Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Interesting Comments and Follow-Up on Genea-Musings Posts

Here are some of the recent comments on Genea-Musings posts, and my responses if warranted:

1)  On Tuesday's Tip: FamilySearch Has Added New York City Records (posted 24 March 2015):

* Dara said excitedly: "Thank you, Randy Seaver!! I've finally found the death record for my GGG-grandmother, Jane Byrne, in Brooklyn, in 1901 and with it the names of my GGGG-grandparents, William and Hannah Daly - Happy Days! Can't wait to learn more about these record sets."

My comment:  I love getting comments like this!!!  It made my day.  Glad I can help, Dara, and I hope you find records of your 4th great-grandparents too!

*  Jacqi Stevens noted:  "Randy, this is excellent news! Guess I'll have to switch tracks on my ancestor chase, and set aside the pursuit of maternal colonials and take a look at what I can find on paternal immigrant NYC residents. I've got plenty of them that have me stymied."

My comment:  Good luck with your search, but please keep going on your maternal colonials too.

2)  On Sorting Out the Military Service of Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1820) (posted 23 March 2015):

*  Linda Stufflebean commented:  "Randy, Check the website, GRS link to Ancestors.

"Two Zachariahs come up, one 1728-1784, married Elizabeth Prescott. The second 1754-1829 married Elizabeth Keyes and he is called 2nd Lt. One member, nat. number 762184, has both men listed as her patriots. My nat. number begins with 658 and I joined in 1981. This lady likely joined in the late 1980s or early 1990s and had to provide strong documentation."

My comment:  Thank you for looking, Linda.  Can I see the application online to see the lines that were submitted?

*  Red ranted:  "FamilySearch family tree is to unprotected. It's too easily changed by users who don't even have contact information let alone supporting documents. It is too difficult to undo inaccurate information changed by hecklers. You spend countless hours being accurate and anyone can come along and change names and information to potty words. And if after more countless hours you fix it, you find they create a new free user and mess with it all over again... A good idea poorly monitored, and lacking the undo all changes made by a user tool. You can't even report the abuse of a tree. The act of creating the tree is to view and show the tree not spend endless hours with the maintenance of said tree..."

My comments:  I believe that anyone who uses FamilySearch Family Tree needs to have a username now, be logged in, and an email address on file.  The standard for every submitter is to supply Sources, Notes and to use Discussions to civilly resolve debates.  That said, I have encountered no real debates over my changes to person profiles and relationships.  

Please show me an example of "...anyone can come along and change names and information to potty words."  I'm sure FamilySearch would like to know about it, and discipline the user.  You can report the abuse.  

4)  On Best of the Genea-Blogs - 15 to 21 March 2015 (posted 22 March 2015):

*  mbm1311 said:  "There isn't a week that goes by where someone doesn't complain about the quality of an online tree. Would it be feasible to have an online tree that took a DAR like process to gain access? Let's say I have a documented tree and apply and I'm vetted. Then you come along with some duplicate research but some new branches then your new information gets vetted and attached.

"What do you think? I'm not saying the DAR type process would say that we know EVERYTHING about the tree we've certified but there is enough evidence to believe these people are related in the way presented."

My comment:  Something like this might work with a collaborative tree (our tree) like the FamilySearch Family Tree, WikiTree, or Geni, but I think that the effort would be too difficult to do it on separate family trees (yours, mine, his, hers, etc.).  That said, who in their right mind would volunteer to do this thankless task of double checking names, relationships and events, checking against sources, and putting a stamp of approval on the conclusions for a person, or a set of persons?

I think the better option is to have a family tree wiki, like FamilySearch Family Tree and WikiTree, and encourage, even require, submitters to add their sources, research notes, proof arguments, discussions, etc.  to support their conclusions.  FamilySearch thinks that, eventually, the sources will support collaborative conclusions and the tree will be pretty good.  Of course, there is still a lot of merging and cleanup to do on persons in Family Tree.  We'll see, but I think it has the potential to be really good.  WikiTree doesn't have the volume of profiles yet, but it doesn't have all of the problems that Family Tree has now.  Contributors are encouraged to provide sources, engage in discussions, etc. to support their conclusions.  Geni has a larger volume of profiles than WikiTree but fewer than Family Tree, and they use Curators to monitor changes and arbitrate discussions; they also "freeze" profiles of famous persons so that only selected persons can edit them based on source material.

*  XDmetalbabeDX said:  ", and are ran by the same identity thieves - I have filed a complaint with BBB, FTC and my state attorney general since they refuse to remove my personal information from their website. They do not have the right nor do they have my consent to post my personal information even if they say they get their information from other public databases which is a lie. My personal records are blocked, therefore their claims are all lies."

My comment:  From what they say, the records are all from publicly available records, many of which can be found for free in a simple Google search.  Have the BBB, FTC and attorney general responded to your complaint?  If it's valid, and enough people complain, they should investigate it.  

They haven't stolen your identity - you still have it, right?  But there is publicly available information on you, and me, and almost everybody that people can find if they look for it.  Did you block your personal data back in, say, 1970, before the Internet?  Are you in a court record, in a driver's license database, in a telephone book, etc.?  You cannot block personal data that's already in a database distributed to the world, often by a government agency, to a subscription or free website.

6)  It was difficult, but I refrained from posting the spam comment that I get at least once a week about spell-casters, losing your husband, and avoiding divorce.  

That's enough for's an interesting mix of topics and commentary.  

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver


Linda Stufflebean said...

DAR and Zachariah - You can see how many people have joined under which children. It also shows if there is supporting documentation available, which wasn't required in the early days. However, to see an actual application or the documentation, there is a link to purchase. It isn't even free for DAR members.

Dara said...

Thank you again, Randy. I wrote about my discovery this week, on my blog.