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Hello, Why is not allowed for a person who has spent 100's of hours researching their family and going to the trouble of verifying the information to prove that it is true and correct and other people come along that are not in anyway connected to a family and change someone's hard work. Scribes have made terrible errors in the past when FamilySearch allowed the "man off the street" the general public to come to FamilySearch and indexed information. There are so many errors especially with surnames why aren't we as descendants of those families allowed to make corrections. I am very through with my information and take it seriously. I have been a member of FamilySearch for many years and always check my information at the LDS library. Now I am losing interest in continuing adding to my family on FamilySearch. I do not use any commercial family history websites except this one but it's letting me down. Yes I know it's a communal tree, but strangers just add information on guesstimate most of the time.
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  • "Scribes have made terrible errors in the past when FamilySearch allowed the "man off the street" the general public to come to FamilySearch and indexed information. There are so many errors especially with surnames why aren't we as descendants of those families allowed to make corrections"

    As of a few days ago, corrections to indexes can be made, though there are still some teething issues.

    For the issue of changes to the FamilySearch FamilyTree, I advise "watching" people you are interested in. This means you get an email each week listing all the changes you made to people you're watching. Always attach sources to any facts you add and use the features available to communicate with other users when disagreements occur. When you encounter vandals or highly incompetent users, you can report them to support.
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  • Sandra

    I can empathise with you on this issue, as I have spent many hours correcting errors that other users have made to records involving my family members.

    Perhaps I would be included in your "man off the street" description, as I am not a member of the LDS Church, or a qualified genealogist. However, I feel many users who fall into this category have made a significant contribution to Family Tree - correcting some dreadful errors by adding fully-sourced, accurate detail.

    In my experience, errors are just as likely to be made by an LDS member, who is quite possibly a distant relative, but has very little experience in genealogy or has put trust in the earlier work of an older relative.

    Anyone can make mistakes, so (as advised) keep as many individuals as possible on your Watch List, and make sure you send a message to anybody who does make an incorrect entry on your relatives' records. Regarding the latter, you might not get a reply, but knowing their actions are being watched will often deter people from making further, careless changes!
    • Paul, Please let me explain my term “man in the street” as I feel people are misunderstanding me.A few years ago now it might only be 2 years ago sorry I can’t remember the exact year. FamilySearch had a campaign encouraging people from all over the world to participate in a “race” to see how many records could be indexed within a certain time frame. These people were from all walks of life and in most cases not Genealogists just your average person who wanted to help. Although their intentions were good most could not read English, old English or Latin records hence errors were made. I meant no insult to anyone using that phrase.
      I also am not a member of the Latter Day Saints church but I do frequent their library which I am lucky to have close to where I live.
      I’m not perfect I certainly make mistakes.
      I am just frustrated with continually changes to my family information... maybe I should not bother anymore and my frustration will be gone. That’s why I would never subscribe to commercial family history websites.
      Thanks for replying.
      .
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  • 1
    "Scribes have made terrible errors in the past when FamilySearch allowed the "man off the street" the general public to come to FamilySearch and indexed information. There are so many errors especially with surnames why aren't we as descendants of those families allowed to make corrections."

    Scribes have made and continue to make terrible errors when Familysearch allows Mormons who have no experience in genealogy to come to Familysearch and index information and add things to the tree. There are so many errors, especially with surnames. Why aren't only competent genealogists allowed to make corrections and additions?

    You see the biggest problem in terms of actual errors and bad additions is not the general public. Members of the general public who use this site, such as me, by self-selection tend to be both experienced and competent genealogists. If members of the public don't fall into that category they tend to never even have heard of this website, let alone have used it.

    On the other hand many Mormons who use this site tend to be both inexperienced and unfortunately incompetent. There is also a competitive aspect that comes into quite a few of the problems. People who think that taking a huge number of names to the temple for ordinances is a good thing or who think that indexing as many images as possible is a good thing or who think that their version of their ancestral line must be correct, despite no source citations and reliance on family legends are an absolute nightmare to deal with. The name horders and index-at-all costs folks think that volume is the important metric, rather than volume tempered with quality. They plough through and ignore pretty much any and all good, standard genealogical practices. That is either because they don't know about those practices or they actually choose to ignore them. Those who think that their version of their ancestral line must be correct, despite no source citations and reliance on family legends, tend to be naive. Unfortunately there is no good mechanism for teaching these individuals how to do proper genealogy and for slowing them down on the site until they know how to use it properly.

