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Vetting family tree submissions to genealogy sites for data soundness #general


erikagottfried53@...
 

In the responses to a recent post (FTJP-Family Tree of the Jewish People) there was some discussion about Geni and some other sites failing to check the soundness of data in submitted family trees.  My question is, do any of these sites perform such checks?  And if they do, how? As desirable as that would be (it would be great!), I can't imagine that any of these sites have enough staff or resources or algorithms to be able to perform such checks.  Or am I missing something?


Erika Gottfried
Teaneck, New Jersey


JoAnne Goldberg
 

I don't see any of the sites validating user-submitted data. But they
have no problems charging us for access to information, often flawed,
provided by other customers!

It's hard to balance the value of sharing our research with the fact
that it's all too easy for anyone to add bad data.
--
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

 


rv Kaplan
 

But to be fair, Geni does alert me to 'inconsistencies' - eg child has different last name to father, age of mother when child was born is inconsistent etc.

I think the secret is to keep your master trees on your own computer (backed up), in order to preserve your research and your sanity.

Harvey Kaplan
Glasgow, Scotland

KAPLAN, FAYN, FEIN, FINE, BARSD, GRADMAN

- Ariogala, Josvainiai, Kedainiai, Krakes, Seta, Veliuona, Grinkiskis, Lithuania

FELMAN, MIL(L)ER, ROSENBLOOM - Kamenets-Podolsk, Shatava, Balyn, Ukraine

TROPP, STORCH - Kolbuszowa, Cmolas,Galicia

LINDERMAN, LINDEMAN, LOPATKA, SZLAKMAN – Kutno and  Plock, Poland


On Wed, 3 Jun 2020 at 17:29, JoAnne Goldberg <joanne@...> wrote:
I don't see any of the sites validating user-submitted data. But they
have no problems charging us for access to information, often flawed,
provided by other customers!

It's hard to balance the value of sharing our research with the fact
that it's all too easy for anyone to add bad data.
--
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

 


Jeffrey Herrmann
 

Regrettably, the several genealogical sites that accept family trees have become vast digital garbage dumps, made worse by the uncritical cut-and-paste method many amateur genealogists use to generate their own trees.  Still, we can’t resist going to the garbage dump and picking through the rubbish in the hope, occasionally vindicated, that someone cast away something of value.
Jeffrey Herrmann
London
Searching HERSCHEL of Hamburg


Nomi Waksberg
 

We all receive these emails headed "possible family match". Is't it our responsibility to confirm the source cited, if one was, by the person submitting the "match". Initially, when I first received this type of match information, I assumed it was correct. Ha! I've since learned that unless there is a reliable source (PSA, US official records, etc) the "unvetted" names go on my "to be researched" list. Only the information from reliable sources are added onto my tree.


WWW
 

Not the site but the Submitter. The keyword is Submitted. The submitted information is only as good as the quality check done by the original submitter, not the site itself.
Matches and Hints are suggestions. Double check. Others might automatically add a "hint" or "match" to their own tree, not realizing the information is not correct or a completely different person with a similar name.
Over the years the issue is compounded by more trees copying the same misinformation.  
 So always track back to the source to confirm. 
Bill WOLPERT  WOLPERT/VOLPERT/WOLFE/WOLPER/WOLPE
KEDAINIAI TRYSKIAI AND VIEKSNIAI GROSSBERG TRYSKIAI 


jerome-yankowitz@...
 

JoAnne can we "chat" offline and compare families? jerome-yankowitz@...


tom
 

anybody who’s been doing research for more than a few days has come across bad information, because there’s so much of it, and yes, it’s made worse by being copied-and-pasted into hundreds of locations.

i suggest people might want to share tips on how to spot bad information.  i unsourced information is automatically suspect, but not all public trees allow sources.  and sometimes details are a giveaway, like inconsistent dates or spouse’s name, or occupation.  or sometimes there’s a whole lot of duplication of entire sections of the tree.

the other aspect of poor vetting is how to make corrections.  the posters of poorly researched data don’t always want to fix it.  either they’re unable to imagine that they could have made a mistake, or they’re more interested in just having the biggest tree, or whatever.  but suggesting corrections can be a frustrating experience.

....... tom klein, toronto 


tom
 

the commercial sites hold out the promise of magically finding all your relatives, neatly laid out for you by their genealogical pixies, and all you have to do is click on the link (and please have your credit card ready).  many beginners seem to fall for this, and happily glom onto what they think is “their file”.

this reminds me of an old jewishgen infofile, which is good reading, especially for newbies:

https://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/dlfable.html


Max Heffler
 

Even the imperfect trees have led to amazing discoveries of “lost” branches of my family. Tomorrow morning I get to zoom with my cousin in Denver and our newly-discovered cousin in South Africa. I’ll take all the trees I can get!


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


Moishe Miller
 

Hello,

For those that are new to genealogy, I would like to add one more thing
to be cautious about. A source citation does not automatically make
something true.

For instance, in researching my SCHWIMMER family from Munkacz, I came
across Israel Schwimmer, living in NY. Israel passed away in 1938 in NY.
There are TWO death records for an Israel Schwimmer in NY, in 1938.

+ Nov: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W2Q-9WB
+ Jun: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WTS-754


If the wrong record is used, the wrong parents would be "cited", with a
data source, for this Israel Schwimmer. That is one of the reasons Bill
Dollarhide suggests, "There should be at least two citations (a minimum
of two separate sources) for each event listed." (See
https://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=20637).

Stay safe,

Moishe Miller
Brooklyn, NY
moishe.miller@...


Shel
 

* Miller [JewishGen.org Discussion Group - Digest #614] points out Dollarhide’s “Family Group Sheet Standards” <https://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=20637>.

