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Reduce the frequency of obvious errors being introduced. Increase participation of experienced and effective amateur genealogists.

Errors are more frequently introduced by inexperienced users and users who just don’t do research before adding, updating or merging (deceased) people, especially many generations back in time.
Many experienced, energetic, committed, involved, and effective amateur genealogists refuse to contribute because of the frequency of errors.
Create a program to recruit these genealogists, validate their experience and effectiveness and then give them authority. Determine the timeframes, areas, and surnames they work within their own genealogical efforts.
Require other users to submit their additions, merges and changes about deceased to these genealogists for approval, return for further information or rejection. For further information responses, give the submitting user 30 days to respond before the request becomes rejected. Make the proposed changes visible but marked as proposed until approved or rejected.
This program would reduce the frequency of users introducing errors and recruit involvement of many hundreds, perhaps thousands of amateur genealogists who refuse to use FamilySearch right now.
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  • I hope this topic is treated seriously by FamilySearch. Someday, Ancestry, MyHeritage or another service that lets users create and maintain their own, unique trees with their own people will ADD a new formal, common, shared, FamilySearch style tree as a searchable database. Customers will submit additions/changes that go through some approval process. Automatic hints will be generated and customers will be able to pull information from this formal, common, shared tree into their own custom tree. There will be a linkage such that users are notified when the common, shared tree is updated for a person in their own unique, custom tree. The rising importance of DNA to these services will push this idea forward.
    • I have been quite emotional or even brash when I have talked about the need to increase the data integrity of Family Tree (via reducing bad merges, bad changes) and have not received any indication that there is a real desire to improve the situation. The "Open-Edit" feature is an integral part of Family Tree and it will not be removed.

      The question seems to be, "How can Family Tree continue to let anyone, anywhere change any record with any data and still maintain correct, verifiable genealogical data?"

      I heard that an idea was considered to somehow determine that X number of people consider that a particular record is correct, so when someone tries to merge another record with this record, (or try to make a change) a notice will be displayed mentioning that X number of people have already verified the record, do you really want to continue with the merge? I think that moving towards data integrity, and helping users understand that the data in Family Tree is accurate will help. Then I would ask, "How would Family Tree determine that there are people that would consider a particular record to be correct?" Maybe a check box next to each data item that one could click to say, "I deem this name, place, date, etc. to be correct" With the necessary legal jargon to let the person know that they should not click the box haphazardly.
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  • Hi Peter,

    Your idea has a lot of merit, but I wonder how many of us would have continued to help build FamilySearch FamilyTree if we had to submit changes and wait for someone (who -- I don't know; the resources available are stretched incredibly thin and all but a very few people are volunteers who sacrifice their own time and money to work with the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) to approve their submission. It would impact virtually everyone, even those with years of experience, the first time they wanted to submit a change.

    At one time, and not that long ago, this forum was operated under forum software by staff at FamilySearch (the Family History Department). Because of limited resources, a decision was made to "farm out" the forum and Get Satisfaction (not owned or operated by FamilySearch) was chosen. That freed up a paid staff member for other, more pressing duties. The Church operates on volunteer donations from its membership through what is called "tithing". There is no request for patrons to donate money and the site, the records that are indexed, those that are captured, have always been done by volunteers operating under the direction of a limited number of paid employees.

    The whole idea of an open-edit system, which is at the heart of some of our collective headaches, is to allow everyone, including beginners, to become involved. Training in how to use the site, and training in how to do family history research has always been a problem, but it was made worse by those who, back in the days of paper records only) copied each others' family group sheets and felt they were "doing genealogy."

    About a decade or so ago, I ran into the records of genealogists who considered themselves to be experts and had even published books on research. They had many problems with their own genealogy that (at that time) used the old PAF program. The couple felt their work was free of problems, but running a simple routine revealed many problems in their PAF program, including duplicate entries.

    I'm am not familiar with Family Tree Maker, but I suspect it has some kind of problem checking software built in. I wonder what it would reveal if you ran those routines against your local database.

    I know that even though I'm careful with my own local database, that duplicates do slip in from time to time and right now, I'm working on a family which has me puzzled. Either the husband married two women with identical given names, or something. It doesn't help that the family is located in Hancock County here in Illinois, but all the action took place after the Mormons abandoned Nauvoo and headed West. Could they have been remnants? Possibly, but I think not. Even those who broke away from the Church and helped form the Reorganized Church, did not accept plural marriage, so I'm working first in Ancestry and in my local database, but I am starting to understand the problems that patrons with LDS ancestry must face in straightening out their families.

