Wrong people on family trees on genealogy sites #general


James Rothschild
 

I've probably been my own worst enemy here ... I once sync'd my own MacFamilyTree (in development) with familysearch.org and Oh Gosh! Nooooo :-(
--
James Rothschild

name search: ROTHSCHILD
location search: BIELEFELD, PADERBORN


David Lewin
 

Thank you.   You made me chuckle

David Lewin


At 16:22 23/04/2021, Marcel Apsel wrote:

Luckily there are some people like you; if not we will have to ‘accept’ that each rabbi would have between 50 children or more ……!!!!!
>

Â

Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium
[]  Virus-free. www.avast.com


Tamas Fleischer
 

 
 
I'm afraid half of the contributors to this post believe that the task of the public tree is to help them with extra information while others wouldn't need their collected knowledge. I find this to be a very selfish attitude. The public tree is a surface of exchange, where I pay with my collected data for other's data. In this exchange, it is natural to leave living people's data hidden, but less fair to make all old data private while expecting help from others (or why are you in a public space?). 
 
There is no sense to speak about 'my tree' on a public surface. Especially I also collect similar family names from neighboring villages and also add their sources if they appear. These small trees are not connected (yet) to 'my tree' but I hope to find once the common ancestor. Sometimes these small trees hit another existing tree -- in such a case I added a few people to the tree of a potential relative. If we find a common ancestor the whole chain becomes 'my tree'? Or his/her tree? Has it any meaning?
 
To build trees from records is a kind of voluntary activity.  To faith against such people is similar to as if you'd fight against people who take photos in 'your cemetery' and 'your graves'. At the same time, I understand the expectation that such voluntary activity needs precaution, and  I myself dislike those people too who connect families too easily, just because they could be relatives. But in such a big group, it is necessary to accept that you can't prescribe to other people how to behave. First of all, if you'd not like other people to prescribe your behavior. 
--
Tamás Fleischer
Buapest, Hungary


Jx. Gx.
 

Obviously no one genealogy program/site is going to please everyone because no one program/site is perfect.  I don't publicize my family tree because of all the horror stories mentioned in the foregoing posts.  Maybe the only way to eliminate theft or at least mitigate the problem is to post the name of a deceased family member who is key to your research and the town they came from and ask if anyone has a connection.  This way you're not exposing all your hard work to a bunch of fraudsters and it gives you enough time and distance to check out the legitimacy of the responses you receive.

Having said this, I learned that no system is 100 percent foolproof in preventing hijackers.  A while back a non-Jewish women happened upon my great-grandparents information from public records and decided to appropriate them into her tree because their surname sounded Polish to her. She completely ignored their Yiddish first names and similar Yiddish references on census records.       

Jeffrey Gee
Arizona  


KAREN SAUNDERS
 

As I have mentioned, it is often impossible to confirm definitively if the data/assumptions are correct. Sometimes one needs a lead to pursue. I am probably one of these people who review/copy data believing it to be true based on info. to date but add “?” . I would hope anyone who knows the info. is questionable would contact me but I have never heard to this effect.
Karen Saunders
Melbourne, Australia
(Researching: Frank, Wallerstein, Stern, Horowitz, Davidoff, Tiktin)

On Sat, 24 Apr 2021 at 10:23, Linda Higgins via groups.jewishgen.org <lghiggins=yahoo.com@...> wrote:
On several genealogy websites there are people who have my parents, myself and my brother in their family tree.  I have tried to make contact.  Most did not reply.  They see a name they are looking for and don't don anyinvestigation whatsoever.  They assume it's the person they are looking for and add them to their tree.  A few who responded to me said they had no idea how that information got into their family trees.  If  they made the tree, they  added the information.  It is absolutely imperative that you know for sure you have the right person before you add them.

Linda Gordon Higgins
Spring, TX


--
Hello. I would like to join to research info about my 4 x g grandfather Abraham ben Gedaliah Tiktin 1764 - 1820. With thx.