    So essentially your diagnosis of the problem is incorrect and therefore any proposed solution utilising that diagnosis of the problem is also incorrect. This is an open-edit website. Whilst I do think that there are circumstances that justify putting hurdles in the way of new users getting complete open-edit access (such as requiring a user to pass a test before they are allowed to edit things before the start of the 19th century), I do believe that there should be a reasonably easy route to enable full open-edit access. Of much more use is shutting down any possibility of automatic mass additions to the site (GEDCOM import). In other words every addition to the site must be done manually. It is still possible to very quickly add very extensive new material to the site entirely manually. There have been occasions where I have added tens of new profiles to the site in a few minutes using census records for example.
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    • Yes to a point, what I'm saying is that, people who have family trees on Ancestry are adding that same family tree to the FamilySearch website a lot of people have just copied their trees and information without sourcing on Ancestry and making another family tree without sourcing on FamilySearch.
    • Ancestry has absolutely nothing to do with it what I was referring to. I was talking about FSFT and its users.

      A quote you use is very revealing, "The “diagnosis” as you put it of my problem is a fact, people are changing my tree information, diagnosis is not needed in my case." You refer to my tree in that quote. On Ancestry unless you invite someone as an editor they literally can't change your tree. FSFT on the other hand does not have "my" tree or "your" tree with the small exception of the private area each user has for living individuals. So your problem actually doesn't exist in the way you have expressed it. On Ancestry your problem cannot happen because you control who has edit permissions. On FSFT your problem cannot happen because where you are claiming the problem is does not actually exist.

      Doing something because it is a religious belief says nothing about the competence with which the task is undertaken. It speaks more to the zeal with which the task is undertaken. As I said if a member of the general public uses FSFT they tend to have self-selected. They have an interest in genealogy and thus will be more likely to have read and studied about it and learn how to do it properly before they will even have come across FSFT. That is not the case on Ancestry, but that is because Ancestry has a much, much higher profile than FSFT with the general public. You do not see FSFT adverts on TV or in the cinema. You DO see Ancestry adverts in those environments. So Ancestry attracts people from the general public who are both competent and incompetent. Both the competent and the incompetent will have heard of it.

      Now on A van Helsdingen's question about competency of Ancestry users v competence of FSFT users, I'd say that there are a sufficiently low number of non-Mormon users of FSFT that the Mormon users overwhelmingly set the state of the population of users. Given that is the case I would say that actually the general user population of Ancestry and the general user population of FSFT are about the same level of competence.

      Oh and I did NOT say that no errors in FSFT come from the public. I have made errors in data entry myself, which immediately falsifies that contention, and there are general public users of this site who will be vastly less competent than I am. What I DID say is that given the demographics of the site (general population of Mormon users v self-selecting population of general public) is that it is much more likely, both from a number of users point of view and from the competence spread of the users in each population, that the vast majority of the errors will come from Mormon users. I have come across examples of each type of error. General population members who just plonk their tree into a place will do it on Ancestry generally. Mormons who just plonk their tree into a place will do it on FSFT generally. I have seen plenty of examples of name hoarders post on this very forum. They don't care about the quality of their work, they just care about how much of it they churn through. By definition those people must be Mormons since only they will have access to the ordinances. Indexers can be either Mormons or general population, but again Mormons will be hugely in the majority for this site and so by definition quantity over quality indexers will also tend to be Mormons for the most part. Looking at a lot of the imports of information that have come into the site I also have at least some evidence that Mormons are more at fault. If I look at at least some imports I see evidence of notes from PAF about ordinances. The lower quality imports are far more likely to have these sort of things, and again only Mormons would have access to the ordinance system.

      I deliberately used somewhat copycat phraseology when addressing your points. Essentially I'm using a version of reductio ad absurdum to try and illustrate why you are wrong. Take your premise, turn it around to a different (correct) point of view and show the flaws in your argument.
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  • First, welcome to the community support forum for FamilySearch. FamilySearch personnel read every discussion thread and may or may not respond as their time permits. We all share an active interest in using the resources of this site and as users, we have various levels of knowledge and experience and do our best to help each other with concerns, issues, and/or questions.

    The following has helped me (and hopefully others) slow down bad changes. There are other things that can help and I've suggested a new comparison tool (that will take a tremendous effort to implement) as a means to slow down some of the very gross (mean obviously incorrect) user errors (for a discussion on my proposed comparison tool, see the discussion thread at https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...

    Anyway, the following is largely boilerplate but if followed, appears to help a lot. There are always those who believe that they have a superior knowledge of a person and will not take any suggestion that what they did was incorrect. That's always going to be a problem, and one that even a better comparison tool will not fully resolve. Here's the boilerplate:

    As to the incorrect information -- Those who make changes usually believe they are related to the person for which they are making changes. Their changes may be valid, invalid, or contain errors and may lack support from primary and secondary source material. Or the changes may be based on misinformation, or information that was copied from an unreliable source. Many genealogies are treasured because they connect people with royalty or famous personalities in history, and that has introduced creative and, at times, fraudulent solutions.

