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Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:34 pm
Anybody else think that the 'ancestry' website is coming towards the end of it's usefulness?
Recently I've been getting lots of links to other peoples family tree's that with even the most cursory checks are obviously wrong.
Don't get me wrong, I've used 'ancestry' with great success for many years now and obviously I've made mistakes along the way that have either been pointed out to me by other users or I've discovered myself when going back and double checking (as I think we should always do) and I do like the layout of the site and how it displays one's family tree, but I think it's too easy to input incorrect, unchecked data to the site.
This 'rant' has been brought about today by someone who copied a photo from my tree to theirs without the slightest check of it's validity.
A quick look at their tree clearly indicated that they had just added people with the right name into their lineage, when I looked at their tree they even had our supposed common relative living in two different places on the same census!
Maybe the problem is not with the site itself but the fact that it is now well advertised and is too easy for newcomers to use?
I'm not a computer programmer so I don't really know if it's possible but perhaps some checks could be put in place to validate input to the site?
Genealogy is a great, interesting hobby that I've spent many a happy/infuriating hour in the pursuit of and I obviously want it to be available to everyone, I don't know if there is an answer to the above issues?
Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:29 pm
Ancestry does not accept any responsibilty for the accuracy of member trees , nor for correcting the many errors which spread far and wide as the result of people slavishly copying information without any attempt to check its validity. Hints and supposed member connections should be regarded as suggestions only and treated with a healthy degree of scepticism . As far as I'm aware this has always been the case , it's just more noticeable as the site has grown so much larger. As a business ancestry's focus is making a profit. They are not interested in checking information for accuracy ; they provide a vehicle for research and the rest is up to us. I am rather more concerned with the poor quality of some of the transcriptions , the withdrawal of Old Search, in spite of the chorus of disagreement from customers, the constant tinkering with the site and the increasingly frequent sightings of the little man panning for gold who appears when the site can't cope with the demand !
However I do believe that they have the widest range of records by far and will continue to use them while that remains the case and I would certainly not agree that the site is coming to the end of its usefulness.
Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:14 pm
I forgot to say that if you are frustrated by others taking your photos or information and using them incorrectly make your tree private and respond with caution to requests that you share. When I first started researching I couldn't understand why people kept their trees private , now I wouldn't consider doing anything else.
Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:52 pm
When I first started researching I thought member trees on Ancestry were quite useful. And then, as I got more experienced, I found they didn't match my carefully sourced information. These days I largely ignore them, although if there are several trees all saying the same thing then I use that as a focus for MY RESEARCH, not naively accepting it is automatically correct.
I'd agree with Colin with his concerns about transcription errors on Ancestry - even in under two hours of research tonight I've found two! The first was a death record where it said age at death was 82, when in fact the handwritten register clearly said 32 (subsequently confirmed on FreeBMD) which meant I mistakenly ignored the record when in fact it was the right one. The second of which was the marriage register entry for a couple where for him it said vol 6a page 401 (which was correct) but for her it said vol 6a page 407 (wrong). Again, a quick look at the handwriting and comparing to other text on the same page made it clear that there was an error.
Both these cases have caused me to waste time and miss connections that should have been easy to make. It just goes to show the dangers of relying on one source of information, and the importance of cross-checking with other sources. In particular, look for 8/3 errors and 1/7 ones, especially with squiggly copperplate writing!
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Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:04 pm
I have to agree Ancestry is indeed a useful tool as it seems to hold, by far, the greatest selection of records. But it must be used as a tool, it's crucial to check out the information. I carefully check and cross check to ensure everything is as accurate as possible and had always had a public tree which I thought was of use to others who may be distantly related. However recently, after having had material taken in a block by another user and incorrectly added to their poorly sourced tree, I have decided to make mine private and carefully vet requests for information. It was extremely galling to have someone question the validity of my research and even the marriage of my grandparents!
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Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:18 pm
Perhaps I should make my Ancestry tree private too. Like Nicola, I was keen to share my research, especially if might be of use to those who share the same ancestors.
Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:58 pm
I agree about the broad range of records on Ancestry.
The transcription errors can be annoying but transcription errors occur on most sites.
I keep my tree private so that I can store information whilst I check the sources, to avoid any misinterpretations being replicated by other users.
If other users are uploading and creating trees containing errors on Ancestry, the chances are there are people doing the same on the other websites. (Possibly the same people in some cases!)
As others have said, it's up to us to verify sources of information by looking at original records, or copies of original records and to not publish any information unless we are as sure as we can be that it is accurate. This is the responsibility of the users of these websites, not the website owners.
Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:18 pm
JaneyH wrote:... transcription errors on Ancestry - ... The first was a death record where it said age at death was 82, when in fact the handwritten register clearly said 32 (subsequently confirmed on FreeBMD) ...
So far as I know, it's quite unfair to blame errors in the early England & Wales Civil Registration Indexes on Ancestry, as they acquired the indexes
from FreeBMD. However, it's pretty clear that corrections in one site are not copied to the other, so the FreeBMD entry has surely been corrected. (It wouldn't really be possible to copy Ancestry corrections to FreeBMD anyway, as on Ancestry you can correct errors in the Indexes whereas on FreeBMD that's impossible.)
Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:35 am
So the entries on freebmd that can't be corrected have been corrected
and the entries on ancestry that can be corrected arn't
, sounds a bit irish to me
. am I allowed to say that
Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:54 pm
I usually have to correct at least one census entry every time I look on Ancestry. Unfortunately, the errors are often incorrectly transcribed names or ages or wrong relationships which could mean you don't look at the image.
Occasionally there is a useful hint, but usually they are a waste of time and I agree it is most annoying when someone 'pinches' a relative.
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