Sunday, June 22, 2014

FamilySearch Family Tree Is Great - Welcome Newbies

It is my observation through taking support calls that a lot of those calling in with family tree issues are new users, even new to genealogy. This is a good thing. Many are not members of the LDS church and that too is a good thing.

I want to point out in this post that getting it right is the underlying principle of family tree. What is correct might be difficult to prove. What is correct might go against family traditions. I once wrote about what I call a war that was going on between a fellow missionary and a distant relative. My friend received an email back in the debate of what was correct that said, "I don't care what your document says, I know what my mother told me". Now my immediate reaction to this is that this person with the I don't care response might be better of with a new hobby, such as gardening. But that wouldn't be nice of me would it?

So I just suggest we all care about what are the true facts. I know that most do but I also know some haven't seen the importance of this point yet. Serving this mission changed me from sloppy to caring. I'm encouraging all to move away from sloppy. This is especially important as family tree is open edit and one edit affects many of us.

This topic is on my mind today as I and others, some very solid researchers, have been working on the ancestors of Mary Whitaker 1746 - 1822. Mary is the mother in law of Elisha Cragun. This line has an interesting history. I mean this different than one might think. It's interesting for whom everyone wants us to be related to; Lord John Lisle and Lady Alice Beaconshawe. Here is a short history. Others in this line seem to be terrific people. However, much of the hope and speculation isn't certain. What is interesting is how many jump to the claim without actual proof of the heritage. I do see web article after web article that claims the connection between Mary Whitaker's father William Whitaker Jr. 1732 - 1802 and Lady Alice. I do not see the proof. In fact what is now in family tree is interesting to me. The tree shows Lord Lisle's first wife, Elizabeth Mary Hobart as the mother of Alice Lise (Alice is the supposed link to lady Lisle) instead of the mother being Lady Lisle. Not to be confusing, there is a possibility that the hope to Lady Lisle is misguided.

One could assume what in family tree is correct. But a closer look at what has been input in family tree would declare that unless Lord Lisle was a polygamist (doubtful) either of his two wives could be the mother of our Alice Lisle.

Now comes the fun part. It's the real hook to genealogy. It's a treasure hunt. It's more fun than a video game. It's more important than fantasy football. The game, has many discoveries to make. 1- Who is the mother of Alice Lisle 1605 - 1685? 2- Which Whitaker did she marry? One is our ancestor another is not.

And now another issue. That was top down research. Going up from Elisha Cragun's mother in law we can document some of the genealogy. But between Alice Lisle and our proven line are two generations not proven. Knowing the true facts could change everything.

And my final and an important point. Someone went in and made massive changes on what we had in this line without showing any reasons why or any sources. It was just obliterated.

To the person who did this - do you know how many people you ticked off? What was there was not proven. What you did left us all going back to our records. Did you delete these people on purpose? What was the purpose? Or did you carelessly take this action?

This is not a fun game when someone is messing with our tree without realizing the serious consequences of a delete, even a change. Many many hours went into creating what is. Some of what is there is likely in error. What is there is a place to work from. For sure change what is wrong to what is correct. For sure don't change what is there to anything different without supporting proof.


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