Why the reliance on Ancestry/FamilySearch?

+2 votes
I'm new to Wikitree, but far from new to Family History. I spent many hours in libraries and the local LDS FHC searching through microfiche for records and so have many BMD certificates with the proof of who was who in my tree. And yet I see that the sources for so many just say Ancestry Record or a link to FamilySearch.

I'm not sure how much I will put on WikiTree because of a person linking one of their ancestors to a baby who died before his first birthday, the GRO reocrds and Parish Registers prove this and I even contacted the person on FamilySearch to point this out, but they said they were right and had a marriage certificate to prove it, plus DNA. The parents later had another son who they gave the same name to and so they claim this one on FamilySearch, but he would have been too young at 15 to have married, plus the marriage certificate they have says he is 21! The other proof is that he is still at home in 1861 single and 19 and not married with 2 children on a different record. This same part of the tree is here on WikiTree with many errors in it. The tree was only added in 2020 and the owner claimed that it also must be right as it is on different sites. Surely proof after 1837 with certificates and census records should come before Ancestry and other sites where people are copying each other, mistakes and all.

Knowing that this person won't accept the records I have shown them, means that it would mess with trying to connect my tree.

Not sure of where I would go forward with this.
in WikiTree Help by Rosalind James G2G Crew (990 points)
edited by Ellen Smith

4 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer

In addition to what Gill added, I would like to add:

There is no reliance on Ancestry or FamilySearch, but rather the records they hold. Even then, if someone has used an indexed record (such as index of births) as a source, these would be weighted much differently than an actual birth record (the physical record).

When it comes to family trees (no matter where they are held), they are not considered a reliable source since they contain uncertain information. Only the sources (if available) in the tree can be considered reliable - but they have to be weighted on their own.

This is where we as a collaborative family have to come together and work to review the data presented. It seems as if you have already started this process. You can also move a few different ways form here:

1. You can open a discussion here in G2G to have other members weigh on the discussion.

2. You can Be Bold and make the changes that you can prove with sources.

3. You can ask for a Mentor's help with resolving any conflicts.

by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (518k points)
selected by Peggy Watkins
+5 votes
It's difficult without knowing which profile you're talking about. Welcome, and you should stay with Wikitree as it gives you the opportunity to correct wrong information.
by Gill Whitehouse G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)
I don't know what the policy is on posting profiles so I didn't add it.
The policy is not to use family trees as sources, but many have been imported with those, sources from records are fine, so that's your incentive to stay and correct them! That's the reason I joined in the first place, so much misinformation everywhere on the internet for my family for exactly the reasons you state.

If it's not a living person, then I'm sure it's fine to post the profile, (or even just a clue if you're not sure!) otherwise we'll never know!
You can also check to see when the manager of that profile was last active, if you go to their profile and click n contributions. It's very possible that they uploaded a GEDCOM and didn't come back after. If they are active, then the first step is to contact them.
This is the profile


James dob was on his baptism record and he was also registered, he was baptised 23 July 1838 and was buried at the same church 13 August 1838.

Next child Jane is my 3x gt grandmother and is on the 1841 census with her parents and her aunt. third child, another boy named James arrives registered 1842. He would have been too young to have married in 1857 and was still single in 1861.

Dates given for parents deaths are wrong, I have the death certificates.

Occupations differ, one family of Andrews are brickmakers the other unconnected are brass workers.
I did contact them via FamilySearch and they responded but don't believe me!
Well, they haven't been active here for over a year, so I suggest that you at least try to contact them here, then you can escalate it if necessary. There are no legitimate sources on that profile, and I've marked it as unsourced.
I am reluctant to contact them again after the negative response on FS.
Although that one profile is now down as unsourced so much of that tree is the same, how do you prove the sources you have? Just saying you have a certificate can't be proven unless you can show it.
Well, you need to contact them even if they don't respond, then it can be taken out of your hands once you can show that you tried

As for evidence of sources, if you can show the records, and they all tie up, that's all you need. A certificate itself would need to be transcribed, and the location of the certificate. GRO index etc..
Note: This is an open profile that is unsourced. You do not need to contact the PM in order to add sources and correct any mistakes present.

I'm like Gill. I got hooked on WikiTree because I realized that this was a site where I could contribute good information to drive out the bad information that is all over the Internet. I believe it works. (And along the way I have added my share of bad information, and had the wonderful experience of seeing it corrected by others.)