    I guess what I'm rambling about is that despite our desire to control the actions of newbies (novice or experienced genealogists) is something that I doubt that TPTB (the powers that be) will ever embrace. But, I could be wrong. All I know is that resources to monitor and approve is very limited if any exist at all.

    As it is, getting volunteers to work with and review indexed records is lagging far behind the actual indexing.

    But, speaking from my personnel perspective, I am not opposed to the idea. First, though, the ability of .ged files uploaded to Genealogies to automatically create a duplicate record, has to stop. I appreciate your comments about your own experience.
    • Hi Tom,
      My goodness, you are good with words. I commend you. Firstly, I believe if FamilySearch had a certification process, you would be one of the first people to apply and become certified. Tom Huber, FSCG (FamilySearch Certified Genealogist). Secondly, all licensing processes, all certifications are flawed. There are MD's who have no business practicing medicine. There are plenty of people with drivers licenses, especially here in Florida, who have no business driving. But I won't go to a doctor who isn't certified. Certifications and licenses have proven to be helpful for over 100 years. Of course, there will be more than some FSCGs who just don't practice genealogical work properly. But there will be another 95+% who will. Right now, any clown can update FamilySearch records at will. Certify!
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  • Tom Huber,
    FamilySearch reminds me of the “open road” when I was a kid. No drivers license was required, no speed limits, just an ill-defined “reckless driving”. Adding rules and regulations, requiring drivers to pass a test didn’t stop people from driving. Nor did it make all drivers safe, law-abiding. But it was a major improvement in highway safety. FamilySearch is self-destructing by letting anyone modify a person and change their birth date from 1635 to 1650 / 1680.
    I’m just suggesting a mechanism that lets users do the changes they do today, but it requires an experienced person to approve. It’s like my grandfather teaching me how to drive.
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  • I’m frustrated
    1
    I like this idea, but it may be too cumbersome to impliment. But at the same time it would be good if we could figure out a way to add a few more hoops for all of us to jump through in order to in some way cut down the number of unsourced and incorrect changes being made. I had thought of adding another question asking the person making changes to check a box saying they had read all sources and notes, but maybe the idea of making changes show but not take effect for a few days would give others a chance to communicate and be a suitable alternative.
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  • 1
    Here's an idea. Go to your local genealogical society's open meeting. Ask how many people use FamilySearch and how many contribute. Post the result here.
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  • 3
    I haven't been to a local genealogical society open meeting recently, but I would guess that the majority of the people there will answer that YES they use FamilySearch. However, the majority only utilize the free sources available via FamilySearch record search/collections or catalog.

    The society attending genealogy friends that I have for the most part do NOT participate in the FamilySearch Family Tree (unless they are LDS). They also do NOT share their own tree in any public way. They either utilize a private Ancestry tree or they maintain their own tree software either online or offline, but do not share it with others. For the majority of these society friends, they do not believe in collaboration with others in regards to their own research.

    This is one reason that in over 30 years of doing family history that I have failed to see the advantage of participating in a society. The few meetings I went to nearly 20 years ago showed me this mentality. It was all about protecting their own research and not sharing with others. Or the focus of the society meeting was so narrow and specific. And if I didn't have any family in that little tiny place in Scotland, why should I even attend that meeting. I tried again about 5 years ago ... and saw the same mentality ... this time in a different society.

    The FamilySearch Family Tree is about having ONE record for every person that ever lived. Getting to just one record is going to take time. Time for cleaning up the database that was created with information from other databases. Time for teaching and training those who chose to use and contribute to the Tree. Is everyone going to know the "unknown rules of participation" before they start? No. But as they start and make a few mistakes, the Tree is forgiving and they can fix errors they created or that were created by others.

    The people that I have deeply sourced on the Family Tree haven't been changed by others in years. Often times there are new sources added to the record or photos or stories to enhance the record. It is rare that a deeply sourced person record is drastically changed ... even with lots of young newbies in the family line accessing the Tree for the first time.

    The genealogists that you want to recruit ... need to first experience the Family Tree for themselves. They are not doing that. They are refusing to participate right now. Why would we want to give them permission to approve all the changes made to the Tree? They don't even know how to use the Family Tree.

