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

Sunday, August 12, 2018

FamilySearch Changes Almost All Wrongly Changed

As many of us are aware, if we "Watch" individuals in the Family Tree, we will receive an email notification from FamilySearch once a week showing us all the changes that have been made. This week I was notified of 14 people changed with 97 changes. Nearly all those changes had to be corrected or reversed. Here is one example that I have been following and writing about for some time.

The changes involved adding parents with this result.

Francis Cooke has 52 Memories and 57 Sources. The last sources were added in 2017. One of the first sources listed is the following:

This is from The Mayflower descendant: a quarterly magazine of Pilgrim genealogy and history, by the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants for 1899, Volume 3. The first line of this article states:
Francis Cook's ancestry and his home before he joined the Pilgrims are unknown. 
The latest statement in Wikipedia: Francis Cooke states:
His ancestry is unknown and there are no records of the time found regarding his birth.
If this person who added parents to the Family Tree had read anything at all about his "ancestor," he would know that there are no known parents. 

The vast majority of the inaccurate changes to the Family Tree come from this type of negligence and lack of involvement. Additionally, the same people with some of the same changes show up every week, week after week. For example, here is another change made from this week.

John Tanner KWJ1-K2F has 236 Memories and 93 sources in the Family Tree. If someone is a descendant of John Tanner, they usually know about their relationship. In fact, we met a couple of young people yesterday and they recognized us as missionaries and one of them said that he was a descendant of John Tanner. By the way, he barely knew the name. But here, time after time, without adding any more sources, people add a "Pardon Tanner" as a son of John Tanner and his wife Lydia Stewart Tanner. Here is the statement my daughter Amy Tanner Thiriot wrote to the person who added the child.
Reason This Relationship Was Deleted 
There is no reliable or trustworthy source documenting that John Tanner (KWJ1-K2F) and Lydia Stewart Tanner (LC3X-WJ5) had a son named Pardon. 
RonT provided a copy of the family bible in John Tanner's Memories section. The family bible lists Lydia's children as: William, Mathilda, Willard, Sidney, John Joshua, Romela, Nathan, Edward, Edwin, Maria Loisa, Martan Henery, and Albert. (All spellings from the record.) Lists of the family from the 19th and early 20th centuries do not mention a child named Pardon, and sources within the family state that John and Lydia had twelve children. 
John Tanner had a brother named Pardon Tanner (L6G9-6S3), born 1791. William Tefft Tanner (LZY8-STR) and Lydia Foster (LHRF-CWS) had a child named Pardon Tanner (MBPD-GH5), born 1820, died 1824. Elizabeth Tanner and Newman Perkins had a child Pardon Perkins (K236-P41), born 1824. 
William and Lydia Tanner's son is probably the Pardon mistakenly placed into the John and Lydia Tanner family. 
I don't know who first speculated that John and Lydia had a son named Pardon. A Pardon Tanner was sealed as a child to John Tanner and Lydia Stewart on September 2, 1975 in the Logan Utah LDS Temple. I have never seen a valid reason for anyone doing that. No one has ever provided documentation. The family temple work done in the late 1800s does not include Pardon. 
Until someone can provide an actual reliable document from the nineteenth century (burial or church record) showing his existence that proves that he is the son of John and Lydia and not of Joshua and Thankful or William and Lydia or Elizabeth and Newman, please do not add him to the family.
We will not give up correcting the entries. But I will probably not find time to look at every single entry that changes every week. I do review the changes and appreciate the help of my daughters in keeping the changes under control.

There needs to be a general change in the attitude of those with ancestors who are already well documented in the Family Tree. We need to realize that a lot of effort has gone into research many family lines since the Family Tree has been in existence. Before we add anything to an existing ancestor in the Family Tree, we need to:
If you think you can outlast the Tanners, you are mistaken.  


  1. I'm also a descendant of Francis Cooke (he is my 10th great-grandfather), and if I had a dollar for every change on him I see, I could pay off a hefty mortgage!

    I've had many struggles with this, and I have eventually come to this plan:
    - I put a watch on every direct line ancestor and any others whom I know personally or have done the main research for.
    - I check the changes reported on these and make any corrections, notations, or source attachments necessary.
    - I pretend I'm Hansel in the forest and leave an easy-to-follow trail so people can tell what I did.
    - I dedicate my Sunday family history time to correcting, rather than straight researching.
    - I contact people who are making changes to see if they would like to share information. If they are my direct line, I invite them to join the Facebook group for our family.
    - I keep my desktop program accurate, so that even if someone does something devastating, I can always fix it.

    1. That is a great summary. Do you mind if I quote you in a post?

  2. The anger at changed has finally hit me. My husbands 3x great grandparents are Thomas Coleman (1780-1847) and mother Coleman (1789-1831.) Someone put in those Thomas and Catherine Louis Redding with a child James Coleman. This James Coleman died in 1947. So his parents were born sometimes during the first part of the 1900. There was no proof attached except for a note she got the information on Ancestry. I left her a note with the death certificate number and pointed out it was wrong.

    People are just looking at names and not the dates.

  3. I work in our local Family.History Center, I have seen so many duplicated entries in Family Search. People do not check to see if someone else has entered that person in their tree. I was taught to check other possible trees before adding them to my tree