Thursday, October 12, 2017

Elizabeth (Ballard) Seaver (1615-1657) Fixed Again on FamilySearch Family Tree

On FamilySearch Family Tree, I entered many of my ancestors to be "Watched" for changes.  Each week I receive an email with changes made on my "people" by other researchers.  Unfortunately, some of the changes made are erroneous.

My 10th great-grandmother is Elizabeth (Ballard) Seaver (1615-1657), who married Robert Seaver (1608-1683) in 1634 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and died in Roxbury in 1657.  She is in the Roxbury town records and vital record book.  There are no records for Elizabeth's birth or parents names, but that doesn't stop FSFT users from adding parents, or merging profiles with other persons named Elizabeth Ballard.

1)  Such was the case yesterday when I saw that the profile for "my" Elizabeth Ballard had been changed again - born in 1611 and died in 1704 in Nottinghamshire, England.  The profile had her parents as Hugh Ballard and Maria Prosser, married to Robert Seaver in 1634 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, with their seven children born in Roxbury between 1640 and 1650, and with two children born in Ireland in the 1650 time frame, and married also to a Roger Ruggles in 1632 who had died in 1605.  Huh?

What happened was that, in the past year or so, someone had merged the profile for "my" Elizabeth Ballard (1615-1657) with the Elizabeth Ballard (1611-1704), daughter of Hugh and Maria, and added the Ruggles marriage and the information.  So I had to reverse the merge, or delete the relationships of Elizabeth Ballard (1611-1704) with Robert Seaver (1608-1683) and their children.  That sounds easy, but it was difficult to do.

2)  What I did was the following:

*  Removed the relationship of Elizabeth Ballard (1611-1704) with Robert Seaver and the children, adding a reason that said 

"This profile has conflated two or more women named Elizabeth Ballard. The Elizabeth Ballard who married Robert Seaver (1608-1683) was born about 1615 to unknown parents and died in 1657, having had 7 children in Roxbury, Masssachusetts. 

"This Elizabeth Ballard L844-RGL should be disconnected from Robert Seaver and a correct Elizabeth Ballard added."

*  Added a new profile for Elizabeth Ballard (1615-1657) with the information I have for her.

*  Added the new (and right) Elizabeth Ballard (1615-1657) as spouse and mother in the Robert Seaver family.

*  The profile for Elizabeth Ballard (1611-1704) still had the Life Sketch, sources and notes that applied to Elizabeth Ballard (1615-1657) because those came to the merged profile from the previous profile for Elizabeth Ballard (1615-1657).  I deleted them.

*  Added the Life Sketch, Sources, and a Note to the Elizabeth Ballard (1615-1657) profile.

3)  So now there are two different profiles for these two different persons named Elizabeth Ballard:

Profile LY3H-HYS is Elizabeth Ballard (1615-1657) who married Robert Seaver in 1634 and had seven children with him between 1640 and 1650.

Profile LRM2-GGD is Elizabeth Ballard (1611-1704), daughter of Hugh Ballard and Maria Prosser (who married in 1609 in Andover, Mass.).  Elizabeth apparently married Roger Ruggles (1561-1605) in 1632.  I will let someone else work out her relationships.  

Hopefully, no one will mess with "my" Elizabeth Ballard, but if they do, I will go fix the profile again.  

*  I added a "Discussion" item for "my" Elizabeth Ballard that says:

"Please DO NOT merge this profile with any other Elizabeth Ballard profile. She is not the daughter of Henry Ballard and Maria Prosser. She is not the wife of Robert Ruggles. See the discussion in the Life Sketch for more details."

* I also added a "Discussion" item to the other Elizabeth Ballard, saying:

"Please DO NOT merge this profile with the Elizabeth Ballard LY3H-HYS profile. LY3H-HYS is not the daughter of Henry Ballard and Maria Prosser. She is not the wife of Robert Ruggles. She is the wife of Robert Seaver (1608-1683) who she married in 1634 and had 7 children with between 1640 and 1650 in Roxbury, Mass."

4)  Some readers may say "Why do you bother with this?  We all know that online family trees are full of wrong information, and FamilySearch Family Tree is one of them."

My response is the same as before:  "I think the FamilySearch Family Tree is the best opportunity for a 'Big World Genealogy Tree' because of the emphasis on providing sources, fostering collaboratin, and integrating stories, media, documents and notes.  Elizabeth is my ancestor, and I want the information for her to be as accurate and complete as possible."


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at


Barbara said...

Thank you. IMHO, this is an excellent example of how to deal with "worldwide" open trees. I will remember this for when I get criticism for using FSFT, Geni, and Wikitree.

Fax said...

I too run into this kind of thing on Familysearch... a lot. I wish they would provide for a profile to be marked as a direct ancestor of XYZ. For example, "Please do not change this profile without first collaborating with his/her descendant who may have more information." Of course, the descendant would have to provide an email address if he/she wants to participate, and there would probably have to be a mediator available as necessary. But oh, the headaches it could prevent!