Friday, February 10, 2012

Follow-Up Friday - another Potpourri of Reader Comments

For Follow-Up Friday, I'm delving into the comments left on recent blog posts over the past two weeks that might have helpful hints from readers or as for my comments:

1)  On "Do you Believe the FamilySearch Vision of the Future?", several users made cogent comments:

*  Anonymous commented:

"I'm going to be quite blunt... one of the most overused words at RootsTech was collaborate. We heard it from every vendor every day.  Yes- each of them want the community to collaborate with them but seems totally unwilling to collaborate with each other.

"The end users, the professionals, the different societies, and in particular the blogging community should make it very clear and very public that they will *NOT* collaborate with any of them until they start collaborating with each other and give the entire community what we have been asking for for years- ONE UNIFIED STANDARD that each of them will agree to use and abide by.

"Until that happens- a pox on ALL their houses.  The motto of the genealogy community should be: '

Randy's comments:  I think that genea-utopia will never happen... and if it does, then there will likely be one monster provider of everything genealogical - a  I'm not sure I want that... because it will stifle competition, restrict access, and charge researchers a lot of money.

*  JL commented:

"The new family tree at It seems much simpler than the present version. However, I wonder how many people will be willing to put their genealogy there. It will take many to reach the vision of the 'whole genealogy of Mankind'. And even then ...I don't think the next generations will suffer for lack of records to search for. Either there will still be plenty left or the expectations will be so different people won't care.

"I relish the idea of being able to send my non-techy relatives to FamilySearch to look at their history instead of struggling on my own with how to organize it/publish it in some fascinating way to capture their interest. If they want it, there it will be. Do you think Henry Ford thought about how sad it would be if people of the future didn't have to walk for hundreds of miles hauling their belongings through the dust?"

Randy's comment:  Good point!  Not everyone wants to do the research.  However, I hope that non-techy relatives would want to learn about their ancestors lives and the history they experienced.

*  Judy Russell commented:

"My problem with this is the underlying data. When family group sheets submitted in the far distant past are accepted as 'evidence,' the end result is simple: 'garbage in, garbage out.'"

Randy's comment:  But they are's the quality that is questionable.  Some is garbage, and discernment is a virtue!  If you, or I, or Elizabeth Mills, submitted family group sheets as a result of our years of research, wouldn't they be better than garbage?  Hmmm, maybe yours and Elizabeth's!

*  Illya commented:

"My only question for Jay would be,'"is FamilySearch going to foot the entire bill for this?' Cause I don't see much of a commercial industry left 5 years from now when FamilySearch has made a majority of the (most desired) data available for free."

Randy's comments:  That's an excellent question.  However, I don't think FamilySearch will have made a majority of the most desired data freely available.  Quite a bit of it will be imaged, but not indexed.  

*  Celia commented:

"I agree that expecting commercial entities to "collaborate" with each other is utopian... At the same time, I simply do NOT understand the desire to "merge" everybody into one big tree of womankind. Plus there are so many errors in trees (may I say, in FS family group sheets etc.), that it is, as Judy says, "garbage in, garbage out". I just want to share my tree (yup, got mytreeitis) with my cousins, kids, and other relatives, and have it as sourced as I can make it."

Randy's comment:  A big inter-connected database, with source-centric conclusions based on evidence is the dream of make it easier for a beginner to hook into.  Or a politician!  Sharing your tree with your family is fine, and the more sources you have the better.  Not everybody will contribute to the big tree, methinks!

*  David Newton wrote a long epistle in comments (go read it all), ending with:

"So in summary for this vision to come true the accumulation of junk genealogy in it must be stopped or slowed considerably, the existing junk genealogy must be purged from the system and source citations must be consistent, easy to find and easy to use."

Randy's comments:  That's what Ron Tanner said they wanted to do ... but the proof will be in the pudding, as they say.  And what happens to the other online family trees - inter-connected or isolated?  IMHO, they are leads that researchers can connect with and critically evaluate as to quality.  Even junk genealogy has value - they can always be bad examples!

