What is the protocol for profiles constructed from recorded misinformation?

+8 votes

For example: Mary Welles is the mother of record for Sarah S Ware, but Mary's last name is likely actually Rhudy.

Mary Welles seems to be a fabrication due to the illiteracy, deceit, or simple clerical error of George (A. or Electas) Jenks. As of 2016 May 6th, there exists a profile created for Sarah S Ware's mother that is now known to probably be in error. I would think that merging the profile away is unnecessary, so my inclination is to simply disconnect child and parent so Mary Welles can be reclaimed for other families.

WikiTree profile: Polly Howley
in Policy and Style by Ian Mclean G2G6 Mach 1 (12.5k points)
Not sure why this profile is Private, but, it would help with this question if it were made public.
I blanked the profile. Without a birth and death date, the profile defaults to the minimum privacy setting for a living person. Or so it would seem.

In any case, the profile was basically blank because little to no data was available for the record phantasm.

2 Answers

+3 votes
Disconnecting it was a good idea.  I see the source is still there. Could you add a note that it was disconnected from that family as the proper name was found.

And change the privacy to open so it will be available when people want to use that name.

And maybe orphan it.
by Maureen Rosenfeld G2G6 Pilot (182k points)
I figured orphaning it might be the right thing to do.

It occurred to me after doing it that the change history will still reflect the original entries. Merging the profile into the Mary Rhudy would preserve the edit history and prevent possible misunderstandings resulting from the profile being blanked and transformed into another Welles. Removing the first name might be prudent if the blanking protocol is the correct route.

I am going to sit on the profile for a little bit while I wait for replies here.
+3 votes

Blanking out profiles is usually never a good idea. It prevents people from using it by making it private. Also you risk the recreation of a duplicate attached to the previous relations especially when there's an existing source supporting her as the mother:


Better would be to retain the info and the connections and explain in her bio the evidence that suggests that the marriage record is in error.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (816k points)
What IS the evidence that Mary Welles and John weir (var spellings) a) were not a couple and b) were not the parents of Sarah?
I do see that there is a John and Mary Weir in Iowa in 1870 and 1880 censuses. But no dau Sarah with them when she should be.
Usually absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. However in this case, there is a conspicuous absence of records for John Weir and Mary Welles; particularly a peculiar absence of records for Mary Welles.

There is a sizable amount of evidence that Sarah of Iowa who married Geo Jenks of New York had her last name misspelled repeatedly including one record where her last name is listed as Idore which matches no other records pertaining to her, her husband, or her children. There are a few one-time in the record variations like Warr or Mace.

Her later year records consistently list her as Sarah S. Ware, and I presume that as time went by she became more literate than she was when she was 16 years old at the time of her marriage. I trust her later records over her earlier records, and I presume the earlier records are almost exclusively filled out by Geo. Jenks or city, county, or state clerks.

At present, I have records for Sarah S Ware from 15 to burial that constructs a fairly consistent timeline leading to the ancestor I have the most direct knowledge about, my maternal 2nd great grandmother, Bertha May Matthew nee (Jenks).

There may very well be a John Weir and Mary Welles somewhere in the world that were a couple and had documented lives, but they are probably not the parents for my direct ancestor, Bertha. There has to be an accounting of records from birth to death that includes an intersection with Bertha May Jenks and Mansfield Bruce Matthews each born in Iowa. Sarah Ware and George Jenks are best fit for the area and time, by triangulation of relationships, we can see that some records are inconsistent and more records are consistent with Sarah Ware's parents being John Ware and Mary or Polly, Rhuday, Ruday, Rudi, Rudy, or Rhudy.

Human error or deceit in transcription is the most likely explanation.
At present, I am researching and sourcing her alleged parents, John Ware and Mary "Polly" Spangler Ruday (Variants: Rhuday, Rhudy, Rudi, Rudy).

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=50008061 includes a note "Married John Ware 12 July 1849 in Des Moines, Iowa. Their children: Mary Lucy Ware, David Ezra Ware, George W. Ware, William Francis Ware, Levi Henry Ware, Sarah (Mrs. George Jenks), and Nancy M. (Mrs. Patrick J. Cuffe)."

The note includes this Mary as wife of John W and mother of Sarah who married a George Jenks. Died in the area of my Cherokee, Iowa family. I have found a marriage record for John Ware and Polly S. Rhuday that matches the date and approximate area listed in the FindAGrave memorials. Differs by being Polk, Iowa rather than Des Moines, Iowa.
More directly to the point of this thread about proper protocol, the issue at heart is that Welles-578 probably doesn't exist--as my 3rd maternal great grandmother--outside of a probable transcription error. First on the part of of the marriage recorder; second on part of the digital transcriptionist; third on part of me in creating a WikiTree profile before the facts were comprehended.

The objection about the privatizing of the blank profile is a moot point; if the protocol is to blank the profile then I will orphan the profile at the end of all this and the profile defaults to an open or public profile.

My own inclinations at this point is to merge the Mary Welles into Mary Rhuday/Ruday/Rhudy/Rudy/Rudi in order to preserve the edit history if nothing else. In which case, the temporary blanking of the profile while this decision is made is not going to be a long term issue for the creation of duplicates.


Though I'll note that all the genealogy software I have used so far does not deal with the eventuality of duplicates very well; among other things, the algorithms are exceedingly inconsistent about recognizing profiles by equivalence classes.

I was unable to find Sarah's parent's records for quite some time because I had Mary Welles listed as her mother due to the record. The FamilySearch system excluded her parents and mother because Welles has no discernable relationship with Rhuday/Ruday/Rhudy/Rudy/Rudi and Mary has no discernable relationship with Polly despite the fact that their other facts were otherwise equivalent; the existence of the misinformation in the name was sufficient to block machine recognition of the equivalence of the profiles; thus, unnecessary duplicates were created because the system falsely reported that no parents existed already in the system for Sarah. In fact, the system failed to report that Sara Saphrona Ware existed and frequently fails in that way because having a middle name like Sarah Saphrona instead of the initial S blocks a number of results for being considered including transcription or typographical errors like "Sarah E" or "Sarah S".

WikiTree is not much better about such things.
Ian, looks like you've done some great analysis of the records. I hope you will incorporate summaries of your findings, appropriately cited, into the pertinent profiles so that others may benefit from your good work.

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