Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Locking Files on FamilySearch Family Tree

One of the facts of life when working with Family Tree is that some of the ancestral lines are a mess. I have a fully documented and very well settled ancestral line to three of the Mayflower passengers. Unfortunately, in going back in Family Tree and trying to follow the lines to the original Mayflower passengers, the data is so confused that this is virtually impossible. There is no controversy whatsoever over that particular line. It has been documented better than most genealogists can imagine. I recently spent a week in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah verifying my own data on that line to see if there were any "new" developments. There was one note to a research project extending one of the lines that had been reviewed and published in the The American Genealogist.

I can't even adequately illustrate the problem with screenshots. For example, coming down two generations from the Mayflower passengers, my direct line ancestor, Philip Taber married Mary Cooke, the daughter of John Cooke and grand-daughter of Francis Cooke of the Mayflower passengers. If you need some reference here, you might start with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, usually referred to as the Mayflower Society. There are few people better documented than the Mayflower passengers and their descendants for at least five generations. Notwithstanding this huge amount of readily available documentation, Philip Taber in Family Tree has 21 different iterations of wives. I cannot begin to straighten out this mess because the program has more than 15 different unresolved duplicates for his wife Mary Cooke.

This is why I have been not-so-patiently been waiting for years to see if this tangled mess could ever be resolved. At last, there is a glimmer of hope. has finally began to openly lock some of the entries in the Family Tree program. The locked files are appearing with a banner indicating that the files are "Read Only." This is a positive step and very welcome. I give me hope that the process of finally converting the old data over to Family Tree is almost finished, or at least in the state where it could be finished.

The locking of files appears to affect somewhat random selections, including some prominent historical figures and others not so prominent. If the entries for the Mayflower passengers and their 5 generation descendants were corrected and then locked, this would simply my life immensely. There are other sets of people that would also benefit from this practice. Even if these individuals were locked temporarily we could have a vacation from random changes being made until the files were finally consolidated and was finally turned off.

There is a small light at the end of the tunnel.

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