how do you deal with a person who did not exist?

+6 votes
I thought a reference to son Maddox in a will meant the testator had a son named Maddox. Instead he had a son-in-law whose surname was Maddox. Now I am stuck with the presumed son (detached from the family). What can be done with him?
WikiTree profile: Thomas Maddox
asked in Policy and Style by Monica Edmunds G2G6 Mach 1 (15.3k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Both answers are good and doable.  If you keep the profile.  I think it would also be good for you to remove yourself as the profile manager to keep from getting too many profiles listed on yuur watchlist.

If you merge it out of existence, then there would be no profile left to abandon as you would have the right profile listed.

3 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
You can just merge the profile out of existence.

1) strip out everything except the name and birthdate.

2) change the name and birthdate to match someone you manage already.   Example: You manage someone named Joe Smith who was born in 1800.  You change the name and birthdate to match that.  So now you have 2 profiles for joe smith..

3) Then merge both profiles together.  Since your manger of both profiles, you can do it almost instantly.

Then the old profile will simply be gone.
answered by Craig Albrechtson G2G6 Mach 5 (53k points)
selected by Ellen Smith
In this case it makes sense to either merge the profile out of existence or reuse the profile to represent another person who really was named Chaloner.

Sometimes profiles are created for nonexistent people because people think they existed -- perhaps the person was documented in published genealogies, but has been determined to be a fabrication or a mistake. In those cases, if we eliminate the profile the person is likely to continue turning up ("like a bad penny"). In those instances, Melissa's advice is appropriate.
+6 votes

What if a profile represents a person who never existed?

If you discover that a person never existed, remove the incorrect relationships but leave the profile with an explanation. Explain the sources that might lead someone to believe that the person existed and why they are incorrect.

Leave the profile as a Rejected Match for similar profiles.

answered by Melissa Austin G2G6 Mach 2 (27.7k points)
+4 votes
I'd be tempted to try to research the family of the person it really was, as they did exist - just not under that name. At least it would be a +1 to the profiles out there and another family who would have a tree.
answered by Scott Fulkerson G2G6 Pilot (333k points)
Monica asked the question and she both created the profile and is still his profile manager.  She claims she misread the will of Nicholas believing Maddox to be his son, when Nicholas had an altogether different relationship with Maddox.  There's no evidence of two Maddoxes.
It does appear that while there was not a son named Maddox, there was a son-in-law with some form of that name.
I suppose I could merge him with the son-in-law by changing his first and last name. I like the idea of merging him away better than leaving him hanging out there with a note explaining he never existed and has no family.

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