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Old 04-23-2018, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,255 posts, read 14,312,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alandros View Post
Though I agree with the sentiment that bad genealogies have been around for a long time (it's been highly popular to create genealogies to connect you to significant people for as long as genealogies have been written), the problem I see with this statement

"I know most will disagree with this, but if you have done what you can, does it REALLY matter if you have the correct Johannes and Katarina Schmidt from Hanover, Germany married in 1611? It's the study of your roots and the feeling of connection that's important."

The problem is if you have it wrong, then that connection is purely a feeling and not your roots.
I agree - yes, of course it matters if you have the wrong people as your ancestors, no matter how far back it goes. Even if you've simply connected the wrong couple with the same names from the same place, I get that rugrats is saying your ancestry is still from that location, and your ancestors names are still correct, but you never know how drastically that error is going to change what you know of your ancestry going further back.

There is also something to be said about non-paternity events and unknown adoptions, when what you think is your genealogy is not your biological lineage and therefore your tree is "wrong"... but if those events are too far back to identify, there's no way to know about it anyway, and it doesn't mean non-biological lineages aren't still a part of your family history. There is no rule that says family history is defined solely by DNA.
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:05 PM
 
3,043 posts, read 1,850,085 times
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I have a grandmother whose parents came from Sweden. Talk about a mess with Ancestry trees. Most folks have no idea that a name is not enough. You need place, and often a birth date. On my own tree, I made it private because of the indiscriminate copying, especially of photos. Like others, I found tree matches were worse than useless - I found many cases where the kids were older than the mother, for example. Maybe a new kind of biology?
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Old 04-24-2018, 05:36 AM
 
Location: NJ
12,624 posts, read 22,572,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbear99 View Post
I have a grandmother whose parents came from Sweden. Talk about a mess with Ancestry trees. Most folks have no idea that a name is not enough. You need place, and often a birth date. On my own tree, I made it private because of the indiscriminate copying, especially of photos. Like others, I found tree matches were worse than useless - I found many cases where the kids were older than the mother, for example. Maybe a new kind of biology?
I found one of my grandfathers brothers relatives like that one family search. The person missed a whole generation. I sent them a message before fixing it with my good profiles. She never answered. Oh well. It's right now.
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Old 04-25-2018, 04:21 PM
 
12,583 posts, read 21,209,797 times
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Oh, the wretched leaves. What a mess they wrought.

And frankly, if it’s not an error on the direct line, people don’t seem to care at all. And so it perpetuates. All I can do is put my tree out there and hope some people will pick up the information from me.


Ancestry has made it easier, but also, has taken some of the fun out of it.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:36 PM
 
12,583 posts, read 21,209,797 times
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Also, if I may have a couple more gripes. I have almost 5000 “hints” on my tree. On my phone, it’s awful to deal with.

So, on the desktop computer, I spent two hours hitting ignore on photo after photo of a cute graphic saying DNA verified. Attached to every single person in my tree, two or three times, because some dingus decided he had to attach it everyone in his tree because he did his DNA and other people thought it was a good idea, too.

And then — explain why people are attaching “John Smith’s” findagrave info, in story form, page after to page, to each of John’s 14 siblings. They aren’t buried there. They have their own findagrave info.

And I have decided on a cutoff. I was starting to get descriptions of the relation like the husband of the sister of the stepcousin of the aunt of the husband.
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Old 05-07-2018, 01:42 AM
 
9,431 posts, read 11,385,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
Oh, the wretched leaves. What a mess they wrought.

And frankly, if it’s not an error on the direct line, people don’t seem to care at all. And so it perpetuates. All I can do is put my tree out there and hope some people will pick up the information from me.


Ancestry has made it easier, but also, has taken some of the fun out of it.
One of my 5th g grandmothers. Professional genealogists don't know who her parents are, but people with shoddy work have her connected to this or that family. It's maddening.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:21 AM
 
3,043 posts, read 1,850,085 times
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I no longer deal with in-laws. Other than the spouse of a direct relative, where I have the birt/death/marriage details, none are included, like parents etc. That eliminated some noise. I agree though, that the Ancestry "hints" are mostly useless, or cover information I gathered years ago. Worse, many of the hints seem to be from sources that are hard to verify.

The amount of information available through Ancestry these days is so huge that it's hard to cut through the clutter to what I want, even using advanced search techniques.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:51 AM
 
3,986 posts, read 3,473,396 times
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I'm not a fan of the ancestry hints that pop up either. It' even more annoying when it is my work that someone else copied.

I've done my own research, but at certain points, I have to rely on other research, but note it as such. One line of my family is fairly well documented to about six generations back. What I know came from other people who recorded the history or 'family lore' such that it may be. This line takes me back to someone famous although I'm not related to that person. From that, I can read about and get some sort of history of the time. I know that I don't have access to certain records such as bible records or even easy access to certain government records that are not online. My research probably ends at that person so I just note where the info came from. If I get back to it again, I can start fresh from there.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:53 AM
 
16,217 posts, read 8,508,340 times
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I'm very research oriented. Recently did a DNA test but honestly I feel that research is better than DNA and that DNA primarily substantiates research unless you are looking for close relatives (like are an adoptee or searching for an unknown parent/grandparent) I don't think it is as useful from a family history perspective as genealogical research.

I've never taken a class but have become friends with people who have been researching a very long time (some 50-60 years) and IMO the older group of researchers have a WEALTH of knowledge and they provide information for me that has been vital to breaking down some barriers.

Luckily I enjoy the process and see research as a puzzle of sorts. I also think DNA is an interesting puzzle and have been "painting" my and other relatives chromosomes to pinpoint where particular ancestors/ancestral couples are on our chromosomes in order to hopefully find more distant ancestors.

I do look at public trees on ancestry and other sites but I don't consider them valid unless proven. I've also used the ancestry app that shows you how you are cousins with famous/well known persons and see that the same as other people's trees - things to confirm via research.

Too often I see what I call "junk" trees on ancestry in particular and people just link their own tree with the junk tree and then there are 20 junk trees because people don't look at the original one. One of the reasons why I bit the bullet and did a DNA test was to confirm a person I found on ancestry was truly a cousin of mine. They/we were cousins. They had a lot of junk on their tree starting with our shared 4th (their 3rd) great grandmother. She was the only one who communicated with me about the junk on the tree. She didn't remember where she got it from and thinks she just copied it from another tree and so she is cleaning it up and we're working together on substantiating some things on this line via traditional, off-line research methods as we've gone back as far as we can online.
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Old 05-09-2018, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Ohio
21,311 posts, read 15,089,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PawleysDude View Post
Recently though, I'm amazed when I look at other trees, particularly on Ancestry. It seems at least 75-80% of them have no documentation whatsover except "Ancestry Family Trees", with maybe a census report or two thrown in.
I don't use Ancestry Family Trees. For one thing, I have a few kooks in my father's family who think genealogy is limited only to dead ancestors, so everything is marked "private" in order to "protect the living" (an actual quote). Never mind the fact that information on the "living" is freely available all over the internet.

For another thing, I find Ancestry Family Trees to contain gross errors. Apparently, people are loathe to actually examine the documents they are saving. In one instance, one of my ancestors had 24 children according to this person's Ancestry Family Tree.

People are ignorant of a great many things, for example, in the South, and especially in Appalachia, it was quite common to call children by their middle names, instead of using their first names, so when you see "Henry" on the 1910 Census born about 1906, and then see "John H" on the 1920 Census born about 1906, that is the same person, not a different person, and a lot of people are just too stupid to recognized that.

After I eliminated 7 duplicate people from the tree, the birth certificates for the first 5 children (one of whom died as an infant) showed the same mother, who was not my ancestor. When I got it all sorted out, a man had married a woman who had five children, then she died and the man married my ancestor who bore him 12 children.

I'm also shocked by the number of idiots who add alternative or substitute names to documents. I was looking at a census record, and the enumerator had excellent hand-writing. The name in question was unmistakably clearly written, so that even Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles could have seen it, and yet three idiots added alternative names that weren't even closely related to the name in question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PawleysDude View Post
Does nobody do research anymore? Has genealogy degenerated to a state of "copy and paste"? The errors that turn up in these trees are disgusting, blatant to a point a 3rd grader would know it's wrong. It's sad in so many ways, because these errors just keep spreading across the Internet exponentially. I fear we have grown too lazy.
Unfortunately, technology makes people incredibly lazy.

