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Purpose and quality of sources in FamilyTree

I was just weeding through 28(!) sources for ONE person.
1. A few were no matches at all. How do they get into the source box?
2.The other ones were mostly INDIRECT sources, that is, they showed the name of the person in connection to wife and a number of children BUT NOT any evidence for vital data referring to the person's life, as birth/baptismal date or death date (DIRECT sources)
The purpose of a good source is in my opinion to show evidence for birth and birth place, death and death place, marriage and marriage place of a person. The birth dates of his children however belong to THEIR name.
Also, a source is not getting better by repeating the same information several times which was the case here. It only blows up the source box and becomes a nightmare for every patron that tries to find solid evidence for a person's beginning and end (for example). Is there a way for you to categorize sources into DIRECT an INDIRECT?
That would save us patrons a lot of time when it comes to entering reliable information into FamilyTree. I see so many records lately that have more than 20 sources just for one name - it is like an epidemic and it is not helpful.
Kind regards,
Renate Benn-Wilde, Family History Center Hayden, Idaho
2 people like
this idea
  • 2
    I disagree all sources are needed, those for the children prove the relationship to not only the children but also the other parent. I have seen too many children connected to family men who don’t belong without these sources I would not be able to prove the correct relationships.
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    • I also connect all sources found even if they appear to be duplicate they more than likely come from a different source or a different version of the index. Or perhaps they were compiled by different people such as a book written by two different people that contain the same information or census index created by different organizations or lists of cemetery residents created by find a grave vs billion graves or old indexes compiled by genealogy societies.
    • Virginia

      I'm sure (from comments made in previous threads) most Family Tree users will agree with you. For my fellow users' sake I do attach records of children's baptisms / marriages to their parents' sources. For my own purposes I wouldn't bother. If I want evidence a Lydia Wilson's parents were James and Margaret Wilson, there is the record showing all three of them - in Lydia's sources section, just a click or two (of the mouse) away!

      Seeing all those sources that were not indexed from a record where they were the individual of prime importance (e.g. the person actually baptised or married) makes my head spin - especially when another user has left those sources at the top of the section and their (the parents') own vitals are then hidden at the bottom of the page.
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  • 2
    Welcome to the public discussion boards. Your comments do get seen by the proper FamilySearch personnel, but it goes here, also, for the community of FamilySearch users to discuss.

    1) Someone put those sources on the wrong person. Most likely via a hint that was not really for that person.

    I was in a training class last year and our regional family history consultant/trainer stated that since hints are 98% accurate we should just teach people to attach them all. I vigorously protested and he got quite annoyed with me. Unfortunately there are people out there who follow his line of thinking. Also, unfortunately, there are some people who just don't pay attention to what they are doing.

    2) If you search through this board you will find that the practice advised by FamilySearch is to attach all these indirect sources as evidence that the parent named in the record is the parent as entered in Family Tree. This does make for long source lists, particularly when a child has multiple copies of a birth record each as a unique source. What I do, is sort sources so that all the indirect sources come last and I enter dividers to improve readability like this:

    The other aspect of attaching all these source, is that adding the source marks it in the historical record search results as being accounted for in Family Tree as shown by the pedigree icon found there which also allows one to jump from historical record search results directly to the correct individual in Family Tree.

    Attaching the source is the only way to get the circled icons attached to the source:

    The next person to get these search results does not have to wonder who this man is, but instead can just jump right to him in Family Tree and learn all about him.
    • view 3 more comments
    • Yeah, um, in its current state, the hinting algorithm is close to 98% inaccurate on people with common names.

      But I burst out laughing at "hatching, matching, dispatching". David, did you come up with that?
    • Can't remember where I first saw that particular line, but I definitely can't claim credit for coming up with it.
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  • This reply was removed on 2019-01-27.
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  • 1
    Generally speaking, and quite within the scope of this discussion, sources fall into three categories:

    Primary -- those records that are made at the time of the event and contain information about that event.

    Secondary -- those (usually "official") records that are made after the event took place (usually by several or more months / years). Census Records are considered secondary sources.

    Certain types of records fall into both primary and secondary source information. A death certificate, for instance, is a primary source for the name of the person at the time of their death as well as the date and place of their death.

    Information about their spouse and parents makes that death certificate a secondary source for that information.

    Hints -- those records that do not contain any sources for the information they are providing and usually (but not always) include any kind of "history". Location histories are most often suspect because they are often compiled from hearsay (information provided to the compiler by others). Family Histories without sources fall into the category of "mythology" which is defined as Genealogy without documentation (sources) by the (American) National Genealogical Society.

    The hinting system (and this applies to's "leaves" as well) is limited in its scope, but as to being 98 percent accurate -- that's a pipe dream. For certain countries, the percentage is often below 50 percent. For those of us working in United States' records, the percentage is upwards of around 90 percent -- some maybe higher and some maybe lower.

    FamilySearch hints are of two kinds ('s leaves are the same way). I've applied my own names to them:

    Principle Person Hints (Sources) -- are those hints that point to a source whose principle person in the record is the person for whom the hint is applied.

    Secondary Person Hints (Sources) -- are those hints that point to a source where the person for whom the hint appears is not the principle person in that source (record). They are usually related in some manner to the principle person and that relationship is provided, but in some cases, they are not related to the person, but simply appear in the record.

    Both types of hints should always be attached to the person for whom the hint has been generated -- either as a principle person hint, or as a secondary person hint.

    Certain kinds of records do not carry a principle person. Census records are a prime example of this starting with the 1850 Census for the United States. Many other types of records are similar, but are usually limited to lists, such as poll lists, tax lists, officially-produced (that is, by those whose office has recorded an official record) indexes, and so on.

    Setting up a source page The source page for any person is a list of the sources that have been attached to the person. These include both Principle Person Sources and Secondary Person Sources.

    For the most part, I will organize the sources in chronological order.

    A significant number of users will separate the sources if there are a lot of them. The following are the separator "sources" that I have prepared and exist in a folder in My Source Box to use as I feel they are needed.
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