1) On Interesting Questions About Online Family Trees (posted 15 July 2013):
* Elyse said: "I don't have an updated tree on Ancestry only because I can't transfer my tree to someone else if I die. I know that technically my descendants could download it to a GEDCOM, but it won't look the same. I'd rather put my tree on WikiTree where I can easily pass it on to someone by just adding them to the Trusted List. (And no, I'm not just saying that because I work for WikiTree). What I like about collaborative sites is that you can share an ancestor profile - and if a tragic thing were to happen where I died or could no longer do research, someone could continue my work. This could work on sites like WeRelate (perfect if you never put living people online) or WikiTree.
"I understand why people put their tree on Ancestry - I've just never really seen a need."
"Some of my ancestors were extremely hard to find. When I found them I wanted to be sure someone else looking for the same information didn't have to go through all that I did. I would guess 1/4 of the people on my tree are not "out there" and I had to do some creative thinking to find them. One shocking revelation was the extended family I had right in my own back yard and never knew it.
"Yes, people help themselves to my documents and my work. It would be nice if they cited me but not all do. I've become more selective about which documents I will buy. It's easy to turn this hobby into a money pit.
"I don't know if this will be the right solution to maintaining my tree in years to come but I have names a limited number of people as editors to my tree. They will have access and can add, subtract, and correct misinformation. None of my children are the least bit interested. I don't want all this work and money to end up in the dumpster when I die. Hopefully someone will keep my online tree alive. And who knows, maybe by the time a child is MY age they will become interested in family history and be thankful I have done so much work."
"Bad researcher? You are setting priorities and limits. If you aimed for completeness and accuracy in the case of one-name studies, I am confident that you would not settle for indexes in "collections" type databases that are not associated with immediately accessible images. So you have decided to settle for possible vagueness and inaccuracy?"
"There may also be a cost factor. I've pulled hundreds of entries from the California Death Index (My grandfather's side of the family was huge). I could never afford to order all the death certificates for all those people.
"But, I cite indexes in other cases as well. To me, it's like the first step in the trail. I located this name, date, and place in an index. I put it in my database with a citation. I evaluate it as such. Later, I might have a chance to find a transcription of the record. I cite that too. Then someday, I might have access to the original. I cite that (of course!). If I get to the original and I realize that there was an error in the index, then I assess and correct my data at that point. "
"What I understand is, that I can't / shouldn't use an Index when writing a conclusion statement. My reason for this: I can't pass the first step in the GPS because I haven't found, nor looked at the document that the Index points to.
"In a book, you have to turn to the Page, that the index suggests, before I can capture Information from that Container (book). So, I haven't met the reasonably exhaustive research. I didn't turn the page. OR I didn't find that or didn't go to the Find-A-Grave website, that an Index pointed me to.
"All of that said, I have and will continue to Cite those index pages, but won't refer to that index at all in any summary statement. I WILL use the Container that the Index points to When writing that summary.
"Oh, and just because I opened that book to the right page, captured the information that was contained, doesn't mean that I have completed step one, but I can / should include the information in that 2nd container in my summary."
Having found the direct answer, I don't stop looking, but continue to look for conflicting information even I might find more confirming information.
I may not be focusing on that specific question, but be aware that there is a question that might have another answer."
"Let's say your subject is John Puzzler. Let’s say we have his memoir saying that he was born during a blizzard the first year his parents lived in North Dakota. Let’s say we find an affidavit by Jenny (Puzzler) Jones who, we know, was his sister. Jenny says: 'On Christmas Day, right after we moved to North Dakota, my mother died in childbirth. I helped deliver my brother because we were in the middle of a blizzard and no one could go get a doctor.' Jenny does not even mention John by name. She was not addressing the issue of John’s birth date. But her testimony IS evidence we can use to determine John’s birthdate. It’s INdirect evidence.
"By comparison, let’s say that we find testimony by Sam Puzzler, whom we can otherwise prove to be John’s first cousin. Sam testified: 'Both John and I were born on Christmas Day, in the middle of a blizzard, right after our families moved to North Dakota.' Sam has supplied us with a day and month. Sam does not specify the year, so we don’t have ALL the information we want. But he did directly, explicitly, address the issue of John’s birth date; and he explicitly, directly stated part of that date. He gave us direct evidence for our question: What was John’s birth date?
"If the evidence directly addresses our question, it is direct evidence, whether it tells us EVERYTHING we want to know or not. We wouldn’t say: Oh, yeah, it tells me 2/3 of the answer I want but it doesn’t give me the last 1/3 so I have to relabel it and call it INdirect."
"After finding direct evidence for a question in one source, it's important to find other sources that either corroborate or conflict. However, it's equally important to recognize that the reasonably exhaustive search does not require us to search endlessly for conflicting evidence, especially as consistent direct evidence stacks up."
"One point that I keep in the back of my mind though, is that I don't have to create a "brick wall" because I only found the Direct Evidence from once source. I may have also incomplete or Indirect Evidence as well. My experience and from I have heard from others, is that we will find that information, conflicting, or direct, when we least expect it."