Linda Higgins
 

On several genealogy websites there are people who have my parents, myself and my brother in their family tree.  I have tried to make contact.  Most did not reply.  They see a name they are looking for and don't don anyinvestigation whatsoever.  They assume it's the person they are looking for and add them to their tree.  A few who responded to me said they had no idea how that information got into their family trees.  If  they made the tree, they  added the information.  It is absolutely imperative that you know for sure you have the right person before you add them.

Linda Gordon Higgins
Spring, TX


Michele Lock
 

I have only contacted two people about my Lippman great great grandfather. All over Ancestry, people have him married to two different women simultaneously, fathering children with each in alternate years. I did get this corrected, but otherwise, I leave it alone.

On the other hand, I have found mistakes in other trees to sometimes give clues that are worth exploring. For instance, all over Ancestry, there are trees that say my Lock clan comes from Gruzdiske, Lithuania. I've had relatives tell me we come from Zagare, 60 miles away. When I went looking for a town that sounds like Gruzdiske but is near Zagare, up popped Gruzdziai, which records show is the correct town.

Another incorrect but useful factoid - All over Ancestry there are trees that show a certain Alex/Elias Lak/Locke was born in Riga, Latvia. His own census records say he was born in either Germany, Estonia, or Russia. But I figured maybe it is worth checking to see if there are any Lak records in Riga. And up pops several records showing a known great uncle Jacob Lak/Locke living there for several years before immigrating with his family to Boston, US. This was something we never knew about. Checking the naturalization papers for his children, shows them saying they were born in Riga. So, the trees have the wrong Lak/Locke born in Riga, but checking this out led to other correct Lockes. As it turns out, Alex/Elias Lak/Locke was born in Telsiai, Lithuania. HIs family moved to Estonia for several years, prior to immigrating to Chicago.

So, others' mistakes can be useful. However, I don't much bother trying to clean up these useful mistakes, since I figure the tree owners won't much care. It's a free country, and they can do as they please.

--
Michele Lock

Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Lak/Lok/Liak/Lock in Plunge/Telsiai in Lithuania
Trisinsky/Trushinsky/Sturisky and Leybman in Dotnuva, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine/Lev/Lew in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Vilna gub., Belarus


Marcel Apsel
 

Hi Laurie,

 

I completely agree with you, when putting trees on internet (geni, myheritage etc …) there are plenty of people who think they are smart in adding anything in order to get a huge, but mostly fabricated, tree.  I have my family tree privately build and once a cousin asked me to forward him my gedcom file; I send it to him with the explicit demand not to put it on internet.  This ‘idiot’ did it without my permission (I had to respect privacy matters with some family members) and at the long run my tree became a mess with shulent, kigel and kishke mixed.  I was really furious on that cousin and decided that I never again will give a gedcom format to any one, only a PDF descendant format tree to family members.  It does not mean that geni and myheritage have not positive effects in researching.  I do researching through this channels, but try to be very careful with the information on it.  Most of the information is more or less correct, but with experience you might find mistakes and completely invented pieces, like a son who is born 30 years after the death of his mother, as well as putting wrong information through different trees and mixing them together.

It is important to keep track of correct records; for example I found yesterday somebody who stated that her grandfather was born in London, what was absolutely impossible; but she did not know and supposed that what she decided was correct … and this information will on the long run be kept as correct.

My conclusion is : you can research all kind of records anywhere, but keep it in mind that any record where ever you find it can be right or wrong, not only geni/myheritage, but also civil records anywhere.  Use common sense and then you will be able to detect most mistakes.

 

Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Virus-free. www.avast.com


Marcel Apsel
 

Luckily there are some people like you; if not we will have to ‘accept’ that each rabbi would have between 50 children or more ……!!!!!

 

Marcel Apsel

Antwerpen, Belgium


Virus-free. www.avast.com


Odeda Zlotnick
 

 this is why you never copy from someone else! Often these people just seem to want to brag about how many people are in their tree. One person posts unverified data in their tree and 100 others copy these mistakes into their trees and the mistake snowballs. Don't be one of those people.
Precisely.  

We should all try to distinguish between:
  1. "My tree" - the tree which I trust, edit and share  with people whom I choose to share with.
  2. "Public Tree": A tree out there on an internet site.
  3. "Collaborated tree" A tree on which I collaborate only with people trust and those who trust me

We should also realize the the sites offering "Smart Matches" and "Links" are dangling baits for users to cough up and pay subscripion money.  One should never ever accept them blindly. Sometime, they add great info. Sometimes they don't - buyer beware.

