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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Correcting the FamilySearch Family Tree -- A Retrospective and Case Study Part Four

Note: This is the fourth installment of this post series. You may wish to start with the other installments, if you haven't already read them by clicking on the following links:

In the first three installments, I have been examining the entries in the Family Tree for the Parkinson family. Thomas Parkinson, (b. 1830, d. 1906) was my Great-great-grandfather. In the last installment, I had stopped when I could not find birth information about Thomas. However, since writing the last post, I have done more research and found the family very near the locations presently entered into the Family Tree. Here is a copy of the the following:
"1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription." 1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Sep. 2015. <>.
Here is copy of the actual record from

The family is shown exactly as it appears in Now to some background. Years ago, I was doing what would now be called the Survey step of the Research Cycle. That took me approximately 15 years, mainly because of the huge number of relatives (ancestors or whatever) that were sitting in the files at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was pre-computer days and I was building my pedigree family group sheet by family group sheet. The file I created on a succession of Apple computers was a composite of all the thousands of family group records I went through at the Library over the years. My file went into the Pedigree Resource File and the Ancestral File and therefore was part of the information that ended up in the program and subsequently in the Family Tree. So, what goes around, comes around. I am, in essence, verifying my own information.

The birth, marriage and death information in the original files that made up this particular family came partially from me. Therefore, my own file, which I have on several different programs on my computer is the end product of all those years of research.

Why is this important? Because if you are working with the Family Tree, you need to recognize where the information is coming from. Sometime after I began all my research, which included the Parkinson family, the book I cited previously was printed.

Parkinson, Diane, and John Parkinson. James Parkinson of Ramsey: His Roots and His Branches : England, Australia, America : A Biographical History and Genealogical Record of the Family of James and Elizabeth Chattle Parkinson. Austin, Tex.: Published for the James Parkinson Family Association by Historical Publications, 1987.

Unfortunately, as I noted, the information in the book lacks very many substantiating sources. The James Parkinson of the book is the father of Thomas Parkinson and the my Great-great-great-grandfather.

This means that the information in the Family Tree is still in a state of flux. My information came directly from the family records of the people who were more closely related to James Parkinson and as a matter of fact, the information presently in the Family Tree almost exactly reflects my own information for the reason that it probably came from me. Notwithstanding that fact, I now have to take the position that because there are no sources supporting what I have in file, my conclusions are suspect.

Here are copies of a series of Family Group Records from the Family History Library Archives Section showing the information I got initially on the Parkinson Family: ("Family Group Records Collection, Archives Section, 1942-1969." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, compiler, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

So, my present involvement with the Family Tree consists on documenting, generation by generation, each entry. I have completed about five generations on all my lines. Thomas Parkinson is the fifth generation and I started this process of documentation because, in a sense, he was next in line.

There is one small, housekeeping issue. A Family Tree user entered a number of sources for the James Parkinson family connecting the family to a James Parkinson in Manchester, England. The 1841 UK Census and the remaining information concerning births and deaths indicate that my Parkinson family lived in Huntingdonshire, England in a relatively small area. The Manchester family could not have been the same family so the sources entered showing that family were detached. Further, we know that the James Parkinson family moved to Australia where he died and then his son, Thomas ended up in Beaver, Beaver, Utah where he died so Thomas' daughter could marry my Great-grandfather.

So, here is the process of "correcting" the entries in the Family Tree. It is nothing more or less than systematic research, step-by-step, generation-by-generation, providing sources for every event whenever possible. Evenually, it is entirely possible that I will find that the information in the Family Tree is not correct, at that point, new information can be added and new people introduced into the Family Tree. When this process is completed for any individual, that is one more link in the chain that has been welded and verified.

I am far from finished. Stay tuned.

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