Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sorting Out Contradictions in Member Trees

There's been a delay in posting the next generation in my Brenton family study, because I've run into some problems. My last post was about Isaac and Jane Brenton. I have Isaac's parents as Joseph Brenton and Louisa Hair. On, there are at least 10 public member trees that include Joseph and Louisa. All of them contain conflicting information. I'm currently going through all of them and sorting out the conflicts.

I'm having some trouble figuring out how to handle this via the blogosphere. What should I post regarding public member trees on Ancestry?

The bottom line is that I will have to spend some more time writing this report, since there are many conflicts to resolve. I will also be contacting the owners of the trees once I do that, so that we can (hopefully) work together to figure out the facts regarding our common ancestors.


  1. Sarah,

    I am relatively new to this blogging stuff, but I have come across your blog by just randomly looking around the blogspot site. I have also had the same problem with some of my research, where ancestry member trees are in conflict with each other. I have 2 lines (Hale and Smith) where I can prove some trees wrong in the information they have, but even provided all the evidence, they still refuse to remove the wrong information from their tree. The wrong information seems to get spread more about ancestry since it "looks pretty" and "seems to fit" but looking closely at records it all falls apart.
    I have been trying to write a post about all this as well, regarded specifically my Hale family and I have started by laying out my evidence for why my information is correct and the other is wrong without calling anyone out in particular. I really do not want to offend any of my fellow researchers/cousins but at the same time I do not want people believing their ancestors are one couple when in fact it is a completely different family.

    One more thing, then I will stop. I noticed your list at the bottom of your blog with lists of sites what are useful for researchers. Another one is They have a lot of searchable records from census records, birth/death/marriage records and some military and immigration files, and it is free. A paid subscription is needed to view some photos, but all the transcripts can be viewed for free.

    J C

  2. Thanks, J C! I can't believe I overlooked putting FamilySearch in the links - thanks for that.

    That's the balance I'm trying to figure out how to strike: making sure that incorrect information does not spread, without offending those who have obviously also put time and effort into their research. And that's assuming that all of my own information is correct. Who knows, it's always possible that I've overlooked something, and have some information of my own to correct. I think it's important that those of us with common ancestors work together to find as much correct, provable information as possible.

  3. My great-grandfather's name is spelled with an egregious error in an inaccessible file on WorldFamilyTree. I try to correct it when it pops up elsewhere, but I doubt it does much good. My father was named after him, so I take it personally. Bad information can stay on the Web forever.

  4. JG - I've seen the same kind of errors all over and there's not much I've been able to do either. That's the good and bad of the Internet, I guess - information spreads fast :(