I have had even Geni curators merge profiles and mess up the tree I consider my public tree - and I have had them correct the mess when I sent them documentation.

I have had "merge" requests on Geni, that I simply ignore - and I have had disagreements with collaborators, which we agreed to leave as documented comments concerning that person or name.

As noted by Pieter Hoekstra: Some people honestly think and feel that the larger their tree, the better things are. Others value validity.  Those of us who value validity can't fight / or try convince those who believe in "this is a public party and the more the merrier". We can and should tend our garden to the best of our ability - 

And always remember the following comic:
xkcd: Duty Calls
Duty Calls











--
Odeda Zlotnick 
Jerusalem, Israel.


JoAnne Goldberg
 

The "wrong people" issue is a longstanding problem. For me, the value of
sharing information outweighs the downside, so I try to be zen about the
mistakes I so often run across. (Like the guy who seems to believe that
my great-grandfather was age 8 when he had his first child.)

About the unresponsiveness on places like Ancestry: I am guessing some
people test, or upload a tree using a burner email, and never come back
to check messages.

It would be helpful if Ancestry had more sophisticated data validation.
But they are apparently are making enough money without offering too
many bells and whistles, and they only (grudgingly) make enhancements
when they can no longer ignore demand.  MyHeritage has been more useful
for trying to locate connections, but it's still early days for this
industry.

I'm sad to see that people are keeping trees private. I understand the
desire for record integrity, but that can be achieved via a tree that's
maintained offline. We don't own our ancestors' info, and if my public
tree can help someone else with a breakthrough, well, isn't that part of
the reason we do this?

JoAnne
--
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535
BLOCH, SEGAL, FRIDMAN, KAMINSKY, PLOTNIK/KIN -- LIthuania
GOLDSCHMIDT, HAMMERSCHLAG,HEILBRUNN, REIS(S), EDELMUTH, ROTHSCHILD, SPEI(Y)ER -- Hesse, Germany
COHEN, KAMP, HARFF, FLECK, FRÖHLICH, HAUSMANN,  DANIEL  -- Rhineland, Germany

 


Scott D. Groll
 

Unfortunately, even JewishGen is not immune to this issue. I have had someone go in and hand transcribe a large portion of my tree from the FTJP into their own tree on Ancestry, and then proceed to change things to fit their methodology. This person was not even a blood relative! No amount of pleading with him would make him budge or change anything. :(

Scott Groll
Ventura County, CA


KAREN SAUNDERS
 

I would like to throw into the mix, the thought/intention that some copying of data from others may be purely that people are hopeful that a new piece of information may lead to somewhere meaningful. Obviously, there should be a caveat on the accuracy and one would hope that if incorrect data becomes apparent that each would communicate such and rectify.
Karen Saunders


On Fri, 23 Apr 2021 at 10:11, Alan Ehrlich <alan.ehrlich@...> wrote:

Randy wrote: "There is so much misinformation about Geni from people who don’t really use it. The critic Alan Ehrlich, for example, has added just 34 profiles..."

It's my sincere 'hope' that Randy's incorrect statement above is solely because he was misinformed. However, since he so often unflinchingly disses anybody who's critical in any manner about Geni, well I don't know... Anyway, for information, allow me to set the record straight:

Even before Geni's official launch, while Geni still was in beta test mode, I uploaded an initial gedcom file which by then documented circa 3'000 ancestors and relatives... plus further updated that on several occasions during the following year and months. Oh yes, since then my family database gradually grew to include 20'000+ persons... which many of you know first hand as I've always been eager to share with others all the information it contains.


Perhaps 'food-for-thought' on Geni's behalf, rather than reflexively responding 'ad hominem', perhaps offer remedies to the serious short-comings we are pointing out.

Kind regards,
Alan Ehrlich
Geneva, Switzerland


--
Hello. I would like to join to research info about my 4 x g grandfather Abraham ben Gedaliah Tiktin 1764 - 1820. With thx.


