Sunday, November 26, 2017
Focus Your Efforts on the FamilySearch Family Tree
If you look closely at the above screenshot from the FamilySearch.org Family Tree, you will see that there are 72 Memories and 63 Sources attached to this individual. Sometimes, as is the case with Francis Tanner, a lot of research is necessary and documenting that research is also necessary. In this case, as I have been writing in the recent past, the problem is a frustrating end-of-line situation. In other cases, it is merely a need to fully document a well-recorded individual. I can assure you that every other ancestor leading back to Francis Tanner is just as well documented. As a matter of fact, leading up to and including Francis in the eight generations of my male Tanner line, there are a total of 511 sources attached to this particular Tanner line. There are also 723 Memories. Much of the information now in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree was not previously available to the Tanner family.
For example, the birth record of John Tanner KWJ1-K2F had never been published or referenced previously to doing the research in the Hopkinton, Rhode Island Town Clerk Records. Substantiating each individual has taken years of intensive research.
The idea here is that family history is a cumulative effort that may take many years. The Family Tree is a wonderful tool to accumulate and collaborate all of this information. What is most important is that the Family Tree allows for an ongoing correction process. A lot of errors and misinformation has accumulated over the years and the Family Tree allows us to come much closer to a family-wide consensus concerning crucial identifications and information.
Another important factor is that the information that is found continues to be incorporated into the summaries under Vital Information. I am frequently finding dates and places recorded in the Vital Information section that do not match the records that have been added as sources. When you do find a pertinent record, take the time to accurately record the information in the summary.
One frustrating problem is that people are still making changes without adding a substantiating source. This is even more frustrating when the change contradicts the sources and Memories already available. Reproducing traditional information that is not now supported by sources does not help the overall effort to correct and substantiate the entries in the Family Tree.
I am finding quite a number of people who are focusing their attention on a pedigree or family tree in another program. There are a variety of reasons for doing this. Most commonly, they express a concern about "changes" being made to the Family Tree. However, as I have pointed out, these "changes" are, in many cases, resulting in the correction of the accumulation of false traditionally held information. By failing to focus on the Family Tree, these false traditions are merely being perpetuated. The Family Tree is essentially a "clearing house" for information about the world's families.
Surprisingly, this unsupported and false traditional information seems to come most commonly from Ancestry.com. This is surprising since Ancestry.com supplies a wealth of record hints that are apparently being ignored by its users. For example, I now have 24 Ancestry supplied sources for my Great-great-grandfather Sidney Tanner. However, in looking at some of the other family trees in Ancestry that share information about this particular ancestor, I find none with all of these sources and some family trees with as few as 4 sources. I can only assume that these people are not focusing on Sidney to any extent and are potential contributors of inaccurate information. The is especially true since Sidney has 66 sources in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree.
Of course, the raw number of sources is not the only persuasive factor in correcting information. It is not uncommon to find inappropriately attached sources that have not been properly evaluated. But that is another problem for another day.