Monday, April 11, 2016

Untangling Difficulties in FamilySearch Family Tree

I recommend this online webinar to everyone who is interested in doing their family history.

Untangling Difficulties in FamilySearch Family Tree.

James Tanner is a very competent genealogist who is now a volunteer at BYU Family History Library. This webinar is a BYU Family History Library webinar that was presented on March 18, 2016.

Almost everyone who has accessed FamilySearch Family Tree has had difficulties or found gross errors in their family tree. This is particularly true for multi-generational members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And those who are descendants of pioneer polygamist families will encounter the phenomenon of IOUS (Individuals of Unusual Size).

James Tanner explains how FamilySearch Family Tree was created and which records were used to create it. He also enumerates some of the common mistakes that will be found such as many duplicate entries, wrong individuals in families, and dates and places that don't work with the people involved.

This webinar was a reality check for me. Recently I heard a speaker who extolled the virtues of FamilySearch Family Tree. He said that the average church member could find 200 individuals who need temple work done just by doing a search at Family Tree. I tried that and found only 2 possibilties in my pedigree. So any hopes of finding "low hanging fruit" in my research were dashed. I will not be able to do my family history work by just looking for "green arrows" or whatever icon is now used in FamilySearch to indicate that one can reserve temple work for that person.

There is going to be no substitute for good old-fashioned research. I need to find good sources and write citations for them and document everything! I need to do the detective work. Unfortunately there is no easy way to "untangle" the difficulties in FamilySearch Family Tree. No Free Lunch!

James Tanner recommends that you start with "the first person in the line with verifiable names, dates and places." All information beyond this point is conjectural and unsupported. I have heard this before. Every real genealogist will say, "Go from the known to the unknown." Be ready to revise the traditionally accepted genealogies. Resist the temptation to jump back in time before the records are substantiated.

Therefore, I have concluded that I need to start my research from the very beginning and create an accurate genealogy in my Legacy Family Tree program. This will be a lot of work. But maybe by the time I establish a good foundation FamilySearch will have eliminated the New Family Search program. Then FamilySearch Family Tree will be more correct and easier to work with.

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