Goldman, William. 1998. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure : The “Good Parts” Version Abridged. New York: Ballantine Pub. Group.
Reiner, Rob, William Goldman, Andrew Scheinman, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, et al. 2001. The princess bride.
OK, since I am starting out with such sterling academic credentials as to my qualifications for advising everyone how to navigate out of the fire swamp, you should pay particular attention to my suggestions. No, really, The Princess Bride is probably about the level of the issues apparent in the Family Tree.
I have also been known to refer to parts of the Family Tree as launching off into fantasy land, but I have pretty much settled on the fire swamp lately. As a result, I decided to set down some specific steps for cleaning up your family lines and pruning off the really bad limbs and branches of what is on the Family Tree.
Step One: Start with the most recent (in time) individuals with verifiable sources and consistently edited information.
Let me illustrate what I mean by an individual with verifiable sources and consistently edited information. Here is a screenshot of my Grandfather Harold Morgan (b. 1892, d. 1963)
The dates and places are all standardized. There is a warning icon about a "duplicate child" but that issue is unresolvable because of the error message, "Cannot be Merged at This Time." Until the Family Tree is completely fixed, that message and many others will continue to appear. Here is a screenshot of a contrasting entry from further back on this same family line where it is apparent that no one has been correcting or editing the information.
In this example, the birth place is recorded as Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1718 which is entirely possible. But the Christening Date is recorded as 15 March 1719/20 in "Butterton Par.Ch, Hulme End, Staffs." Did his mother really have a baby in Massachusetts and then cross the Atlantic and have the baby christened in England and then return to the "United States" where he could die? If we drop down a little further in this entry, we can see additional problems.
We have definitely stepped off into the fire swamp. Of course there are no sources listed for any of this information. This conflicting, inaccurate and very confusing information comes from 150 years of submissions to FamilySearch and its predecessors without any process of correction or verification other than a search for duplicate entries. Submissions were allowed as long as the entries conformed to a standard format. No attempt was made to determine if the information was accurate. Even if the information was obviously incomplete, the entries were still accepted. This is not a reflection on the people involved in the process, but more a reflection on the lack of an adequate system to verify the records. Guess what? That system now exists. It is time to correct and repair the damage of the past century or so of submissions. Let's not stick our heads in the sand and pretend that this situation does not exist.
The lack of any correction to the places is a red flag that nothing has yet been done to verify this information. It is basically entirely unreliable. Unfortunately, there are a significant number of people who think the Family Tree has been verified and is "true" in all aspects. They then rely on this kind of entry to find names to take to the Temples. This is the functional equivalent of making up the names.
By the way, this line goes out one more generation. Here is the screenshot.
Apparently, this person's father was "of Harrison Co., Kentucky" and was supposedly born in 1690. This is about 102 years before Kentucky became a state on 1 June 1792 and about 103 years before Harrison County, Kentucky was formed from portions of Bourbon and Scott Counties. I do not have to search for more than a few seconds to find example after example of this type of error.
Here is the real problem. Using the Family Tree Descendancy View, I can see the following descendants of the most remote ancestor, William Hambleton. Notice the availability of names for Temple Ordinances.
I am certain that someone will find these green icons and run out an do the work without verifying that any of the people are actually related or real. Does anyone out there care that this situation exists and that until the corrections are made the situation will continue to exist?
Step Two: Follow the Family Line and find the last person with verifiable data.
This is the next step. I would begin with my Grandfather and work back on this line. Here it goes.
This line goes back through John Hamilton Morgan to his mother Eliza Ann Hamilton. The sources begin to disappear with Eliza Ann Hamilton. Here is the extension:
Here is the next extension showing the Thomas Hamilton (Hambleton) I used as an example above. Where does this line really end? It ends at the first unreliable entry.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this post series.