Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Publishing Things Correctly - A Story of Collaboration

It is so easy to assume you have the correct facts when you do not. It is only your mistake when the records are kept on your own tree, in PAF or another software for example.

When you are making decisions in FamilySearch family tree you are affecting perhaps thousands of people with the same common ancestor.

Here in World Wide Patron Services, support zone, we deal with the frustration of those who are trying to correct an error in input entered by another. In the seeking of accuracy please join in on the concept of having a source for entries you make in family tree.

Separate from the frustrations are the many more accomplishments of open edit and one tree for all mankind. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. All of the research each of us performs correctly is public, allowing those that follow to work on a different problem.

It is my conclusion that almost all people have good motives. They like I had to learn, just need to learn the importance of good genealogy practices, such as certain accuracy. With all of the resources plus the collaboration opportunities now available one need not be a certified genealogist to do wonderful family history. Of course the foundation of the success we can now obtain lies in the work of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world that volunteer to index the many records being digitized in so many different ways by so many different enthusiasts. It is truly a wonderful thing.

I share a story of today that brings to life what I am writing about in this post. I was asked to help a young 94 year old neighbor with a small mess in her line in family tree. She works tirelessly transferring the data from her PAF file to the tree. She has records of her many years of research. Today she found an easy error to have made, an error often easily incurred by the way people of old named their children.

In 1842 Nathan Dadman was born in Framington, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He died shortly after as a young child. Their family had another son, born in 1845, also named Nathan. This Nathan is a direct ancestor to our neighbor. Family Tree has had the spouse and 11 children of the second Nathan connected to the first child Nathan. The entire family is wrong. For generations; a mistake was in the tree that could have gone on for many decades. With sources in hand and a little assistance the mistake was corrected for all to follow to benefit from by the faithful attention of my 94 year old hotshot genealogist neighbor. A say hotshot lovingly as I know she works at this daily for several hours a day.

Being accurate in all things sometimes seems tedious. Unlike some hobbies, like baseball, an error is just an error, in some games not a big deal. But in family history the stories the connections, the history are only fables in some cases due to the error of an anxious, even careless person.  

There is an appropriate sign on the wall of the training zone. Family History without sources is Mythology. As if today the mythology of the first and second Nathan Dadman is history.

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