    They need to come to the Family Tree now and start helping clean up the records that contain errors perpetuated over decades by attaching and documenting with valid sources. They need to share all their years of research on their own families and make their family lines in the Tree as accurate as possible.

    On some of my family lines, I know who the accurate researchers are. I see their work daily in the Tree. I trust their work - and I rarely change it. And others rarely change it.

    This is the call that has gone out to everyone ... come participate in making the FamilySearch Family Tree the most accurate Tree.
    • view 1 more comment
    • And I agree that only people who use FamilySearch and help maintain people on FamilySearch would become mentors and/or approvers of changes. Just knowing changes are moderated would bring in many. I'm sorry for those who don't participate because the site is LDS sponsored - their prejudices are limiting their service.
    • The problem seems to explode at about 8 generations back. There are no substantial controversies with my relatives until 8 generations back. Now there is limited information and many thousands of descendants...
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  • If you want to see the issue, upfront and honestly, look at the history of changes for Isaac Buswell 9FMG-QC6 born circa 1593. There have been approximately 100 changes, going on non-stop since 2013. There have been 20 merges or more.

    I love the idea of just one Isaac Buswell, but this is out of control. I am grateful that FamilySearch exists. I don't mention LDS except to say thank you.

    Perhaps, initially, a change approval mechanism should be applied to highly controversial people such as Isaac Buswell 9FMG-QC6?

    Look at his change history, some of it my fault from a GEDCOM upload and tell me what you think should be done?
    • view 2 more comments
    • The only way to do that is make a very long/wide image. FS does have a PDF viewer in it, but it isn't the most user friendly
    • Well that particular entry had a number of obvious things that needed fixing. I have now fixed those things. Some of the place names had United States as part of the standard. A couple of the sources were imported NFS "sources" with nothing of value or substance in them. A number of the notes were nonsense. I have therefore corrected the place standardisation, detached the worthless sources and deleted the notes which contained nothing but gibberish.

      That entry needs an awful lot more work before it can be considered anywhere near complete I'd say.
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  • 2
    I have two end-of-line ancestors that have been adversely impacted by people whose own records are primarily the result of bogus information. In the case of one, Pieter Claesen 9312-XFX, his family tree was adversely impacted by the work of an identified and fraudulent "genealogist", Gustave Anjou. The other, Jacob Anthony, was adversely impacted by a now-rejected D.A.R. application and those that were built upon that early application.

    I also have a family (Clark), who fully believed that they are related to Dr. Adam Clarke who created a massive commentary on the Bible and worked with John Wesley. Regardless of the quality of that work, the family felt they were tied to him in some manner. The relationship was even published as part of at least on person's obituary in the 1800s as a "badge of honor" (which is why I don't like labels). The relationship links have a full generation gap, which has been published several times by those who have researched the line, but still, many in the family persist in their believe that they are somehow related to Adam Clarke.

    Yes, the relationship is there, but likely far back in time, rather than as a descendant or a close cousin's descendancy.

    Yet these things persist.

    If you look at Pieter Claesen's record, you will find what pretty much stops all patrons from reforming the link fraudulently created by Anjou. It amounts to thorough documentation and that goes into a lot of detail about the origin of the Wyckoff (and its varied spellings) and his immigration into the Dutch Colony in the 1600s.

    At least two of us are watching and correcting (very quickly, I might add) bogus information that gets entered into the record. My research is not something that I undertook lightly, but it was because of collaboration with at least two others that I spent the better part of a month putting together the information and memories attached to Pieter's record.

    Collaboration can and does work, and despite Amy's experience (which I have also experienced in others), those of us who do openly share what we have discovered are the ones that can make the open-edit nature of the tree work.

    My contention is and continues to be one of education. For every person who makes a change to one of my watched ancestors that is not constructive, I will send them correspondence, explaining why I reached my conclusions, and what my research has revealed. I have had no pushback on Pieter from anyone. The mess of duplicates that took place via a .ged file in the recent past was the result of someone who did not know what they were doing. That underscores the necessity of removing the option to use an uploaded .ged file for entering information into Family Tree.