And, yes, a good many people, perhaps the majority simply save a "Hint" to their tree without actually examining the document or whether it's factually related or not.

One thing I've noticed is that Ancestry Hints operate in a bizarre way.

I got zero Hints for a particular ancestor. But, using Family Search, I found the correct birth certificate and a Social Security death index record and entered that information into the ancestor's record.

Two months later, still no Hints, so I use the search function on Ancestry and up pops the very same birth and death info I got from Family Search, plus a Kentucky death record, plus the 1920, 1930 and 1940 Census records, plus a Social Security claims index, plus a marriage record, a Findagrave record, an obituary collection record, plus Indiana marriage or death records for three different children, and several records from public indexes.

Why that information never showed up as Hints is beyond any explanation by me.

So, as a matter of course, I always use the search function, and always use Family Tree to search for records as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by westsideboy View Post
Now, with my wife? She's Greek. I can't read it. They don't have cemeteries on her family's island (too small, they dig 'em up and put the bones in boxes after a few years,) and if there are any records, they are likely split between Turkey, Italy, and Greece. In her case it will likely be impossible to trace back beyond the memories of the living (which are pretty good, btw) and even then the oral memories are greatly aided by the naming traditions, which are not always accurate because of novel names, child deaths, etc. I love doing genealogy and family history with her family, but we do it understanding we will end up with a rough sketch, not a finished Vermeer.
That's where DNA can help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PawleysDude View Post
Isn't that a great feeling! My paternal side is well documented back to Scotland in the late 1600's.

And then one day, I decided to take a Y-DNA test. Oh my, the curves life can throw at us.
It's important to understand history.

King James, sometime during the first 10 years of the 1600s (I forget when exactly) outlawed the MacGregor Clan, not because they wiped out the Calhoun Clan, but because the killed several priests watching the battle.

So, those MacGregor's that weren't caught and executed all went into exile and changed their last names, usually to the name of a Clan that was an ally to them. The knowledge of their true identity was passed from father to son, and later on in the clear, some, but not all MacGregor's restored their surname.

If you are a Stewart or a Pringle (or another), you might actually be a MacGregor, but only a Y-DNA test will bear that out.

If the authorities declared someone to be an out-law -- outside the law so that any person could freely kill you, and usually for a reward -- they usually changed their surname. It wasn't a common thing, but people with English, Scottish or Irish ancestries need to be aware of that if you're attempting to get a paper trail prior to the early 1700s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
Once got in an argument with someone who insisted their tree went back to BC. I pointed out even professionals can't genealogically link the middle ages to antiquity with any surety, and this person had only been doing this for 2 months. Several people backed me up, but nope, this person just would NOT hear of it.
That's amusing, considering that surnames only came into use about 1,000 years ago.

Surnames were typically occupations, place names or a characteristic, like the English surname Walker.

If your ancestors were of high social standing, such as a member of royalty, a noble or lesser noble, or a member of the clergy -- remember that Catholic priests were allowed to marry and have families before one of the popes later prohibited it, then you might be able to trace your lineage back to maybe the 800s.

Prior to 800, the best you could hope for is a DNA match to a specific person with a recorded history.

There was a Greek slave named Minos who rose to the rank of Primus Pilus (3rd in command of a legion). When he retired from the Roman Army, he was made a citizen and given a land grant in Trier. The governor of Trier then gave him a charter to found a colony at the confluence of several small rivers.

The place was known as Au de Minos -- "the Waters of Minos." That was around the late 300s CE.

The Franks came and the name was changed to Minosauwen. Over the next several centuries it evolved into Miesauen (around 1600 CE), and finally Miesau. It's in western Germany near the French border in the Alsace-Lorraine region.

So, here's a case where we have recorded history, and if you could find the body of Minos and extract DNA, you could trace your ancestry to that very point in time, but not the exact lineage.

Whenever they uncover ancient remains, they always extract DNA. They're not always successful in doing so, but where they are, they don't seem to want to make the DNA information available to the public, and I think they should be forced to do so, especially where public money like tax dollars at the local, State or federal level are funding their research in whole or in part.
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