    For instance, one infamous self-proclaimed genealogist, Gustave Anjou, produced well over 100 genealogies about American families. While they often had ample reliable sources, Anjou made claims using alleged (but non-existent or forged) sources to connect those families with famous people and royalty. He is known to have charged up to $9,000 for such genealogies during his lifetime. He died in 1942.

    The desire to belong to an elite group of people, such as Mayflower Descendants, the Daughters of the American Revolution, or the Sons of the American Revolution has likewise produced some inventive genealogies. These were often accepted without adequate documented proof and have been used to make connections that actually never existed. In 1990, the D.A.R. organization published a new "Centennial" Index in three volumes. Many previously accepted Revolutionary Ancestors no longer appeared in the index. The D.A.R. organization explained, "Omission from this edition of the name of a DAR member's ancestor would be due to conflicting data received which raised some questions about the patriot's identity, service or descendants."

    Not all participants who add to and make changes to existing material have the same level of knowledge and experience. Novices or Newbies often try their best to be useful, but they can and will make mistakes, some of which are going to cause concern. Others are convinced that their information is factual, despite not having primary or secondary sources that validate their information.

    While this can be frustrating, remember that everyone has been at one time or another in their lives, or is now, a novice or newbie. I remember what it was like for me, now over fifty years ago.

    To minimize the changes others make to the tree, there are several things that I have found to be largely effective, given the nature that many inappropriate changes are being made by people who are new to FamilySearch FamilyTree, or do not work with the tree on any kind of regular basis.

    1. I make sure every deceased person I work with in the tree is fully sourced with citations that can be used to locate original records, not only with sources from FamilySearch Historical Records, but also from other sites as well as material that may not be available online. I also add whatever stories exist about that person and provide sources for those stories. The more information I can include, the less likely someone will come along and make changes.

    I make sure that every conclusion (fact) that is in a person's record actually applies to that person and I have included my reasoning why that conclusion is the right one. There is no room for speculation, which is not fact. If I am unsure about some aspect of a person's life, I put that information on the person's page in notes, discussions, or even as a story, especially if an old well-worn family tradition is involved.

    2. Every time someone makes a change or merge that I feel is incorrect, I use the FamilySearch message system to leave them a kindly written message that contains the following elements:

    -- Thanks for their interest in making the person's record as accurate as possible.
    -- The person or family involved and my relationship.
    -- My thoughts and sources with respect to the changes they made.
    -- The corrections I made to their incorrect changes and why I did it.
    -- Request that before they make changes that they study the record, including the sources that are attached, any notes and stories that may be included in memories.
    -- Remind them (if they have not provided a source or a reason) that sources are crucial to establishing conclusions and facts, and that a person's reasoning is needed to let others know what research and thinking was done to reach those conclusions.
    -- What I did to correct what I perceived to be incorrect material.
    -- Thank them in closing for their interest in making the record as complete as possible.

    3. I am prepared to not receive a response from the person. They have the choice to respond or not respond. Many times, they respond, indicating that they are beginners.

    4. I am well aware that not everyone works with FSFT every day or extensively, so there are many different levels of knowledge and experience being applied. I try to help others understand things like the differences between primary and secondary sources and that published family and locality histories often contain errors and are not sourced. I let them know that unsourced material needs to be treated as hints, not as facts. If a faulty record may have been involved, I let them know about the problems.

    By taking an active part in working with a few of my relatives, I have found that bad changes either stop, or slow considerably (no method is entirely effective). To track what changes do take place, especially with critical persons in the tree, I put them on my watch list.

