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Old 07-08-2013, 06:02 AM
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,239 posts, read 12,854,359 times
Reputation: 10464


Originally Posted by Mickey Lynn Paulson Arank View Post
The trouble with spelling first, middle & last names is that every record you find might have a different spelling. Depending on if you go by the logic of family should "know" how grandma's name was spelled, it can get you into all kinds of trouble.

My own grandmother was named Sallie Mae. I have listed her by that name on everything. Recently I was "chewed out" by my aunt (grandma's youngest daughter) who told me grandma despised the name Sallie due to some song about a "loose" woman and was always called Mae. Now, I only met my grandmother twice and we did not have a warm relationship, so I would not have known about this. My mom never mentioned it and she told me tons of things about her family. So do I go and change the name on the tree? Grandma was been gone since 1968 - I doubt she still cares. If you want to look her up in records, the name Sallie (or Sally) or Mae will locate her on census records & etc.
I would leave her name as Sallie Mae and use the AKA field to enter "Mae". (Ancestry.com/FTM have an "Also Known As" fact but I don't know about other software.) But it's really up to you how you want to enter this information. I think it's important to somehow note that (x) was the person's name but (y) is what they were known by but how you choose to input this info is really at your discretion.
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:54 PM
Location: Northampton, Mass.
697 posts, read 862,212 times
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I have been using Ancestry for some time to supplement my off-line, traditional genealogy research (as well as a few other sites like familysearch, etc.) When I first started to use Ancestry I would browse through various public member trees to see who had common ancestors with my family.
I was appalled at the sheer number of un-sourced, inaccurate trees people would post, often with that erroneous information replicated many, many times.
I never relyon public trees for that very reason---However, a tree which has a profuse amount of credible sources for citations and is regularly maintained and updated I will on occasion contact its creator if I wish to collaborate on something.

Most of the bad trees I see have no citations or if there are any it will be something like using another member tree as its source. Also you'll see readily obvious discrepancies such as children being born before their parents, people marrying at 5 years of age to persons in states 1,500 miles way, etc. Obviously no critical thinking had been applied, let alone a basic knowledge of history.
From there you sometimes see this bad information making it into blog articles and such.
For example, an article on the Rev. Stephen Bachiler (1561-1656) on a site for Hew Hampshire Sanborn genealogy has as a source a tree from One World Tree to back up the author's argument Steven's father was a certain man born c.1530 in southern England. (Stephen Bachiler's parentage has been a topic of debate for decades or more with no strong evidence yet found).
There are several good articles written on this very topic of misinformation in member trees, which can be found by a quick Google search.
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:38 PM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 16 days ago)
Location: Cushing OK
14,431 posts, read 16,733,449 times
Reputation: 16455
Originally Posted by cdnirene View Post
When I started looking at records for my ancestors in the late 19th century and early 20th century, I quickly realized that there was often no "correct" name. There were birth names (but spelling of surname was often different than the spelling of the surname on the father's birth record) and there were alternate spellings used on different records. I think I have about 7 or 8 different spellings of my great grandfather's surname on different records.

On sites such as Ancestry, I use the name most likely to illicit further records via Ancestry hints as I gather Ancestry ignores the alternate name fields when doing searches. So, if someone used the nickname Bob Smith throughout their life, I would enter their name as Robert "Bob" Smith. On the Family Search Tree I would use Robert Smith and then show Bob Smith as an alternate name as Family Seach does consider these alternate names when a search for potential duplicate profiles is done.
I've never had trouble with that. I find that instead I get matches with names which don't seem to match but turn out to be nicknames of said person. This happens when I specify the wider search variables. I like that you can also limit the search to one name an alternate spellings because sometimes that is all I want to see.

As spelling back then was haphazard at best, and things like my five ex great grandfather named his twins the same as he and his brother but used a different spelling of the family name and so did his brother, it gets complicated. But up until the last two generations there was always a John, even if it took more than one try, and a William and James who were usually twins. Using exact names shows this much more clearly.

I don't like that Family Search does not let inaccurate info be corrected. Ancestry lets it be noted.

So far as I am concern my grandmother's father is wrong in the one's I've seen since she and her mother both claimed her father was an Englishman with the same last name as the deceased father of the rest. As my grandmother could not have come from someone so tiny as g grandmother and a husband barely taller than her I intend when I clear the time to find some record of it. I will put it on a family tree and note this is what was said within the family and see if anyone else has info.
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