How to handle people posting facts on Ancestry.com that are not true?

Ancestry.com member trees provide a useful platform to share genealogical data. However, not everything in an online tree is accurate and you shouldn’t accept information without validation. What do you do when you encounter individuals who post inaccurate information in online trees?


Double-check the accuracy of all information before you add it to your tree


You will soon find that people have connected themselves, on Ancestry and other websites, to Thor and Priam of Troy.


Did you catch that?


FICTIONAL CHARACTERS!


If egregious errors can appear, you can bet smaller errors lurk on member trees. I’ve found my own errors. Folks have questioned some of my theories until they share new information with me. Every experienced genealogist has made mistakes. You might have one, or two.


In the video, I share an example that keeps popping up on my line for the potential father of Charles Gordon who was born in Pennsylvania and died in Ohio.

Watch this video on YouTube.



So always double-check information before you add anything new to your family tree.


Check Your Research. You Could Be Wrong.


Every genealogist makes mistakes. Mistakes include transcription errors and deliberate falsification. Some researched created conclusions based on the best available information at the time.


Before your blood pressure rises when you encounter “junk,” be sure you know your facts and have based your conclusions on a reasonably exhaustive search of quality records.


Is it possible to fix the family trees of others on Ancestry?


The problem with users, who have their trees on Ancestry and other platforms, is each person have ‘THEIR TREE.’


Few individuals like to admit they made a mistake. Many insist they are right and everyone else is wrong. They don’t want your input. They can do whatever they want.


However, there are some folks, like myself, who will happily reevaluate my research when someone shared quality information. Hopefully, you’ll encounter someone open to working together. They may have new information for you to consider. Perhaps you’ll have further details for them. In either case, hopefully, you’ll come to a resolution of your conflict, and both adjust your trees.


Which will you encounter? You’ll never know unless you contact them.


Steps to Attempting to Correct Bad Information on Ancestry

  1. Reach Out Reach out to any person with an error in their tree. Share your reasons they may have an inaccuracy and request their feedback.

  2. Write Up If you encounter a stubborn individual, let them be (while gritting your teeth). In the meantime, be proactive and write up what you believe to be accurate. Reference your source material and refute the inaccurate information.

  3. Share Create a document, such as a PDF, and attach that to your Ancestry.com profile in the Media Gallery. Don’t just stop there. Create additional content away from the Ancestry platform such as a blog, a genealogy society newsletter, or a published family history. Push the more accurate information throughout the likely spaces for researchers to encounter. Make sure your research is available.

  4. Be Patient or Move On Sadly, Ancestry.com member trees are hard to correct if someone is inflexible. You have to ignore folks who stubbornly believe they descend from Thor and Odin, or in my case think a man was born in Pennsylvania to individuals from North Carolina who don’t appear to have ever left that state.


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Be Prepared for Compounded Errors Due to AncestryDNA ThruLines


Ancestry.com has rolled out ThruLines, which for better or worse, draws suggested relationships from public and private searchable trees. Your red flag radar may likely scream, “Wait! This will only compound the errors caused by inaccurate trees!”

It’s possible the ThruLines will help Ancestry users find new paths to previously unknown genetic cousins. Conversely, ThruLines may escalate the problem of inaccurate facts on member trees. It’s too soon to tell.


Therefore, be cautious about the ThruLines. At some point, you might have to ignore the suggestions.


Those are my tips, but I want to hear from you. What do you do?




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