Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, June 9, 2017

Wrong is usually wrong, so let's get it right? Is this possible?

Technology sometimes advances in ways that are not particularly comfortable. The Tree Consistency Checker is one of those "advancements." Obviously, the information I have in my "family tree" on reflects the information I also have in other online family trees including the Family Tree. However, with, the errors are reported by little red icons and you have to actually be looking for them to see any.

I can ignore this notice because I am not working on this family right now and I am sure that we have the wrong person in the Family Tree. Hmm. What did I just write? I can ignore the errors? Really? Actually not. But as the report from shows, I have so many errors that I need to start somewhere rather than run around trying to put out fires that will take care of themselves for a while.

Part of the problem here is that the technology is advancing in different ways in each online program. The Tree Consistency Checker is much more "in your face" than the little red icons. Let me illustrate this issue by examining the first error cited by MyHeritage.

The problem is that I do not have a "Robert Sanderson" in my portion of the Family Tree. Apparently, since the time I entered my information into and the present, someone has entered a completely new "John Sanderson" family into the Family Tree and this family does not have a child named "Robert Sanderson." So now the problem is not that the information about Robert Sanderson is incorrect, but that there is a whole new line. The problem is now that my ancestor Sarah Sanderson is duplicated in this new family and one of the duplicates is born in South Carolina and one is born in Vermont. That wouldn't be so much of a problem, except that my family line came from Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana rather than Vermont.

So, both the Family Tree and my file in are wrong. But I also know that we have been working on the line in the Family Tree and it is very likely that we are not even related to these people. What has really happened here is that has pointed out something we already knew: this particular family line is messed up. I am not yet ready to work with the Sanderson family because I am still concerned with connecting this line to the Sandersons.

Unfortunately, the technology in both programs fails to tell me that my line is off base well down from where it branches off into the Sandersons. Sarah Sanderson is presently in the Family Tree as the wife of "Garrard Morgan II." However, we do not have any sources, as yet, showing a marriage between Garrard Morgan and a Sarah Sanderson. So the problem of Robert Sanderson is purely academic at the moment. My bigger problem is determining if I am related at all rather than correcting a bad date.

One issue that makes this whole issue unresolvable right now is that there is no convenient or efficient way to synchronize my family trees between programs. There have been claims in the past that developers had "solved" this problem, but they were exceedingly premature in their announcements. Subsequently, my family tree in is long overdue for a severe pruning.

Correcting your family tree can be a real issue. It is not just a simple as fixing a few dates. This is especially true as you go back in time and find fewer supporting sources.

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