After my bout last week with Thomas Dudley and the link to Charlemagne, I decided to look at him in the FamilySearch Family Tree (FSFT).
This exercise is intended to show the problem with many of the early U.S. colonial ancestors in the FSFT. The problem is too much erroneous data, and too many uncombined persons who are the same historical person, and not nearly enough sources to support any of the information in the FSFT.
1) When I used RootsMagic 6 to try to Match the Thomas Dudley (1576-1653) in my database with Thomas Dudley in the FSFT, here is the list of possible matches:
As you can see, there are 15 different potential matches on the list. All have the same name, all have the same birth year, all but one have the same birth county, 7 have the same death date, three have a death place, three have a father, only one has am other's name, and all 15 list a spouse's name (but it is the same name!). All 15 are separate entities in the FamilySearch Family Tree.
Since these 15 persons are all the same historical person, logically I should match to all of them. I'm leery of doing that...but it is what should be done by somebody at some time. I'm surprised that nobody else has done it all during the 5 years of access by LDS church members and the encouragement to combine historical persons into one profile. Obviously, that was not done in the case of Thomas Dudley (hmmm, maybe it was done and the combining ended up in 15 profiles?).
Why am I leery of combining all 15 Thomas Dudley's using RootsMagic? Because I know that cleaning up an FSFT profile using RootsMagic is very time consuming and not everything can be done from within RootsMagic. For instance, you cannot delete persons, or delete spousal or parent-child relationships from within RootsMagic. Those tasks need to be done in Family Tree, and they can be done faster. I've found it's better to do that before I match a Family Tree person to my RootsMagic person.
I picked the one that listed the spouse's name to match my RootsMagic person to, since it also had everything else correct, except the birth place:
All of the information on that FamilySearch Family Tree person is similar, although that profile does not have Thomas Dudley's second wife, Katherine Deighton, and the three children they had together. Perhaps other Thomas Dudley profiles have them.
2) I decided to go look at some of the other profiles for Thomas Dudley in the FamilySearch Family Tree just to see what the situation was. I did a "Find" for Thomas Dudley and saw a long list (the same ones that are on the Match list above), and I picked one of them (it was the second one on my Match list above) - the "Vital Information" list::
The "Other Information" in the profile:
That's just the top of the category - there are 37 different variations on Thomas Dudley's name on the list, including one "Samuel Dudley." There are also 7 Titles of nobility (including one for 9GG), and a baptism, confirmation and first communion event in the 1890s (which may be LDS ordinances).
Further down, there are the two family lists - one column for the "Spouses and Children," a second for "Parents and Siblings:"
Again, this is only the top of this section. There is only one set of children (but only three children!) with Dudley's first wife, Dorothy Yorke (there were five children by her, I think). However, there are 31 entries with Dudley's second wife, Katherine Deighton (many different spellings, and all 31 have a different FSFT ID profile number for Katherine). None of them list any children for Dudley with Katherine, but several sources say they had three children together.
It gets worse: Over on the right side of the screen above, Thomas Dudley is listed as a child in 12 different families headed by Roger Dudley (all the same FSFT ID), with Susaana Thorne identified as his mother in 11 of them (there are 11 different FSFT IDs for Susanna).
This Profile for Thomas Dudley had one "Sources entry - a citation for everything on the page (none were tagged to an Event):
I was curious about the "Discussions" section:
Two years ago, two persons added a comment about the daughter Sarah and the second wife's name.
3) That's the problem! There's nothing that says the other 13 profiles for Thomas Dudley aren't attached to more duplicate or wrong spouses, or duplicate or wrong parents and siblings, or duplicate or wrong children.
Do you see all of the extraneous information, the multiple entries for persons (in this case, Thomas Dudley, and spouses for both Thomas Dudley and his father, Roger Dudley)?
How can that be worked to make Thomas Dudley (1576-1653) into one person Profile, with one person Profile for his two spouses, and one person Profile for his 8 children? And then we have to deal with the children, and their spouses, and the parents of Thomas Dudley and his spouses, ad infinitum it seems.
It will be a really BIG challenge to do this one Person Profile and all of his family connections and get them right. Then there are millions of other person Profiles to add, correct or delete.
Do you understand why I'm leery about doing Thomas Dudley's FSFT profile using RootsMagic? I'm quite sure that the challenge ism ore than I can handle.
FamilySearch thinks that if everybody works together and does their part that the task will get done and there will be this one really big MOAHPFT (that's Mother Of All Historical Persons Family Tree). That's a great thought in principle - but making it work is the challenge.
What are your thoughts? How can this be made to work for historical persons like Thomas Dudley? Are you willing to contribute?
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/09/the-problem-with-familysearch-family.html
Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver