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

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Survival Guide for the FamilySearch Family Tree: Part Sevem

If you were wondering why this series of posts is referred to as a "survival guide," all you have to do is look at the entry above and see what I have to talk about. This is what the entry looks like after I have done about eleven merges. I have referred to this situation as the "Fire Swamp" of the Family Tree for that reason. 

Of course, you will immediately note that the person in the above screenshot is identified only by the name "Lucy." I quick search on shows that there are 12,332,458 people in their records with that name. What are the chances of finding the right one? Yes, practically zero. But here, we have what looks like an estimated birth date and a place. The place is consistent with those of other assumed family members and so may be a starting place for identifying the person. 

It turns out that the location, Otham, Kent, England needs to be standardized. There are also several Record Hints. The place is a very small town. The current population, according to Wikipedia, is about 523 people.


The description mentions the old church of St. Nicholas dating from the 12th Century. Interestingly, the Record Hint for a marriage record includes the same church. 

The record also gives her surname. Just by adding in the Record Hints, I have now got specific information about this person and should be able to find her parents since the location is such a small place. 

What does this example illustrate about the Family Tree? What does it further illustrate about the process of verifying the records in the Family Tree? 

The Family Tree is not a vacant lot. It is a fully constructed edifice. However, it was built before there were are construction standards. In some cases, the entries need to renovated. In other, more serious situations, you may have to tear down the building and start all over. But the process remains the same, you have to build according to today's standards of correcting the entries, merging any duplicates and researching sources for every change and addition. 

You cannot assume that anything in the Family Tree that does not have a supporting source citation or explanation is at accurate. But once the sources are there, it is absolutely imperative that you study and read all of the sources before making any changes. If there are sources, do not do anything until you understand what has already been done. 

If you made additions and changes without the proper support of verifiable sources, you can assume that the "building inspectors" i.e. those watching the entries, will come along and remove or correct everything you do. Take your time. Learn how to read. Study the sources. 

Make sure you add all the information in the sources and use a standard format. 

Stay tuned for the next installment. 

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:
Part Four:
Part Five:
Part Six:

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