    The most gratifying part about taking an active role, I receive thanks from those who made changes, especially since I go into great detail about what I know of the person and their immediate family, the area, and the families who were neighbors to our common relatives.
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  • 1
    I share your frustration. I spent several hours cleaning up one ancestors data only to have it ruined by ignorant folks in a short two weeks. Trying to balance the wiki openness with damage from ignorant researchers is daunting. One idea that might be workable is to have a way to flag a "detailed" file and make a few online hoops to jump through before editing it would be a start. For example, person wanting to edit the file might be asked their level of experience or questioned about sources before being allowed to edit. Some examples. Have you done the research yourself? Are you passing on something you have not researched? Then discourage from editing if answer indicates inexperience of ignorance.
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  • This reply was removed on 2019-07-12.
    see the change log
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    I personally have wondered if many of these errors are being made by teenagers that the LDS Church is trying to get interested in doing their family research. Some of the ones I have had to fix showed the person knew nothing about the family but seemed to want to make a contribution. This is not possible since the family has already been extensively researched for over 70 years now and is as complete as the currently available records allow.
    So I ask, are we bringing young people to the FH libraries and giving them a task they should not be given at their age and experience? Or one that is only doable if their families have not been LDS for generations?
    There are places young people can help, such as indexing, which even if done with errors, should be corrected when the second indexing of the same records is done. Or doing baptisms and confirmations for temple names. There are countries like the Netherlands where the hints are so good almost anyone 14 or older could attach sources provided in the hints, which create new names on the tree and give young people a chance to make a contribution, even if not to their family line. But mainly I feel for most of them I think we should encourage them to wait until they are older and have more judgement before we encourage them to make changes or add to the tree unless they are being directly helped by a staff member of the library. Just my opinion. I do believe researching and doing temple work draw on entirely different skills and we should not expect everyone to be good at the research. Why not encourage people to get back to their great-grandparents, which most can do, and then leave the rest to people who know what they are doing until you are ready to become competent at the research part of the task. Most people whose families were in the US at the great grandparents will be connected to existing trees fairly quickly by others with more experience.
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    • Hi Carolyn,
      Thank you for your post I found it very enlightening and you just proved my point. Yes I agree with you, education is the key but not all people are willing to want to learn. Maybe it’s time for changes within the FamilySearch website as the people of the world are more interested now in their family members and ancestors. With technology moving at a faster pace it is bringing us closer together. I personally hear what you are saying and I feel honoured to have been given my ancestors details via FamilySearch without this I would have nothing.
      I have noticed lots of changes regarding information now on FamilySearch it seems restrictive in some areas now or maybe it’s just me.
    • You are right, not all people are willing to learn, but if no education is provided then no one learns.

      This forum is great for learning; it’s my go-to place. But relatively few FS users come here. FS needs to reach out to all. Makes me wish I worked there - I’d force the issue!! :-). But then, what do I know??
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  • TManning
    You could be right It is a possibility, but I agree with you and your thoughts where younger people could do Baptisms and confirmations for temple names. Also as you said
    “Mainly I feel for most of them I think we should encourage them to wait until they are older and have more judgement before we encourage them to make changes or add to the tree unless they are being directly helped by a staff member of the library. Just my opinion. I do believe researching and doing temple work draw on entirely different skills and we should not expect everyone to be good at the research. Why not encourage people to get back to their great-grandparents, which most can do, and then leave the rest to people who know what they are doing until you are ready to become competent at the research part of the task”
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  • 1
    My experience with those who change the records (and respond to my emails) are largely newbies to FamilySearch FamilyTree. They are not teenagers or younger people, but people who believe that they are correct, even if it was from notes provided by Grandma Moses and no original sources.

    They often get very offended (their problem, not mine) that I would suggest that their changes are incorrect, even when I explain the situation with the family to them. If they stop and think about what approach they've taken, they soon recognize that they need to be more careful when attaching sources and make sure the hinted source is actually for the person for whom the hint appeared.

    Those who respond positively are not teens, but older "newbies" who haven't had much experience with the site and with family history research. I often point them to The Family History Guide and some have responded that they appreciate where they can get some help.

    But no on the teens, at least with my experience. These kids are much more proficient with understanding what a computer does and how to use it than most adults. I've trained a few of them myself and they are well aware that not all hints and not all possible merges actually apply and what they need to do to figure out if the hint is valid or the possible duplicate is an actual duplicate.

    That isn't to say that all teens are that good. Some are sloppy, but for the most part, I don't think they are engaged enough with research to actually create problems with bad hints and duplicates.

    To me, it is the "old set in their ways" folks that believe they have a right to dictate what is what with the tree. I've seen more than one get hung up over a D.A.R. application that has problems because they make assumptions that just do not compute when you take the service record of the revolutionary ancestor into account and the life of my ancestor.
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  • James Tanner's blog post yesterday had some interesting thoughts on this subject:
    https://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blo...
    • His blog post is very interesting, and he is basically saying the say thing as is being said here.

      I think many church members feel pressured to add names to the tree when they really don’t have the expertise or experience to do so. Obviously, this often leads to data corruption.

      More emphasis needs to be placed on family history activities members (and non-members) can do that do not require adding new names to the tree. Activities such as uploading pictures to Memories or collecting and posting stories about family members. These types of activities are every bit as valuable as adding new names. They help to flesh out the families and bring them to life. Without this type of information FSFT is just a bunch of names and dates.

      The Church is beginning to place emphasis on such activities. Hopefully, as it continues to do so, it will lessen the pressure that can lead to data corruption.
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