Can we get unsourced profiles deleted after one month after warning the PM?

+1 vote
429 views
I have some unsourced (Boswell-2065) and Ancestry "private tree" sourced (Boswell-271) profiles claiming to be sons of a man for whom I am PM (Boswell-272). One source I have for him says he died at least 12 years before one of these "sons" was born. What can I do about this, apart from leaving a comment, which just gets ignored?

If these unsourced profiles were deleted after a month, with fair warning given to the creator, then these incorrect links would be removed. If they come back and re-create it, then it would be automatically deleted again, unless they provide a source.
WikiTree profile: John Boswell
in The Tree House by Alan Boswell G2G6 (6.3k points)
You can add a disclaimer to the profile of the parents, listing sources proving they could not be part of that family.

Had to do that with a few ancestors profiles that were merged. One of those was my grandfather, that came with a whole family of strangers, that were fictional.  After no activity from the other PM for a couple years, I booted them out.
Alan, I was under the assumption, (my mistake) that this was a research tool, not a timed event. Not that I need to explain to you; I work as an architect, teach architecture on a collegiate level and then when time allows, I work on my research. I'm rather appalled at your narcissistic comments and not sure who made you the king of Boswell genealogy. With that said, this process should be a collaborative effort, however, if this is in fact, Wiki's protocol, I will gracefully bow out and find another avenue to pursue my research.

Respectfully, Richard L. Boswell, II
Richard, I am sorry if I have upset you. I don't much like Wikitree's recently added "you will add a source by tomorrow" note either. I probably over-reacted to a run of profiles from Ancestry with no sources except "other Ancestry family trees" which are notoriously unreliable. I am no genealogy king, but I am interested in all Boswells, and want to build as reliable common tree as we can achieve by working together. I find Wikitree is a great resource, and a great place to share your research, but it is quite demanding on sources.

10 Answers

+19 votes
Bad idea, Alan. Sourcing is difficult, and not always available. In general, nearly all of the unsourced profiles have real people behind them, and often the unsourced data is correct, or nearly so, and gives hints as where to look for real sources. There are more profiles than we have time to work on sourcing them. Deleting them just because someone has not got around to them is not the right answer. That's one reason we have source-a-thons, like the one we have going on today, and why we have a big one annually. I'm not one of the most devoted sourcerers, but I have found sources for hundreds of our unsourced profiles. Some wikitreers have sourced thousands of the unsourced. There are untold numbers of sources just waiting to be found. The goal of WikiTree is to source every single profile, to make a truly world wide family tree, not to build a tree for sourced profiles only.
by Jim Parish G2G6 Pilot (134k points)
reshown by Jim Parish
+14 votes

Why is there no "delete" button on profiles? Deletion is almost never appropriate onWikiTree. Wikis are designed so that information can be improved-upon, not erased. Even if nobody else appears to be collaborating with you on the profile, deletion hurts the community in a variety of subtle ways.Jan 23, 2020

by Susan Smith G2G6 Pilot (206k points)
edited by Susan Smith
+7 votes
by Julie Kelts G2G6 Pilot (230k points)
+12 votes
Your source is a history/genealogy published in 1877, and the section you refer to in your citation has no individual sources footnoted, so how do you know your source is accurate? The names of John's sons, except for William, are not stated. I don't believe your source is sufficient to discount the other unsourced profiles. Sourcing profiles from the 16th and early 17th centuries is incredibly difficult.
by Jim Parish G2G6 Pilot (134k points)
It's a fair point, but I would say that something published that much closer to the events in question must have been based on some information, and in any case, any source is better than none. The fact that nobody has been able to find evidence to support these profiles suggests they may be a figment of somebody's imagination. If sources can be found, I would welcome them with open arms.
+8 votes

Alan, have you contacted the Profile Managers of the offending Profiles on why they felt these were the sons?  Possibly they may have sources not yet added.  Though I do think the son born 12 years after his death is a bit of a reach.

Also, you may want to use this as a Source link for History of the County of Ayr : with a genealogical account of the families of Ayrshire by Paterson for John and James.

<ref> James Paterson [https://archive.org/details/historyofcountyo01pateuoft/page/238/mode/2up History of the County of Ayr : with a genealogical account of the families of Ayrshire] Publisher T.G. Stevenson Edinburgh 1847-1852 Page: 238 </ref>

This Source permits the viewer to see the book.

by L J Russell G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
Thank you for the tip. I have done that.
+23 votes

Deletion is almost always the wrong answer. (and rarely done here on WikiTree)

However, I think what you're looking for is Disconnection. (some people often use the word "delete" when they really mean "disconnect")

Simply disconnect the offending profiles. It sounds like they are connected to the wrong parents (or at least the wrong generation)

by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (476k points)
Thank you for the tip. I have "disconnected the profiles, and messaged the PMs.
Add Research Notes section with the wikitree ID of the person that was removed and the reason and source.  On the child, do the same thing with the parent(s) so hopefully it won't get connected again.
+9 votes
There are a lot of things you could do, Alan.

I see that your Boswell, 272, was doubtless created in the same process that created 271.  Since the relationship seems to contradict established fact, you can detach 271 from 272.

Boswell-2065 seems to be an attempt at establishing a different lineage. The profile was created very recently, by a new member. With no sources for it, and no evidence that your 272 ever had a son, you would be justified in detaching this profile, as well.

Then what you could do, as a member of the Scotland Project is to get a PPP for 272.  This would prevent random profiles from being added as his son without evidence. The project could take over the profile and conduct the research necessary to straighten out this line.
by Lois Tilton G2G6 Mach 3 (31k points)
I might also suggest that you do adopt Boswell-271. This would keep an uncooperative PM from running the profile.
Thank you for your suggestion. I have detached these profiles and informed the PM or creator in each case.
This is hardly an obscure family.  There ought to be a lot of material available to shed more light on this question.

I wonder if your Boswell might have died in the Battle of Preston.
+3 votes
Thing is, Wikitree wants to keep profiles (even poorly or not-at-all sourced ones) and Wikitreers. I've had people froth at the mouth because I asked them to source a profile, I can only imagine how nutty some folks would get if their "work" was deleted.
by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (135k points)
I've offended people by asking for their sources too.   Sometimes they actually admit they have no idea, just got a tree from somewhere.
Hey, if they admit they don't have sources, we can at least go from there. It's the belligerent ones I can't handle. I had someone tell me recently do a Cartman-esque "you guys, I'M GOING HOME" flounce when I asked for sourcing.
Jessica, you about killed me with laughter on the "Cartman-esque" bit. It's amazing how sensitive people can be about "their" research, even if 10,000 people before them found the same thing, and it's public info, they act like it's... "The preciouses...we must not lets them haveses it....nooooooo......!" (Coming back atcha with my Shmeegle!)

Thanks for keeping it light and friendly!
+7 votes
No!

I thought of this question just this morning, when I found the unsourced profile of a relative's wife. And then there this question was again, in another Wiki Genealogy Feed in my inbox.

I have connected her to her husband, and will get as many sources into her profile as possible today.

Her profile was created in 2015.

I am glad it wasn't deleted.
by Victoria Surr G2G6 (6.9k points)
+4 votes
No, I do not agree with this. Finding sources can be hard sometimes. It takes time sometimes.
by Greta Moody G2G6 Pilot (109k points)

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