How can we delete the names of people who never existed?

+3 votes
Ancestors of Gabriel Moffett (1) and Henry Moffett (1) are false.  They were invented by a charlatan posing as a genealogist in Salt Lake City, UT.
WikiTree profile: Jean Baptista Moffett
in Genealogy Help by
recategorized by Chris Whitten
To be strictly honest, you can delete them by merging them out of existence.  If you are the profile manager or can be come the profile manager, then you simply change all the details, including name approximate birthdate, to match a pre-existing profile you already manage.  Then you disconnect the person from any other relatives.  At that point you can simply merge them and the original profile is gone.

I have a brick wall ancestor, with minimal information which I use for that purpose.

I don't do it very often, and I highly recommend you know such a person does not exist or the profile is in certain need of deletion.  Do what ever research you need to confirm this.

I'll give you an example.  A while ago, I picked out a person's tree at random and added all the siblings of one of their ancestors. I like doing that.  I added 1900 census as a source for each profile I added.  I then removed myself as profile manager so that person could take over the profiles.   But, the person actually got mad at me for doing so, criticizing me for putting the birthdate as exact for the profiles.  I used a census record for the dates and names.    So I simply turned around, put myself back on as profile manager, removed the family connections and merged all the profiles out of existence.  By using the technique I described above.

5 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
As a rule, we don't delete incorrect information on WikiTree, we fix it.

So, how do you handle people that never existed, if everything about them is incorrect? The best route is to disconnect the family relationships that are incorrect and then put the entire story on the text of the page. The more you can say about where this incorrect information came from and why some people believe it, the better. This way you'll help the myth from propagating. If the incorrect information were just deleted, it's likely that someone else would add it back in the future and you'd have to go through it all again.
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
selected by David Martin
0 votes
So 6 profiles exist in that one profile yet it never existed?
by David Martin G2G6 (8.5k points)
0 votes
Nothing seems to have happened since this first came up. I've added "unsourced" to the profiles which brings them back into the game. Found a duplicate and proposed a merge, shouldn't make any difference. Profiles are all open and orphaned if anyone fancies a little detective work. Once the fraud is identified and noted they'll be quite safe as they are.
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (281k points)
+2 votes

Per Chris' answer, keep their profile and use it to provide the evidence that the person never existed. There is actually a Disproven Existence Project with guidelines and a template for just this sort of thing.

by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (243k points)
0 votes
There was a Henry Moffett, one of the descendants (?) listed on the above profile, in Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1778. He is listed as a tithable on the Fauquier County tax list that year per Joan W. Peters, The Tax Man Cometh, Land & Property of Colonial Fauquier County, Virginia 1759-1782, Willow Bend Books, Westminster, Maryland, 1999, page 30.

There is no way of knowing if this is the same individual but there are some similarities.
by Nancy Thomas G2G6 Mach 6 (66.2k points)

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