Dollarhide discusses difficulties with “dates”.

Another method of dealing with dates is the ISO or “International Date Format” (See <https://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/iso-date>) which, for dealing with most writing systems is quite infallible. i.e., year month day hour:minute:sec.hundredths-of-secs. "2020 06 05 13:13:20.45". (Numerical only!) Have been using the ISO Dates for about 30 years (even on all my computer files) without regret. (I’d like to see JGen Discussion Grp use it!) :-) Its slightly confusing when you don’t have a “day” date, but once you get used to using it you’ll know what that shortened ISO date means.

Where the ISO date format apparently can run into difficulty is with writing systems that go “right-to-left;’ top to bottom” and “top-to bottom; right-to-left". Most of us will not have to deal with the latter and relatively few will want to deal with the former.

Shel Bercovich,

Calgary, AB, Canada


Joseph Walder
 

Most users of Ancestry and MyHeritage, say, to the extent they create family trees at all. simply connect names with no supporting data other than perhaps birthdates and country of birth. That description does not apply to people writing in this discussion thread. I rarely grab "data" from other people's trees and and incorporate those data into my tree, but if I do, I add a comment indicating that the data are not supported by documentation.

I recently acquired a 40 year old set of cassette tapes in which a great uncle talked about family back in Galicia, including the names of siblings I previously knew nothing about. There's no documentation, and none is possible, because all records from the region were destroyed in war. So fact checking my great uncle is not possible. Does that mean I classify those tapes as unreliable, as hearsay? I have no doubt some readers here would say, "of course it's hearsay".

The criticisms here of Geni are all apropos, but I have twice been able to fill in gaps in my tree owing to others who were posting data there. In one case the other party had screen captures of Russian language vital records; in the other case, the other party had a relative's recorded oral history. I suggest we all strive for rigorous documentation but recognize that such is commonly not available.

Joseph Walder
Portland, Oregon, USA


zionsharav
 

First hand recollections are absolutely strong primary evidence - as they would be in a Court.
I record them with numbered superscripts exactly as I would, for example, the Census of 1869 or
or a passenger list or a probate record:record e.g.

Sources:
12Personal recollection of Yoni Peloni  recorded by tape in 1974 when he was 76 years of age.


Sally Bruckheimer
 

I don't know how anybody could vet somebody's tree. Most companies don't have any way to 'check' what you give them.
 
I have lots of records that I have obtained for my ancestors, and some people have been shocked to find how much I know. But there is no way to upload it to Geni or Ancestry with the 'proof', if I wanted to do that.
 
Online trees are like information from relatives. Some are very good, but, for example, my mother misremembered things. Once I was named for my grandfather, Samuel, who was dying when I was born, and I was to be the last grandchild; another time I wasn't named after anyone. And my brother wasn't named for anyone either, although he shared a name with her grandfather.
 
My aunt, Merle, didn't know she was named for her grandmother, Merle Linder, either. I had to explain that to her
 
Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ


JoAnne Goldberg
 

I wouldn't expect any of the companies to double-check sources, but they might flag improbable situations, like a boy becoming a father at age 8 or a woman having a baby at 60, or giving birth to three children, all with different fathers, in the same year.

I've encountered situations where a family shows up as having multiple kids, for example, Israel, Izzy, and Isadore, with the same birth date, same spouse, same date of death. That is most likely one child, not three, and should be flagged.


--
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

 


Carolyn Lea
 

JoAnne,

I do not expect these companies to examine trees and look for improbable situations. That is my job, not theirs. I am the researcher and they are the records providers. As far as online trees go, I would not take anything from an online tree before proving or disproving the information. Can you even imagine the number of employees it would take and how many hours to look for what might be improbable  information? The person who owns the tree is obviously not a serious researcher or is poorly educated in doing this type of research. This gives them 3 additional ancestors instead of one!


Elise Cundiff
 

I have one person who contacted me to share that my great-grand uncle was married to his grandmother's sister (correct) and that they had lived in another state and had a daughter (not correct, it was a case of same name for both husband and wife.)  I was able to point out several documents that showed he had misidentified the out of state family as being ours,  but he didn't accept that; I also asked him if there was any family knowledge of this daughter - to this question, he never replied. 


Ralph Baer
 

I have enjoyed this thread and connected posts about the accuracy of trees and information submitted to sites like Geni and Ancestry because the posts have mirrored my feelings. There is a high percentage of junk. In theory the junk should get weeded out by repeated edits like wrong information in Wikipedia -- but it doesn't work like that. On several occasions, I have become irritated after an exchange of emails with a poster who has grafted obviously wrong information, for example, parents already dead years before the birth have been added. Reading that others have similar thoughts has calmed me a bit. Ancestry has caveats to check the information, for example the suggestions that they have added to my tree.

I have attached a list in PDF form of my ancestral family names and towns including cases where brothers took different names. It's too long to add at the bottom of this message. Unless otherwise indicated, all locations are in present-day Germany.
--
Ralph N. Baer        RalphNBaer@...       Washington, DC


isak@bm.technion.ac.il
 

I agree with most of the replies to this string that very often the data collected by commercial genealogical companies is useless. Therefore, I have not bothered to be a member of any of these companies. My experience regarding my own collection of genealogical data (based mostly on official documents) is rather irritating. My data has been leaked to two such companies without my permission, and one of them is keeping sending me (via a family member) "new matchings" or "supplements" which most of the time can be characterized as rubbish. I would advise anybody interested in collecting reliable genealogical data to treat with the utmost suspicion anything these commercial companies are responsible for.

 

Prof. Isak Gath MD, DIC, DSc

Faculty of Biomedical Engineering             Tel. Office #972-4-8294115

Technion Israel Institute of Technology             Home #972-4-9835704

32000 Haifa, Israel