Alan Ehrlich
 

Randy wrote: "There is so much misinformation about Geni from people who don’t really use it. The critic Alan Ehrlich, for example, has added just 34 profiles..."

It's my sincere 'hope' that Randy's incorrect statement above is solely because he was misinformed. However, since he so often unflinchingly disses anybody who's critical in any manner about Geni, well I don't know... Anyway, for information, allow me to set the record straight:

Even before Geni's official launch, while Geni still was in beta test mode, I uploaded an initial gedcom file which by then documented circa 3'000 ancestors and relatives... plus further updated that on several occasions during the following year and months. Oh yes, since then my family database gradually grew to include 20'000+ persons... which many of you know first hand as I've always been eager to share with others all the information it contains.


Perhaps 'food-for-thought' on Geni's behalf, rather than reflexively responding 'ad hominem', perhaps offer remedies to the serious short-comings we are pointing out.

Kind regards,
Alan Ehrlich
Geneva, Switzerland


Pieter Hoekstra
 

Jessica, this is why you never copy from someone else! Often these people just seem to want to brag about how many people are in their tree. One person posts unverified data in their tree and 100 others copy these mistakes into their trees and the mistake snowballs. Don't be one of those people.

Don't concern yourself about what someone else has in their tree, just worry about your own. If worried then make your tree private. Do your own research and prove the source of each of your entries.

--
Pieter Hoekstra  <sold@...>
Moss / Moses, De Costa - London and Brighton
Barnett, Da Costa, Lazarus, Joseph, Judah, Solomon - London


Lee Jaffe
 

I  find Geni's accessibility to be two-edged sword, causing potentially more damage than it has benefits.  I've just found someone added 3 half-siblings – no names, no gender, not vital data – to my immediate tree.  It seems that their tree had me and my two brothers as my father's children but didn't have my mother's identity, so Geni registered them as different people.  It's too easy to add the wrong information and much harder to find and correct such mistakes.
--

Lee David Jaffe

Surnames / Towns:  Jaffe / Suchowola, Poland ; Stein (Sztejnsapir) / Bialystok and Rajgrod, Poland ; Joroff (Jaroff, Zarov) / Chernigov, Ukraine ; Schwartz (Schwarzman?, Schwarzstein?) / ? ;  Koshkin / Snovsk, Ukraine ; Rappoport / ? ; Braun / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland,  Ludwinowski / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland

 


Adam Turner
 


It also retains history of changes, which is invaluable for sorting out errors, and ensuring a high level of accuracy.
This is all great as an aspirational goal for Geni curators, but as applied to 98% of actually existing Geni trees, it's risible. The vast majority of Geni users are unaware of/uninterested in how to do cleanup on others' Geni trees, and errors that are theoretically correctable end up persisting on the site forever, getting copied over and over into other people's trees on other sites, etc. While there are certainly a few large, well-manicured Geni trees out there, there is also a gigantic "long tail" of Geni trees (which includes most of the ones I routinely come across via search engines) that receive none of this curatorial attention, and it shows. Saying the equivalent of "stop telling people not to use Geni then, if lots more people use it it will get much more accurate!" comes off as...very wishful thinking at best.

Since kvetching about Geni has been done to death in this forum, I'll instead diss FindAGrave, which has even higher practical barriers to corrections than Geni. As far as I can tell, only the person who has claimed a FindAGrave memorial page can edit it - and there are some users who have claimed hundreds of thousands of them for the purpose of uploading all the photos of the stones they photograph. The part that drives me up the wall is that frequently, these FindAGrave power users contribute their own error-filled "research" to the memorial pages; by "research," I mean they appear to have spent about 5 seconds pasting the results of a search on Ancestry or FamilySearch into the memorial, without doing any double-checking whatsoever to be sure they've correctly matched these records with the grave they photographed. Then when you point out their obvious errors to them, half the time they snippily demand that you provide rigorous citations for your correction before they will apply it!

My point here is that it's very easy for sites reliant on user-generated content to slip into an eye-rolling equilibrium: one where the power users do virtually zero due diligence of their own to propagate very long-lasting errors, and then set the norms that everyone else, not they, 1) are the ones who should be responsible for performing the labor of cleaning up the mess they made; 2) also need to be held to a far higher data quality standard than they themselves used to originally make that mess.

