Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Danger for FamilySearch Family Tree

I am in the process of writing a new online course to help folks learn the new familysearch.org website. During this process I came across this article today, written by the "Ancestry Insider".It is a very good article and I thought it may help those of you who are beginning to rely on this new section, without knowing 'some' of its pitfalls!!


"Robert Ernest Werner sent this message to FamilySearch on their public feedback forum:

Limit the users ability to delete just any record.
Please change the delete function so that only the patron that added an ancestor can delete it. Recently, someone went in and deleted an entire branch of my pedigree. Their reasoning was that they did not want people changing "their" Family Tree.

I’m afraid there’s bad news for both Robert and bad news for all Family Tree users.

The bad news for Robert is that no tree user is special. This is a community tree and no one gets treated differently than anyone else. There’s no way around that. The tree doesn’t know a competent user from an idiot. Idiot users are adding garbage ancestors to the tree. Do you want competent people to be unable to delete garbage from the tree?

The bad news for all users is a danger that hadn’t occurred to me before: users who delete people from the tree because they don’t want “their” ancestors in the tree.

Some people feel ownership for information about their relatives. They feel they have the right to delete their relatives. But no person in Family Tree is exclusively mine or exclusively yours. You can’t delete a relative of yours without deleting a relative of mine.

Some people feel ownership for the information they contribute. They feel they have the right to delete information that they contributed. But it’s impossible to tell if a contribution is exclusive to one person or another. Other people may have intended to contribute the same information but it was already in the tree.

Some people feel ownership for the results of their own research. Extending a family line is often difficult and expensive. If someone posts the results of your work without your permission, don’t you have the right to delete it?

Some people may feel they have priority in the decision to have a relative’s information in the tree. If I don’t want my deceased mother or wife or daughter in the tree, don’t I have the right to delete them? What right does a more distant relative or even a random person have to place my immediate family member in the tree?

Some people feel that the tree needs to represent some absolute truth, no matter how unsavory. Doesn’t a victim of rape or incest have a right to delete information about their victimization from the tree?

Some people or groups might object to the beliefs and practices of FamilySearch’s sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or some other group’s participation in the tree. Are there cases where someone has a moral or religious right to delete a family member or associate from the tree?

Some people object to political or social systems of communal ownership. Such a person may disagree with the underlying concept of Family Tree altogether and delete their relatives as a matter of principle.

Is it reasonable for FamilySearch to expect communal behavior in the genealogy community?"



So now you know!
Pat

And I have heard from a longtime student of mine whose research skills I trust. This person wrote:
"Good morning Pat,
I have found mistakes in posted family trees for my families. In one case I contacted the cousin that did the tree and told her of the mistakes that I found. I gave her the info and source, however, she never fixed the mistakes. I have never felt it my place to go in and correct or delete her problems. Just a warning to newbies, don't believe everything you see in these family trees." Thanks so much for the comment 'B'. I agree and have found serious errors in my own families details posted by people unknown to me. They were 'serious' because anyone believing those posting will now be following someone else's ancestral lines, not related to them in any way. I also hesitated to make any changes [had the same experience with no changes, no contact, nothing even though the evidence I sent was hard and fast!] Guess it's our Canadian nature? haha

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