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Errors in Ancestry Trees

Discussion in 'Ancestry problems' started by Willibrod, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, it is - all mine are on. However, to the best of my knowledge I've never received any email notifications, however I only have one public tree.
  2. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    I sent messages to a few closes matches a few months ago; one disappeared entirely - can the recipient do that?
  3. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Apparently not but the sender can delete a message they sent and that is what I was referring to in thread #94.
    From the support centre:
    Currently, you can only delete messages you've sent, not messages the other person has sent. To delete a message you sent, open a message, hover over something you wrote, and click the trash can that appears.
    There is more, in this link
  4. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    I came across an Ancestry tree today which told me all kinds of things about my ancestor that I didn't know before!

    I have him marrying just once with 14 children to follow, but according to this tree he married 6 times, including twice before he was born and twice on the same day to different women.

    By one wife he had two children, one born before he (my ancestor) was born and the other 34 years later, and by another wife he had 34 children within 25 years. It seems the other 4 wives didn't produce any children, which may have been something of a relief to him.

    How do people manage not to notice what utter rubbish they are adding to their trees?
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I would imagine it's because they've been offered hints. It can be difficult for beginners to know what to do.
  6. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    Fair enough, we all have to start somewhere. But it’s the not noticing which puzzles me - surely even a novice genealogist knows people can’t marry or have children before they’re born?
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps they don't know which bits of information are wrong and which are right? Their only real error is to have made their tree public.
  8. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    Hardly. And in any case, whether to have your tree public or private is purely a matter of personal preference.
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Absolutely not. Having a public tree means you have some level of responsibility to other Ancestry users - if you have a private tree you don't, you can experiment.

    Surely this discussion is only taking place because the errors are in public trees?
  10. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    To some extent that’s true, and I’m aware that some people do make their trees private on a temporary basis for this reason.

    But I suspect that a good many of the errors we see in Ancestry trees have nothing at all to do with ‘experimenting’. Nor are they limited to the trees of beginners.
  11. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I have theories about that, having seen a tree that has my great grand parents with the correct amount of children but very many step children and some of those have different last names. It is such a mess I can't work out how it has happened.
    The tree owner wasn't active when I first found the tree some years ago and still isn't but his errors are there for all to see.

    My theories
    The tree owner is sharing their tree and allowing others to contribute. I've seen a tree that has quite a list of contributors. I doubt that the actual owner has much control over the rubbish added.

    The tree owner is using the Hints that are other trees and doing a 'merge' then not checking the result. In my naivety, many years ago I used a tree hint and the result was not as I expected, I never do it now.

    The tree owner is adding people using a census and Ancestry is allocating the children incorrectly or, is creating a new parent. This does happen, therefore it's necessary to watch the process as you tick each person and examine profiles to ensure parents and children are matched correctly.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 2
  12. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Superstar

    Some of them also add the same person multiple times. I've seen trees with the same children added two or three times!

    My personal favourites are still the ancestors who not only manage to have two wives who are having children at the same time, but they're also on other sides of the world! A couple of trees link my ancestor, who emigrated in 1839, to a series of census returns in England that belong to another family - I have never quite worked out how they think it's possible for someone to be having children in South Australia and Sussex at the same time.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I am, as most in the Forum know (and Peter especially), an advocate of Public Trees whilst accepting some people choose to go Private; so be it. But, for those who wish to 'hide their light under a bushel' ( to borrow from the biblical quotation), they can go one further and make their Tree unsearchable, visible only to themselves.

    I recently saw the need to do this myself (surprise, surprise) to create an experimental Tree . Its purpose was to allow me to research a family adoption mystery (still a sore topic with some family members). I hope to become knowledgeable through interrogating Public Trees, borrowing and scrutinising as necessary. Cloak and Dagger perhaps, but sadly necessary and harming no one but myself.

    As for Public Tree responsibilities, yes like driving a car one has responsibilities to do so safely and lawfully but the main purpose of the car is to get from a to b. Responsibility comes with experience (passing ones test if you like) and judging by the number of 'Mickey Mouse' Trees still out there, many, I fear are still 'Learners'. And just as my wife tells me when I am behind a car bearing an 'L' plate..."remember you once were a Learner so have patience" ... it is not easy to do so. Perhaps we need to have patience ourselves when viewing Trees clearly owned and worked by Novices.
  14. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    And if they didn't have L plates, would you be so tolerant?
  15. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    I have a public tree attached to my DNA and a (large) number of "per family" trees that are private non-searchable. In theory, this allows me to research and extend a small tree and, when satisfied, update the large tree without introducing errors - error checking in FTM takes seconds for a small tree and many minutes for the full tree.

    This approach is supported by a recent update where I skipped step one and modified the full tree - disaster! My system usually works well, but I missed a step somewhere and ended up with a number of people being a child of themselves and, for one person, about 30 husbands and wives (?) over a 100 year period! Fortunately, deleting people and re-applying the update (which is done by merging a GEDCOM file) got things back as they should be!
  16. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Sadly, a good point and the answer would indeed be NO, as my wife would testify. But that is motoring and for some reason I cannot explain, I am far more tolerant when it comes to uncovering Ancestry Tree nonsense. I often content myself with utterances..."what planet are you from" or "pull the other one" and then move on, making mental notes to avoid them in future. Of course for minor variances in seemingly matching Trees that might even call into question my own research, I will message. Providing of course I find they have been online in the last month or so. Often they have not and experience teaches I am unlikely to get a reply.

    I once told a one-name study researcher who I got to know - he was researching my secondary paternal NAME line - that if the rest of his Tree resembled that part that coincided with my own research, he was living in cloud cuckoo land. As I recall he said something like .."well I won't be changing a thing". To him all that mattered was acquiring names, the more the merrier. Such people cannot be helped.
  17. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    So am I - that's why I've been defending them.
  18. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    My post above was certainly not written to express intolerance. It was meant as a light-hearted comment, as I was actually somewhat amused by what I’d found in this tree, even though I was at the same time wondering how such obvious inconsistencies get overlooked by the tree owners.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  19. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Superstar

    We touched on this earlier in this topic, but with some of the errors I've found in online trees, it seems they have occurred because people do not obtain certificates (or pdfs) or even check the 'new' online GRO indexes. Obviously buying certificates for relatives on every last twig of your tree can get prohibitively expensive, but not getting them for those in your direct line can be a false economy.

    I've also found that quite a lot of people still seem to be unaware that they can now find the mother's maiden name and death ages from the GRO's own indexes, and that just checking those indexes could very quickly and cheaply eliminate some mistakes. For example, one of my relatives married twice between the 1841 and 1851 censuses, and most trees show the assumption that the wife shown in 1851 was mother of all the children shown - a mistake that can be easily spotted by checking the online birth indexes.

    I've now started adding the link to the GRO indexes when I make a comment or message a tree owner, which seems mostly to be appreciated.
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