    The only other pushback came from someone who thought I was acting independently and suggested that I provide my information as alternatives to hers. I wrote back and explained that the D.A.R., not me, had rejected the D.A.R. application for Jacob Anthony. I explained what traveling across Pennsylvania at the time of the revolution was like (it didn't exist -- the trail had to go down and through states to the south), and provided ample evidence that the so-called "hints" about relationships to other families had no basis in solid primary or even secondary sources -- that most of the information she had amounted to nothing more than mythology.

    I had the distinct impression that she was disappointed that her "protected" information contained the errors it did, but that is all part of helping to educate others to what is really involved with research.

    My Clark ancestors are not LDS. Those who believe in Anjou's fraudulent work (he charged upwards of $9,000 in the early part of the 20th century) repeated his fraud in published works, which created even more problems.

    Good and complete documentation and the use of reliable sources go a really long way to prevent erroneous entries, but even more important is sharing, through the FamilySearch message system, our experience with those who do not have the experience (or sometimes wisdom) to know how to judge their own research.

    To me, putting in hindrances is not the answer. If anything, it will discourage and turn away the future experts in genealogical research. We need to be the mentors of those who make mistakes because we were once, many years ago, in their shoes ourselves and it took others who were patient with us to help us develop our own effective research methods.
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  • A speed limit is not a hindrance, Requiring a drivers license isn't a hindrance. Your comments remind me of the politicians in the early 1950's who argued for the "open road" and claim such regulation would inhibit the growth of automobile usage and be unpatriotic. It must be done wisely and no regulation or licensing rids all sin, but it can help. Oh, this was in Illinois by the way.
    • No politicians involved. The decision was made of an open-edit model. As of this point, FS personnel have repeatedly told us that they are not going away from that model.

      The answer lies with us, the experienced patrons. We can help by helping others learn how to do research and how to use the system.

      Arguing does no one any good. The system is not going to change, because this very issue has been raised a number of times in the past. All of them have had the same response -- nope, the model is open edit and it is staying that way.
    • This comment was removed on 2018-04-11.
      see the change log
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  • Ron Tanner (FamilySearch.org Product Manager) April 10, 2018 18:36
    In looking at this I can see that this is an ancestor that may would have. There would be many copies of this ancestor in the original data. All of them need to be properly merged to consolidate into a single person. This will help in getting the data more correct as people focus on the same person and not copies of this person.

    For example I saw that some relationships were removed because they were "duplicates". This is not appropriate. Duplicates children, spouses, etc. should be merged together as well. I recommend continued work on this person and consolidation and you will most likely see an increase in quality and in particular because there are sources on this person.
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  • 5
    Remember, most of the disagreements are regard individuals born before 1800 (where source documentation is sparse).

    Perhaps "newbies" should be encouraged first to work in the 1800's and 1900's and leave the pre -1800 work to those who have worked in the tree a bit longer.
    • WikiTree requires users who wish to edit pre-1700 profiles to become "pre-1700 certified" by taking a simple quiz. This is similar to the "licensing" concept that Peter Boswell was discussing earlier.

      WikiTree has a more difficult procedure to become certified to edit pre-1500 profiles.

      A similar system would be wise for FSFT. Beginners will still have a lot of work to do with their trees for the 1800's and 1900's, so they probably won't feel left out.
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  • There could be a system by which a certain branch of the tree (say my grandparents through their own 3x great-grandparents, who are well-established through governmental and church sources) is proposed to have a new status, such as "Ready for Validation". Another INDEPENDENT user (one who has not previously collaborated and shared/copied relationship data with the first user) reviews the relationships for having (1) at least one source for at least a large percentage of the people, (2) reasonable and logical dates, (3) time-appropriate locations (US colonies vs US states), (4) no duplicates, and whatever other criteria the leadership can agree upon. This second user then votes to "Validate" these persons and their relationships. After this is done, potential changes would have to be approved by two active users ("Reviewers") who have applied to and been approved by FSFT staff. To extend the "open road" analogy, this could "put the brakes" on wholesale changes to at least certain zones of the tree. These "Verified Persons and Relationships" zones could have blue text instead of black, or faint yellow shading -- something to set them apart. It would become a status to strive for within the tree, and those who wish to upload a GEDCOM and merge their alternate version of reality with well-researched branches of the tree would be thwarted.

    The only problem is that Josh could entreat Karl to "just click on Validate on my application for validation of Lavinia's ancestor branch". Or Jane could unethically block Josh's validation by rejecting it. There's no way to ensure moral and ethical behavior, except by positive reinforcement and negative consequences, such as increases in status for work well done and removal of privileges for those who are unethical.
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  • 2
    Without wishing to sound negative, who do you think would implement and administer such proposals? Obviously, I get as upset as any other patron when my carefully researched work is undone. However, I just don't see where these volunteers will come from and that FamilySearch will provide the necessary resources for a scheme like this to be developed and implemented.

    For years, users have been requesting the issue of (in)accuracy to be addressed - asking, for instance, for the ability to change or put notes against badly transcribed and incorrectly headed records. We have to be realistic and accept that FamilySearch management is not going to change the open-edit nature of Family Tree, nor will assign resources to policing of users' inputs and changes.

    The current situation within FamilySearch / Family Tree whereby (to give two examples) there is a refusal to change headings of records that have been reported as incorrect, and the practice of continuing to offer hints that are totally irrelevant, makes it clear that accuracy of records is not a foremost concern.
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  • Most things in life are a continuum. There isn't a perfect or on/off solution. For instance let's say 95% of hints are good and 5% are bad. A computer can't assess which are good or bad because it chose the hints based on a algorithm. Should we turn hints off because of the bad 5%? Duplicates is another such situation. Let's say the matching algorithm gets it right 70% of the time but 10% are wrong, and 10% aren't even found. Should we shut off add Person? So products have to choose whether the overall good outweighs the bad. We as humans are better than computers, and some humans are better/worse than other humans. So where am I going with this?

    The open-edit nature of the FamilyTree has many such design decisions. Could it be better? Absolutely. But the question is how to make it better without losing participation, and in fact how to build participation. The wikipedia model is a model that I have learned to appreciate. It is pretty much open-edit, with some layers of user role hierarchy, but for the most part any user can come in and make a change to all but a tiny fraction of pages. There are no certifications to edit a page.

    Open-edit is (so far) the model that best accomplishes the goals of FamilyTree and it's patrons. How has wikipedia succeeded and are there aspects of that model that we should apply to FamilyTree? My first thought is the ability to be notified of a change immediately so that the damage can be repaired immediately. Love to hear your ideas. Thanks
    • view 2 more comments
    • The watch mechanism allows for 'continuous' watching of changes if you'd like to follow them more closely.

      It has also been suggested in this forum that the watchers could be a group to be used as monitors for changes.
    • Joe

      Fortunately, Robert Kehrer has acknowledged there are some serious flaws in the current algorithm relating to record hints. For example, offering a hint for a burial that took place two hundred years before the one already inputted on the relevant person page is totally unacceptable and this issue must be addressed. How can we criticise amateur users for their crazy inputs when "FamilySearch" is probably responsible for many of the errors made by users, in good faith.

      As far as the suggestions put forward when adding a person, I'd say, from experience, inaccuracy is as high as 99% , depending on the detail provided by the user.

      I apologise to Peter if this seems to be drifting off topic, but I am merely making the point that I don't think his idea will gain any support from FamilySearch management, given their reluctance to date to address issues where "they" could have helped more - by correcting mistakes in the records that FS is responsible for.
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  • Let's not forget the basis of this idea. 1) Let's do what we can to reduce (never eliminate) the introduction of errors.2) Let's acknowledge those serious, effective amatuer genealogists who use FamilySearch and "certify" them. 3) Let's combine the two in a program to mentor new genealogists and reduce errors.

    The problem with errors grows almost exponentially the further back in time that we go. In most situations, the most current three generations are well known, easily documented and only affect maybe a few hundred people. But go back to the 1600's and earlier and the problem, like Isaac Buswell circa 1593, skyrockets. He was just a weaver so there is little documentation, but he has maybe a hundred thousand descendants in North America.

    So perhaps this proposed idea to limit who can change information and when should be limited to people born say 200 years ago or more?
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  • 1
    There are other collaborative trees out there.

    Geni/MyHeritage. While technically separate, MH is so money-hungry that it makes Geni impossible to use. I for one do not appreciate being asked to pay for the data that _I_ put up on FS FT in the first place. Also, in my experience, nobody bothers with sources on Geni, probably because the attachment process is so badly flawed. They have a merge process that requires people to have special access to the particular profiles, and it's all even more confusing than FS FT.