It is admittedly often difficult for new members to assert themselves. To get started, on a profile like Andrews-14940, I suggest that you add your good sources and good data in the text section of the profile, but do not remove or replace what is already there. Instead, annotate what is already there. For example, a note might say something like:

This profile was created with the following marriage data from [online index]. The date is inconsistent with other information compiled here from copies of the original records. Could the index record be for another person with the same name?

The general idea is to lay out your evidence in a convincing fashion, but do so by adding to the other person's work instead of subtracting from it. Show your information alongside theirs and explain your reasons for preferring your information/interpretations. You may or may not convince the other person, but if you make a sufficiently convincing case, other members will chime in and assist (but to get attention on the profile, you may have to post a plea for others to review it). Many members will gratefully accept your good information in place of what they had.

To  avoid giving offense to other members, some profiles here have Research Notes sections where [incongruous] data "from a previous version of the profile" is presented.

Thank you Ellen, the voice of reason!
OK, so I did remove the marriage and children but put in the sources for the GRO, someone else put in the baptism and I was able to put in the link to the burial record. I have the images but of course you can't show those.
I did lots of legwork over 20 years ago, paid for a lot of certificates, although I had over 20 to start with. Spent hours in record offices and I also know that parish records for Pershore are only available at Worcester Record Office, they are not online and you can't view them via the LDS. Some transcriptions are available with freereg and others. I think people forget that a lot of places are like that, they are not all on the internet.
I will leave it at that change for the moment and see if it provokes a response and go forward from that.
+9 votes
Aside from specifics about these people, the reason for Ancestry/Familysearch is due to multiple reasons:

1. Free. Free, free free, free free free. Familysearch is completely free, but Ancestry isn't always. However, many folks' public libraries (like mine) allow access via the library account, so it's still effectively free.

2. Access. So many people have Ancestry accounts or know someone who does, that it's one of the major players for genealogy in the western world. FamilySearch has been the go-to place for records for....ever? The LDS organized and created the GEDCOM format, drove several of the software options to create family trees, etc. It's important to them, and we benefit from their investment.

3. DNA. Ancestry allows users to test their DNA, and is an easy way to connect to others who have done this. This is also one of the major focuses on WikiTree, so they complement each other.

4.  Digitization. Both FamilySearch and Ancestry are official partners of the U.S. Government to assist in digitizing census and other records for public availability. More and more are becoming available, and their work allows us to not only find things, but search within those collections in ways that did not used to be possible.

5. Depth of information. Both Ancestry and FamilySearch are much more than BMD and census records, they have multiple collections that include things like draft records, pensions, places where people can just post family memories or family trees, etc. While they may need to be taken with a grain of salt and sourced properly, they can be very useful. Both organizations also have invested time and energy into training materials, cooperation between sites, conferences, etc.

So, while there are still better places to go if you are not looking for US/Canadian records (and limited UK/European records), these two overlap quite a bit with the WikiTreers' interests, and continue to expand to a more global reach as time passes.
by Jonathan Crawford G2G6 Pilot (113k points)
I used FS a lot at one time, but I don't find it as useful now and I particularly dislike the One World Tree.
I used FMP before I used Ancestry and Ancestry has been very useful for finding census records and also where baptism/ burial and marriage records contain the images.

I'm currently unable to get a DNA test done as Ancestry and probably others, don't send to all parts of the world.
I would rephrase your impression of WikiTree to the following, per our honor code and the vast majority of users here:

 "because it has an accurate source, it must be correct, unless other evidence outweighs it, especially if it is here on WikiTree".

If someone is not following that standard, then the policies mentioned by others exist for that very reason.
+1 vote
Familytreedna dot com

Do testing for overseas applicants. I am Australian and used them. Try looking at their website and see if they will ship to you.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Thanks, but I couldn't see anywhere on their website as to where they shipped. I am in Portugal.

Also I really need the Ancestry one as they don't accept other tests but other sites accept theirs, not happy about that but generally seems to be the one to go for first.

My sister in the UK has said she would do the test but haven't worked out how that works, I think she needs to set up an Ancestry account herself.

Related questions

+4 votes
3 answers
260 views asked Apr 19, 2019 in The Tree House by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (239k points)
+9 votes
3 answers
+7 votes
6 answers
277 views asked Nov 21, 2017 in Genealogy Help by Pat Kelynack G2G6 Mach 4 (42.3k points)
+19 votes
5 answers
492 views asked Nov 27, 2016 in The Tree House by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (782k points)
+11 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright