This morning on my personal Facebook page I posted a rant for my status update. I ranted about online family trees that were rife with huge errors. Errors that included linking a census record for a man aged 29 to a man of the same name who was over 70. And yes, the owner of the tree had his birth year correct in the tree.
A second error involved a marriage to his wife, correctly identified in this online tree. Children born to the couple were also correctly identified with birth years beginning in 1801. But the tree owner linked to a marriage in 1832 stating this was for the man and his wife. Not only is that impossible given the birth years of their children but a quick click on the link showed the marriage to be in a different state and for a man with the same name but marrying an entirely different wife!
And so I vented, expressing my dismay at the public posting of a tree so obviously incorrect. And the fact that at least six other researchers had copied the mistakes and posted them to their own public trees.
My rant, to my surprise, generated a heated discussion! It's been very interesting and some excellent ideas and suggestions were given for combating these types of errors without becoming the genealogy police.
It's tricky to critique another person's tree. Most of us don't take kindly to being told we're wrong. And it doesn't seem to matter how gently or kindly you express it, the bottom line is - you're telling someone they goofed.
Most of us agreed that the best method is to instruct through online tutorials, webinars, video how tos, to be come a mentor and to lead by example. I often write articles that I hope will guide those new to genealogy and help them become better genealogists. You can find some of these on Olive Tree Genealogy blog under the topic heading TUTORIALS in the right side nav bar. And there's an abundance of material out there to allow all of us, from the beginner to the experienced, to learn something new.
What's your opinion?
Credit: Image from Fotolia