    WikiTree. The data structure is flawed (middle name? The only place in the world that uses that concept in any meaningful way is the United States, and even that only in the past 120 years or so), and sourcing involves coding/markup, but they promote a culture of sources-are-paramount and have some procedures available for preventing damage to particular profiles. They have problems with unsourced GEDCOM-import-based duplicates from their early days that are highly reminiscent of FS FT, but none of them are from "my" part of the world, so I have no firsthand experience with their merge process. Oh, and they also require "certification" for people to work on older profiles (I forget the cutoff date).

    WeRelate. This is the newest entry in the field, I think, and thus the smallest. It's another wiki-type endeavor. I haven't really done more than look around, but I foresee serious problems with how they're trying to set up sources. (You can't expect me to write up a separate page for every single FS URL I use, but on the other hand, you can't expect me to just cite the entire collection, either. It's all well and good that they want a "local" description of the major sources, but that's encyclopedia-writing, not genealogy.) On the plus side, they have a means of marking a set of profiles as being of particular interest, and working with just those profiles for certain tasks (such as exporting a GEDCOM). I like this idea, because it allows for a best-of-both-worlds approach to collaborative versus individual trees.

    In addition, there are multiple national tree-collections (national groves?) in Europe, such as in the Netherlands (can't find the link) and Hungary (at MACSE, the Hungarian family history society: http://www.macse.hu/society/csfakbolb...). These aren't really collaborative trees per se, but more like the Pedigree Resource File/Genealogies: anyone can contribute, but the data is static.

    All of the collaborative platforms have a stated goal of one tree for all of mankind. In an ideal world, they'd all just be different interfaces for the same underlying database, to prevent duplication of effort as well as duplication of profiles, but we are very far from that ideal. The other direction -- one platform that incorporates all the best features and leaves out all the flaws -- is pretty much impossible, because no two researchers like the same features or consider the same things to be flaws. (My major gripe with FS FT is the constant references to Mormon stuff, which I find distracting, confusing, or downright mysterious, but obviously LDS would not think so.)
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  • Statistically I think I have heard that those who actually do genealogical research, don't attend the Temple as much as those who do not do genealogical research. With the way my stomach churns and churns every week as I get the changes to people I am watching e-mail from FamilySearch, I can see why.
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  • I would like to humbly suggest that it is time for FamilySearch to do an analysis and, if needed, an update of its goals expressed in the white paper which was the formative document for FamilySearch.

    I note that the 'open edit' concept was not really specifically included in that paper.

    For further discussion, see https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...

    " THE GOALS
    The new FamilySearch website has made great
    progress in decreasing duplicate temple work
    and increasing the number of
    members participating in family
    history.
    However, it has not yet met the
    goal of reducing duplicate
    research, which requires an
    accurate, source-based family tree
    whose data endures longer than
    any of the researchers who
    contribute to it.
    "SOLUTION
    The solution is large and will not be
    implemented all at once. The changes can be
    divided into these basic categories.
    • Place much more emphasis on sources and
    citations.
    • Create a family tree that allows the
    genealogical community to collaborate "
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  • 4
    I feel that the open edit system of the tree improves my ability to research well and explain my research. I find that if people are frequently changing what I have done, then my sources and notes need to be better written.
    I get better practice at explaining why I'm right in a way that people can understand, and the better I explain and prove my case, the less likely it is that people will make changes.
    Being forced to collaborate makes me be a better researcher because I must document, source, and explain everything I do. If I don't, people change it. Most everything I do does not get changed.
    The only exception is early colonial Anerican ancestors which are prone to many changes. I do the best I can to add sources and notes and let it go, anyone who reads properly will see what it should be, even if it's changed by those who don't read or ignore the sources.
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  • 4
    With in excess of 1 million names being added to Tree every month now - it will be physically impossible to have volunteers to monitor all this work.
    There is already a community in place who use the Watch feature to monitor people who are of import to them. This is the way the system is designed and will do what you are asking for under the umbrella of collaboration.
    I really know "my" families but there is no way under heaven I would be willing to take the time to fully research "your" family to find out if you did a good job or not. If I did that I wouldn't be able to do my work. That is the issue you would run up against by introducing a layer of authorization. I am not saying this isn't a good idea I just think it is a non-starter.
    • Unfortunately, Robert, you are absolutely correct. I will investigate and report, but unless I am related in some manner to the person(s) involved, I won't touch the record(s).

