all will generate incorrect hints. See the two 1880 census sources and residence events. Polishing up the profile should greatly reduce the incorrect edits by others. If that doesn't work, consider also improving the other family's profiles so they are clearly disambiguated from your family.1
I’m very envious of people whose records get better with time. Mine have not and people will keep changing things back to the folklore they find on the internet, even with an explanation. A few examples : There was virtually no name for a wife to be found ANYWHERE for an ancestor. With no substantiation, someone decided a name. I kept trying to remove it and a patron kept adding it back on. The patron even agreed that there was nothing to show this was the wife’s name but said it was what people believed her name to be (internet lore) so we needed to keep it as a “placeholder”. My aunt who died as an infant is “married” now. Kentucky ancestry suddenly shows up in Canada. My farmer ancestor left his native home in England, even though the family with the same surname was nobility? Even though he stated when he married that he was born in NYC? Someone grabbed a couple with the same last name as an ancestor and claimed they were the parents of my ancestor and her siblings, even tho they lived hundreds of miles apart in the same state. I gave up on the communal family tree. It broke my heart to have to buy the frustration is too great. I’ve gone to Ancestry to do a tree and the thoughts of starting over is overwhelming. It’s been a failed project for me, sorry to say.0
I like the documents here on Family Search, but I've given up on trying to keep the trees my ancestors belong to "clean" and accurate. I trust WikiTree a lot more for that. They're working on ONE worldwide tree, and they have people constantly combing the entries to make sure they make sense. That doesn't mean there aren't mistakes and the occasional duplicate person, but overall it is MUCH more rigorously watched over, and I feel more confident about the lines that have been added to mine further back. (You can't even add anything earlier than 1700 and 1500 without taking courses with them to understand how to read and properly interpret sources and documentation from those eras.) So FamilySearch is a good resource IF you take the additions you didn't make with a huge grain of salt, and realize you're not going to be able to dissuade some people from adding what they want anyway. Again, great for sources and documents. But I like that with Ancestry you can keep your own tree your own tree, and if you want to connect to a World Tree and feel good about it (in general), WikiTree is the one for that.0
If you share the PIDs where you are seeing problems, we can advise you on steps you can take to make it better.2
I agree with this total frustration! I was a professional title searcher, so I do know how to search! People have added to my tree so much wrong information that I personally know they have a different person! All the work I have put into this research is being destroyed by people who don't know what they are doing. This problem is also on Ancestry as well!
It has spoiled my attitude towards family history online. I don't even care to search anymore because it will only be added to & changed with so much misinformation added to my records search. I have fortunately made my own family books printed out with OUR family histories to hand down to my own family so they can have the Truth. So disappointed in what could've been some wonderful sources.
Just beware and only go by records and not by other searchers info.0
"People have added to my tree so much wrong information that I personally know they have a different person! All the work I have put into this research is being destroyed by people who don't know what they are doing. This problem is also on Ancestry as well!"
Unless you've invited an awful lot of extremely careless and destructive people to your Ancestry tree(s) with edit rights and then left them with those rights, despite the carelessness and destruction, that cannot be true.
You are conflating a single user per tree system with an open edit, single tree system. Your claims thus lose a lot of credibility.
Now it is very much true that there are a quite significant number of users of FSFT who are ignorant, or lazy and who can trample through tree sections like a herd of elephants as a result. Worse there are users who dogmatically refuse to stop making wrong changes, despite multiple sources proving them wrong and being informed of those sources.
These are indeed FSFT problems. Analagous problems literally cannot occur at Ancestry, unless the very weird circumstance of wilfully leaving destructive invited tree editors with edit permissions described above occurs. So stop making claims they can.
Complaints will be taken much more seriously if they are factual and not hyperbolic. Complaints will also be taken much more seriously if they don't contain claims that are literally an impossible occurrence.0
@davidnewton2, I think the other commenter was referring to the individual-tree sites' way of treating other people's trees as equivalent to historical records, offering them up as hints at every turn, and thereby encouraging the thorough propagation of every error ever made. This is one of the major reasons I much prefer open-edit/communal trees: at least if someone makes a mistake here, I can fix it. On the individual-tree sites, I generally can't even contact the tree owner unless I'm a paying subscriber, so the errors keep showing up in more and more places, and my lonely little dissenting voice goes unnoticed.4
@LynMorgan FamilySearch FamilyTree is a community tree so it makes it hard when you put your information in and someone comes along and changes. You can contact people and collaborate, but that is all you can do on FamilySearch. Ancestry is a different story. You can make your account private and then no one can make changes.0
Can someone explain how to start a new Question on discussion, I don't see a Button (on the mobile version)0
@Shelly237 Right next to the discussion button is an arrow, push that and you can push ask a question and that will make it a question.
Maile L mod
@Shelly237 From any page in community, click FamilySearch Help, choose the topic you want to post about and click on the blue circle with a "+" in it.0