Re: Online trees #general

Lee Jaffe

I appreciate the discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of different family trees services.  I helps put my puzzling experience in perspective.  I started out with a tree on MyHeritage, eventually migrated to Ancestry and, on the advice of several people. recently uploaded a .ged file to Geni.  The result has been disappointing, to say the least.  I have found some features in Geni to be laudable – better consistency checking, for instance – but the intrusion of the curators has been a nightmare.  One of the reasons I was exploring Geni in the first place is research into the parentage of my 3x ggm.  While related trees in Ancestry identified two different possible sets of parents, the record on Geni showed only one option, with notes, discussion, and links to supporting documents.  I wrote to the person who created the record asking for help clarifying the supporting documents and he suggested I start a discussion with the record.  I did, explaining the two possible options, asking whether anyone had any sources supporting either version.  Several people weighed in and, though no one made any attempt to actually answer my question, one took it upon himself to merge what he considered duplicate records.  I'm not sure which records were merged – maybe the purported 4x ggf with his brother? –  but he was told to undo that by another correspondent.  When the dust cleared, my 3x ggm was now the daughter of yet a third set of parents, again without any supporting documentation.  When I asked what happened, I was told that I was wrong, that she had always been linked to this set of parents.  (I have a screenshot of the earlier version but you can't post images to a Geni discussion.). 

You can catch part of the thread here:

I understand the theoretical advantage of one unified family tree over the messy confusion one can find in sites like Ancestry and MyHeritage.  But the reality is that genealogy is messy and there are some questions we can't answer definitively . While having some people record different stories in their individual trees looks chaotic, its better  – more honest, a better reflection of the situation – than a single version dictated by some bureaucrat.  I'd rather be aware of the confusion or controversy than have someone clean things up and make them neat (but also, as in this case, probably wrong).

Lee Jaffe

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