      Given some of the messes I've encountered and the time it is taking to fully research them (and I'm doing descendancy research in the United States with people born in the 19th century (1800s)), I have plenty on my plate and would not participate as a monitor.

      Each person is taking me at least a full day to document and even then, that is with readily available sources in Ancestry and FamilySearch, and chasing down death certificates that I can obtain from other sources. More thorough research involves digging through a dozen or so newspaper sites (and more specific to where the person lived) and that takes time just for that part of my search. I use a relatively (I hope) complete checklist of events to look for.
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  • This reply was removed on 2018-05-28.
    see the change log
  • Besides the data errors, twice I have found portraits of sedate gentlemen dressed in late Victorian suits attached to ancestors of earlier time periods. The first was a 1760s frontiersman. Today's find lived 1550-1590.

    How about limiting users' access to "view only" until they have completed a short questionnaire demonstrating some level of experience, or at least some chronological and geographical common sense? Something that could be computer graded to spare human resources. And, in the spirit of GDPR, everyone currently registered has to complete it as well. The questions could be localized for international users, related to their history and culture. For example:

    1. In the boxes below, type a question mark for every problem with the data.

    John Rouse (1558-1590) and Anice Peabody (1561-1591), both of Kent, England were married 1583 in Marshfield, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States. Their daughter Elizabeth Martha Rouse was born about 1590 in Tenterden, Kent, England. Anice Peabody was the daughter of John Peabody (1590-1581, born in Kent, died in Massachusetts) and Isabel Harper (1592-Deceased, born and died in Massachusetts). Reason these relationships are correct: Ancestry Family Trees 

    2. Type an x in the box beside the best response to the contributor of the above information.

    a. I found the 1583 marriage of John Rouse and Anice Peabody and attached it as a source to their pages in the FamilySearch shared tree. Here's the URL: [link]
    b. I believe that the daughter of John Rouse and Anice Peabody was named Martha Elizabeth, not Elizabeth Martha. My aunt wrote it that way in the family history. 
    c. Your information was a mess! I spent hours fixing it! What were you thinking?! 
    d. My ancestors were Harper's from Marshfield. Do you think were related? 

    This example family was added just a few days ago, ignoring that (1) they were Pilgrims already in the tree with lots of descendant contributors, and (2) the Data Problems boxes for them are filled with red flags. Beyond Francis Peabody KN74-VRB, the names of the new duplicates include an extension indicating the distance from the contributor, up to 12 generations—perhaps an attempt to create a private tree within the collaborative tree.
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  • 1
    One way to encourage the participation of experienced genealogists would be to actually hire them to "clean up" individual records and attach original sources. Not just encourage them to volunteer.

    Individual family organizations would be able to do this. Perhaps they already are. I don't know if FamilySearch has the resources to hire genealogists, though.
    • FamilySearch has a very limited budget which comes from the voluntary tithing donations by members of the Church. The Family Search system is free and funded completely by donations. Most of the funds pay for building and equipment, as well as a limited number of salaries for developers and their managers. Where possible, the Church uses missionaries who pay their own way while serving in the Family History Mission.

      There would be no funds available for paying professional genealogists to clean up individual records and attach original sources. There may be some family organizations who are voluntarily working on certain records, such as those who were born before 1500.

      With very limited resources, the need for senior missionary couples is great.
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  • They say it cannot be done to stop the edits, so as to continue encourage participation? Is a fallacy, open edit system best way? WRONG. I know as I used to constantly fix it all for literally years until OCT 2017 i had enough. The church can maintain it all, but they don't want to offend anyone. I always came to the same conclusion forever as the scriptures even state. In the mouth of two or three witnesses is everything established. 1st problem is however, is that the church needs to prohibit ALL gedcoms. If this is not done then the whole thing is defeated. If that is ever resolved then the only thing to do is merge all duplicates, correct all changes, ADD TWO OR THREE PROOF SOURCES, ask that the line be locked. END OF CONVERSATION. If something needs to be added, then submit it to the people that locked it, or there team will enter it after that. We have thousands of volunteers, they can determine if trained properly what and what not is a good source is. And we do have something nobody uses anymore, its called a TELEPHONE. One thing for sure if we continue to allow all social pedigree disasters, everything will have been skewed to the nth degree! If this never happens where lines don't get locked, then 5% of errors will forever stand as the minority ruining everything.
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