What is the best way to correct an erroneous entry?

+5 votes

This question is not about how to delete an erroneous entry but more about the best etiquette for doing it.

Bottom line (up top): What's the best way (most civil and tactful way) to delete an erroneous connection?

Do you email the administrator of the page and tell them that you see a problem and engage in a discussion about it?

Or, do you just delete the bad record and leave a note as to why you deleted it?

I've posted (below) my two examples.  Do I delete the erroneous parent and leave a note, "There is no evidence to support this connection.  If you have a source please post it."

I see that there is a need for accuracy; I'm trying to weigh expediency and tact.  Someone thinks that they are descended from Charlemagne - it is going to be a rude awakening when you tell them that they're in fantasy land.


I read this article:


and I see that my problem is not unique.

I've spent 21 years researching my tree and I have saved all of my source documents.  I'm in the process of adding my tree to Wikitree and I've seen two huge errors already.

The first is the French Huguenot minister Jean Ranc (b. 1641) who fled Paris to Germany after persecution by the French Crown and Catholic Church.  There is no information at all about his parents except for a suggesting in an early 20th Century book that he "might" be related to the noble du Ranc family.  Today, on Wikitree, Jean Ranc is shown as the grandson of the Duke du Ranc.

I have studied Jean Ranc and other Ranc and du Ranc individuals in this time period and I am quite certain that Jean Rank is not descended from the du Ranc family of his time.

The second is for the Quaker William Clayton.  William Clayton was friends with William Penn and came to Pennsylvania ahead of Penn in order to secure land (purchase it from Native Americans) and to prepare for the arrival of Penn's fleet.  Later, William Clayton became the 2nd Governor of Pennsylvania.  An overzealous researcher in 1904 connected William Clayton to the noble de Clayton family and this error seems to have made it all the way to Wikitree.  There is a great explanation of this on page 210 of the book "The Hunt Book."

WikiTree profile: Veltin Ranck
in Policy and Style by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (931k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

1 Answer

+8 votes
Best answer
See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Communication_Before_Editing -- you should not be making consequential changes to a profile that you don't manage (or even a profile where you are a manager, and there are othr managers, trusted list members, or contributors) without communicating. Disconnecting or replacing a parent, child, or spouse is always a consequential change.

In the situations you describe, involving pre-1700 people who are in the scope of a pre-1700 project (even if the project does not currently manage the profile), the best option is to start a G2G discussion. Link the discussion to the profile, and add tags for the surname and relevant projects. It also helps to put a profile message on the profile so the profile managers are sure to be notified. In your G2G question, describe what's wrong, what would like to do, and, present your evidence.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
selected by R H
Thanks for the reply Ellen.

If the profile was as a result of someone's Gedcom upload, how long after I create a discussion should I wait - assuming no one replies - before making any changes?
You can start editing biography and sources any old time. If there's just one profile manager and you don't get a response in a few days, you may want to go ahead with more substantial changes, but describe your changes in  profile messages (with links to any profiles you disconnected) so there's no information loss.

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