Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Finding the FamilySearch Family Tree Watchlist and a Surprise or Two!

 I used to receive weekly emails from FamilySearch telling me which of the 400 profiles I signed up to "watch" had been changed.  That changed recently, and they stopped sending emails, but said I could see my Watchlist on the FamilySearch Family Tree page under "Following."  On the "Following" page below, there is a note saying:

"The style and content of your watch list has changed.  It is now called Following.  for more information, click Learn More."

By clicking on the name of the person, I can see the profile for that person, check the sources and notes, and make any additions or corrections that are supported by records and authoritative sources. 

The "William Cutter" profile was given another father named "Richard Cutler" so I merged that profile with the "Richard Cutter" profile that is really for William's father - I think that problem was a misreading or not recognizing the name "Cutter" and thinking it was "Cutler."

The "Robert Seaver 1608-1683" profile was more concerning, since it said he had a father named "Robert Seaver 1590-????"" who married an "Elizabeth Ballard 1592-????" and had a daughter named "Elizabeth Ballard 1611-????" who married "Robert Seaver 1608-1683."  Yes, a daughter Ballard born to a Seaver man who married another Seaver man.  A convolution of people - there is no record of the birth or parents of Robert Seaver 1608-1683, nor of Elizabeth Ballard 1611-1657, my 9th great-grandparents.  So I fixed it, and removed the relationship of the daughter Elizabeth Ballard to father Robert Seaver and mother Elizabeth Ballard, and then removed the relationship of Robert Seaver 1590 and Elizabeth Ballard 1592.  I can't delete those profiles because I did not create them.  I can merge them into correct profiles and may do that in the future. 

Here's the next screen down the Watch list:

George Soule!  The Mayflower passenger, and my 9th great-grandfather.  This profile was shepherded for many years by Guy Lemoyne Black as he tried to keep spurious parents and events from being added to the profile for George Soule.  He stopped doing that several months ago for some reason, and the spurious information continued to be added.  I had a pleasant surprise today - look at the George Soule profile:

At the top of the profile, in the beige area, there is a Note saying:

"Read Only.  This Mayflower passenger profile is temporarily set to read-only.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  Learn more."

I scrolled down the profile to see how bad the recent changes were, and saw that George Soule now had a set of parents - Jan Soule and Mayken or Mary Labis. 

 I had heard that the Soule Kindred research and Mayflower History research had uncovered probable parents for George Soule, but had not seen the scholarship that supported it.  I looked at the profile for Jan Soule and it had only one source - an Ancestry Member Tree image of a published article:

At the bottom of the image above is "Soule Kindred Newsletter, Fall 2011 ..." so I went to the Soule Kindred website and noted that all of their newsletters (53 years worth) are FREE to read.  I quickly found the Fall 2011 issue, and saved it as a PDF file to read it carefully.

There is more information about the origins of George Soule in earlier and later issues. I need to access those and read them and try to understand the records and the research process.  However, this is the first article I've seen that presents actual records and discussion that are more than "look, here's a George Soule with parents in England in about the right time frame."

The FamilySearch Family Tree profile for George Soule now includes his birth family.  

Why was the George Soule profile made Read-Only?  Was it because of the incessant spurious parents and events that were added over time?  Or was it because information about his parents are being evaluated for accuracy by FamilySearch?  Or is it because FamilySearch is protecting the profiles of famous or notable persons?  

The answer is that FamilySearch is protecting the profiles of Mayflower Passengers during the Mayflower 400th anniversary year.  The Learn More screen linked on the third image above is:

I think this is a great move towards curation of profiles based on authoritative resources like the Mayflower Families book series.

Frankly, I hope that FamilySearch protects the profiles - makes them read-only - of many notable and famous people - not only the Mayflower passengers, but political figures, royal families, entertainers, heroes, and explorers too - based on authoritative research.  


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Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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1 comment:

Gina Santella said...

Thank you for this info re: Family Search watch list. I had no idea I had to click on Family Tree, then Following. I just thought there was no activity on the people on my watchlist!