Sometimes I wonder...

+5 votes
Just a random rant today.  But sometimes I wonder just where some of the crud we find in online family tree's come from.

I was looking at information on the actress, Virginia Mayo.    She's a distant cousin of mine and someday I'd like to attach her to the tree.   At the moment, I'm lacking in sources for a couple of the crucial family links, which is why I was looking her up.

But on ancestry there are no less than 3 trees, where it has her husband as President Ronald Reagan.


I thought it was pretty common knowledge that Reagan was married twice, once to Jane Wyman and once to Nancy Davis.

And for the record, Virginia Mayo was married once to Actor Michael O'shea.

Yes Reagan and Mayo starred in a movie together,  1952's, "She's Working her way through College"

But that's it, I've never even heard a rumor they were involved in any way shape or form.  Perhaps they dated for a time, but I've never heard of that.

So i find myself, scratching my head, just how those two ended up married in an ancestry family tree.

That's almost as good as one of the entries for an ancestor of mine who lived in the 1700's that states he was married 5 or 6 times and had between 30 and 40 children.  That's ignoring the fact that several of the children are repeated.

So...When it doubt....Verify, Verify Verify, because there is at least a small chance that the person who did the tree you're looking at, was a total nutcase.....


End of rant...have a nice day.
in The Tree House by Craig Albrechtson G2G6 Mach 8 (88.0k points)
Craig, you are on the right track, and as Ronald Reagan said when dealing with the Kremlin, "trust, but verify"

2 Answers

+5 votes
Hi Craig,

I find the same thing in Ancestry. It is amazing how so many trees have the wrong information. I had some one message me cause we were apparently related. Well I went to their tree and every profile I looked at was from someone else's tree. So how could I be sure if she was related. I couldn't.

I also found someone using my dads photo for another person with a similar name. Which really upset me. I don't trust a lot of the information I find on Ancestry.
by Dallace Moore G2G6 Pilot (134k points)
+6 votes
Howdy Craig,

Agree with you 100%!!  Thats why I was so glad to find Wikitree a year ago . I had just about given up on Ancestry Family Trees.  So much of it appeared to range from really bad research to being just made up that I couldn't trust any of them.
My real headache was some 5th or 6th great-grandparents for whom someone had done a search for their names years ago and just picked the first ones on the list (not the correct ones).  Then they added sources which included ones for the couple in my line.  Over the years, others had copied that profile many times, including the sources, but in all that time, no one had ever actually doublechecked the sources and found that they obviously belong to two couples of the same names.   
Since finding Wikitree, I don't add much to Ancestry anymore although I still find the document collections useful, but I usually doublecheck with Family Search.  There are times when I almost feel like Wikitree should have a ban on using Ancestry trees as a source.  
So rant away, I suspect that a large part of the membership is in full agreement.
by Art Black G2G6 Mach 4 (49.8k points)

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