Adam Turner


Laurie Sosna
 

The issue I have with genealogical cross-pollination is when trees contain some information that i know to be correct, but much of it is wrong and that gets repeated across hundreds of trees. This isn't just confined to one site.

I have worked hard for 30 years to be diligent, accurate and documented. I started a private tree on Ancestry which only contains names of people I can document. There are no names with “no sources” or only with hints from other trees. I know who every person is, how they connect to me. I’ve always taken care to make sure the documents I attach are the correct person. If I’m not sure, I’ll add it to my notes to research more. Ancestry has helped me immeasurably to locate documents that I would not have been able to find on my own.

I decided to make my tree public, in the hope that people might contact me with new information. Then I started getting hints to trees with completely incorrect documents: naturalization records from a state where the person never lived; grave records in a state the person never lived; incorrect birthplace; children’s names with no sources, parent’s names I know to be wrong.  Those trees also contained link to my tree.

Those incorrect trees then became the source for other trees that propagate the incorrect information. Just because someone has thousands of names in their tree does not make them more reliable than someone who has several hundred. People don’t link at the tree with the most sources, or even look to see what those sources are.  When you have a very common last name, it is even easier to get things wrong.

I made my tree private again. Unfortunately, the barn door of misinformation has been blown off the hinges and it can’t be fixed. I can’t reasonably be expected to contact each tree owner and fix the cascade of incorrect information.

It hurts me very deeply to see my work mixed in with those who just seem to be collecting names. Every name in my tree is precious, every document I find helps them come alive. Each document chronicles that they lived in that place at that time, what they did, how they lived. My family is full of tailors, plumbers, shoemakers, shopkeepers. They sold insurance, owned gas stations and delis. They weren’t famous, though some of their descendants are. Documenting their lives connects me to an experience that I cannot live myself but I can reconstruct to honor them.

Laurie Sosna
San Francisco, CA
SOSNA: Ivonivka (near Yampil), Mogilev
GOIKHMAN: Rascov, Mogilev
LEVIN: Vilna, Dnipro
GOLDBLOOM: Ostroweic, Radom, Poland
KOBB: Ukmerge
FRIEDSON: Ukmerge


Max Heffler
 

Using geni allows me to keep a single evergreen tree up-to-date and along with MyHeritage and Ancestry and DNA testing, I have been able to find relatives I never would have otherwise. I would never have thought I could connect to a 6th great-grandfather. Collaboration is the only way. It is easy to keep my geni tree up-to-date and correct it as mistakes are found. It is not easy to keep my MyHeritage and Ancestry trees up to date. I use them mostly for matching to improve my geni tree, which is getting more correct as time goes by. The public nature allows people to alert me to issues I was not aware of - the kinds of issues that would not have been found in my siloed trees on MyHeritage and Ancestry.

Max Heffler
Houston, TX


From: main@... <main@...> on behalf of jbonline1111 via groups.jewishgen.org <jbonline1111=gmail.com@...>
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2021 12:14 PM
To: main@... <main@...>
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Wrong people on family trees on genealogy sites #general
 
I don't have a public tree at any of the mentioned sites, though I have considered it.  The comments here have convinced me to keep my tree private other than on JewishGen.  Luckily for me, my cousin's husband works on our shared tree and even parts of the tree not shared from time to time and shares info with me.
--
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC

--

Max Heffler
Houston, TX
max@...
HEFFLER(Ukraine)/TIRAS(Poland)/WASSEMAN(Lithuania)/MOORE(Poland)/ZLOT(Lithuania)
GORENSTEIN(Ukraine)/FLEISCHMAN(Latvia)/GOLDEN(Lithuania)


Peter Straus
 

There’s clearly nothing that can effectively be done about this problem, and it’s not likely to get better.  The one response I know is to train users to be very cautious about accepting any information as true that does not include appropriate source documentation.  Let me add that references to other trees does not in and of itself constitute documentation given the amount of misinformation propagated from one to multiple trees; I’m sure we all have stories about that phenomenon.

--peter straus  

  San Francisco