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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

What is missing from the FamilySearch Family Tree?

"A picture of an optical illusion. Taken at the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg." by Diarb2008 -
Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
When you look at your family on the Family Tree, you have a tendency to look at what is there rather than what is not there. Just as this image is an optical illusion, likewise, the Family Tree becomes a conceptual illusion. Lately, FamilySearch has added different icons to alert users to what is not in the Family Tree and what either needs to be corrected or added. The issue of an inability to see what is missing in the Family Tree becomes more of a problem in direct proportion to the amount of information you find when you look. If your ancestors were early converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then you will have more of an tendency to view what is there as complete. You become like the people in the story about the Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. From Wikipedia: The Emperor's New Clothes.
Andersen's tale is based on a story from the Libro de los ejemplos (or El Conde Lucanor, 1335),[2] a medieval Spanish collection of fifty-one cautionary tales with various sources such as Aesop and other classical writers and Persian folktales, by Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (1282–1348). Andersen did not know the Spanish original but read the tale in a German translation titled "So ist der Lauf der Welt".[3] In the source tale, a king is hoodwinked by weavers who claim to make a suit of clothes invisible to any man not the son of his presumed father; whereas Andersen altered the source tale to direct the focus on courtly pride and intellectual vanity rather than adulterous paternity.
So, what is missing from your portion of the Family Tree? Sometimes, like the story, you need someone to come along and point out what should have been obvious. I have found that this process takes about an hour to an hour and a half. But it also takes someone who is aware of the problems with the information in the Family Tree and who also knows how to use the missing information to an advantage in finding more people not already in the Family Tree.

I cannot solve this problem with one or even many blog posts. But I can begin by showing individuals who can then show others what to look for. This process is now called FIND, TAKE and TEACH. I has become the theme of FamilySearch recently. You will hear more about this in the future, but for now, take my word for it: the Emperor has no clothes and those who have pioneer Ancestors or even long pedigrees without pioneers, are likely missing seeing what is not there.


  1. Hmmm. This is indeed an intriguing post. I can't wait to hear more!

  2. gaps, missing marriage record, misplaced persons, omitted folks from censuses, etc.

    I point them out to my friends regularly to seek sources for them.