So many errors the displayed information is almost worthless.

+5 votes
I have a large collection of information gathered over 15 years of research (over 1700 files and almost 4GB of information), relating to a particular surname of about 200 individuals. The earliest records are pre 1700. Very little exists on family search for the name and much of what is there is mistranscribed or variant spellings, these are easily spotted when original registers are viewed.

The surname appears on wikitree though the content is riddled with incorrect information such as wrong relationships, dates and places. Many of the names are used repeatedly across and down the generations which can be confusing.
I have contacted the profile manager to highlight some of the issues, whilst they acknowledge there are errors they have replied to say that as so much editing is required they either cannot or will not do so.
Is there a way to check for errors and edit efficiently given the amount of work involved?
in WikiTree Help by Bill Smith G2G Rookie (280 points)

2 Answers

+5 votes

Hey Glen,

Thanks for taking the time. Yes, this can be very frustrating and a lot of work.

I guess you have a tree in a genealogical program? If so, my advice would be to start with a known individual (= profile) and work up/down the tree and post comments on the profiles where you think there are errors. If there are no sources, you can also add the {{unsourced}} tag on top of the biography.

Then there is a bit of overview as you can see the comments in your history and work you way through there.

Wikitree is a collaborative effort. It is clear there are errors, but it is also open very every member to edit and correct them. That is the whole idea of a wiki and is what makes Wikitree such a nice place. So it is not only the profile manager that should correct the issues, it is rather us all (with you in the lead as it seems wink ).

You can always ask for help if you are uncertain how to proceed. Unlinking or renaming profiles can be hard to do, and the latter only by the profile manager. I am sure the profile manager is willing, just not looking forward to all the corrections.


by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (327k points)
edited by Michel Vorenhout

I just read this answer:

That might help her as well: use a tag to show a warning about doubts.

{{Uncertain Family}}

Then, above the ==Biography== heading, put a note explaining the situation as in your question. This puts a bright yellow warning banner at the top of the page.

If you have sources, add the sources and make the changes if the profile has the 'Edit' button visible. If you don't have sources, then you can add comments below the profile or add a section called Research Notes with your information.  If you have information from ancestry, those can be added, preferably with a good citation and a link to the viewable image.  

Do you have information from a Genealogy book for a surname or location?  Many of those are online so a link can be added to those sources. We have wikitree space pages where there are links to many of those.

If you have information to add to a profile, especially with sources, and the profile is not open for editing, you can leave a comment on the profile, send a private message to the PM, or request Trusted List, which can be done from the Privacy tab of a profile.

Just remember that frequently there are multiple people with the same name, and sometimes same wife name, in the same area and within related families. If you have used ancestry for your relationships and research, their hints and many of their 'sources' come from other peoples family trees, not necessarily from actual sources.

Adding sources to profiles is what make wikitree different from the other sites.
I've just chosen one family group at random. It shows 10 children born over a period of 38 years, only 7 are in fact siblings (born in a 14 year period) and the parents for them are wrong.  The 3 odd children have the same names as some of their older "siblings" and were born several years after their "father" died though his year of death hasn't been entered.

The same happens with the name given for their "father", shown as 1 of 10 siblings when there only 6 and again attached to the wrong parents and born over a long timeframe.

It appears that any baptism with father X and mother Y within a 10 mile radius is assumed to be part of the same family group,  

I know the tree very well and I'm actually struggling to try and work just the one family group out, there are 196 individuals with the surname in my gedcom. The manager has said quite clearly that they're not prepared to go back into it to recheck and edit. It seems there is going to be a largely incorrect tree for many years to come.
Big question - Do you have valid sources, like, Birth, Death, Marriage, not family tree type information? If so, you can edit it and change it, especially if you have reached out to the PM.  

You can also create a == Research Notes == section above the Sources section, where you can 'state' the issues that are wrong, including your sources for the requested changes.
@ Glen: The profiles are not the property of the profile manager. If the profile manager has no time/interest to go back that is your cue to go in. Just start by adding comments and ask here what others think.

Wikitree is not a collection of private trees or claims, it is one tree for all active members to work on.
I have tried editing, contacting the profile manager and supplying scans of original documents but my changes are deleted, hidden or ignored. An image was downloaded from my personal website, it is now displayed on wikitree as an 1880's of a family group.
For the head of that family group I have 11 documents covering birth, baptism, marriage, birth of his child, death and probate. From those it's clear he married after 1900 and his child was born after the marriage, nowhere on my website is the 1880's mentioned in connection with that image, my edits on wikitree have been hidden or deleted. I've supplied copies of the documents and census returns together with documents relating to his business and images of the business premises.  

In addition I have taken photographs of the family headstone and have the probate index and copies of his will but wikitree information is he died "after 1920".

There seems to be no effort to incorporate my contributions but an awful to ignore them. It takes just as much effort to hide or delete them as it does to use them.  I'm walking away from it though I pity anyone who stumbles across it in future as it's worse than worthless.
That really sounds like a lot of effort. To me, looking through your edits, it is still rather unclear which profiles you talk about. You have only made some edits very recent and a few months ago. The only comments you have posted were for images, and you have deleted those as well.

My advice would be to contact one of the mentors for help and follow the procedure outlined here:

For normal users like us it is impossible to help if we cannot see the history nor sources nor arguments.
The WikiTree standard is to make corrections that are based on sources as you encounter the profiles.

To see which project(s) this line might fit into:

What is the surname origin (topmost spelling in your compiled data), birth year and location? What is the WikiTrew ID of this person?

About which person in the descent changes the surname (if applicable), based upon sources? WikiTree ID?

Which WikiTree ID migrates to another country?

The answers to these questions might identify an active project with which you might want to affiliate.
+1 vote
You have stated that you have added many things and had them removed or changed, but your contributions don't show that you have actually done very much.  It only shows one biography was imported from a Gedcom. As Michael said, the Changes Log shows that you have removed the photo from many profiles, both ones that you are PM of as well as from profiles where you are not PM.  Maybe you don't understand that your Contributions and the Changes Log on profiles shows 'who' did what and 'what' was done.

People are willing to help you, but without a profile ID it is difficult to do.  For families with large number of children and multiple marriage, it is possible that some of the marriages and children should be associated with a 'child' with same name as father or another relative with same name or just another family in the same area. Sources do not necessarily tell the age of people at marriage or children's birth, nor do they state who the previous generation was.
by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (812k points)

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