2)  On Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Genea-Bowl, I had only one comment and saw no other posts about it.  The comment is gone, removed by a "blog administrator."  Not me!  The commenter?  I don't know.  It was a great response.  I have it in my email.  Did everyone take the weekend off?  Or was the challenge too trivial or too hard?

3)  On my post Day 2 of Randy's Salt Lake City Adventure, several commenters offered help with my FHL microfilm frustrations:

*  Heather Rojo commented:

"Yes, the early Plymouth records are hard to read, even in person. There is a book of transcriptions Plymouth court records, 1686-1859, by David Thomas Konig, William Edward Nelson, Plymouth County (Mass.). Court of General Sessions of the Peace, Plymouth County (Mass.). Court of Common Pleas in multiple volumes. I'll bet they have this book right there at Salt Lake City."


"Also Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England: Court orders [being ... By New Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. General Court available at Google Books."

*  Howard Swain commented:

"For Plymouth probate, see: C. H. Simmons, Jr., Plymouth Colony Records: Volume I, Wills and Inventories, 1633-1669 (Camden, ME: Picton Press, 1996) I think this is a complete transcription.

"Early Barnstable Co. probate records as transcribed by Hinckley are available online at NEHGS. See website for more details.

"Also, early issues of The Mayflower Descendant have probate records (abstracted, I think) for both Plymouth Colony and Barnstable County. The first 25 volumes are online at NEHGS now.

"I found both our Allens and Holloways in the second two sources above. (This reminds me I need to look in the Simmons book for them.)"

Randy's comments:  I see that I failed to check for low hanging fruit with these books and periodicals.  Thanks for the help, and they are on my research to-do list.  The microfilm images sure makes me appreciate those who transcribed them years ago!

4)  On my post Surname Saturday - ALLEN (England > Massachusetts), there were two comments:

*  Howard Swain offered:

" Probably the most authoritative source is the sketch on George Allen in the second series of Great Migration books: Robert Charles Anderson, et. al, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635, vol I, pp. 27-35. They say the George's origin is 'unknown'. See his comments at the end re. the Guilford account.

"Also see Richard LeBaron Bowen, Jr., 'Notes on George Allen of Weymouth and Sandwich', NEHGR vol 155 (April 2001), pp 212-214.  This also discusses the two Ralph Allens.  Mr. Bowen mentions at the end a typescript by Bertha W. Clark, 'A Sandwich-Dartmouth-North Kingstown Allen Line (1955).' She has extensive citing of references. This is available from the LDS as film #547019.

"Also, Anderson, et al, mention the older (1941) article by Charles Carroll Gardner in GMNJ vol XVI. This has been reprinted in Genealogies of New Jersey Families.

"The first two items I mentioned are cited in Martin E. Hollick's book:  New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Between 1980 and 2005; NEHGS, Boston, 2006. This book really ought to be on your bookshelf."

My comments:  Thanks for the leads.  I have Martin Hollick's book on my shelf, but evidently didn't pull it down that night!  

*  Sue Barry commented:

" Randy, hate to say it, but you use one of my pet peeves, the listing of a site in Massachusetts in the 1600s as 'United States'... but I love all your posts and the fun challenges... It's too late to do the random name search tonight, but I'm going to try it later this week! what cool sites you find!!! "

My comments:  I understand your frustration.  As you probably know, the software wants the current place name so it can use the mapping and geotagging features in the software.  My hope - and I heard rumbles about it at RootsTech - is that the software will eventually add  historical locations, with the appropriate jurisdictions (town, county, state, country) associated with the current locations.  RootsMagic has that now for users to pick from, but the historical locations do not show up in Facts, charts or reports.  That is something I would love to see!  

5)  Thank you to everyone that commented favorably about my Genea-Musings Makeover.  

6)  Thank you to everyone for their cogent and helpful comments - I hope that they help other researchers with their research challenges.

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Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012.

1 comment:

Judy G. Russell said...

Randy asks: "If you, or I, or Elizabeth Mills, submitted family group sheets as a result of our years of research, wouldn't they be better than garbage?" If you or I submitted family group sheets _without documentation_, I'd expect Elizabeth to disown us both.