Sigh. i'm one of two or three people who took the trouble to "brand" these profiles. And yes, it was in part to keep people from wanting to adopt them and reconnect them, because they are a disgrace. The profiles were already orphaned before we took them on.
I am familiar with the French ramifications of this huge fraud (thousands of profiles created by the same husband and wife team) and this is what I can tell you about it:
- the sources are fake. "Lorraine archives" it says on a lot a profiles. This is a lie. I'm not sayind the people who created the profiles are responsible for this lie (we don't know where their data came from), but someone is. "Lorraine archives" do not exist. Or if they exist, they do not contain this sort of info. This sort of info would be in departmental archives (Moselle, Meuse, Haute-Marne...) or city archives. Somewhere down the line, someone invented these people and stuck an invented archive reference on them. That's a lie.
- The details are not credible. These lines include full details, going up to the 11th century (!!) of complete families with names of all children, even those who died in infancy. It's just impossible to have that level of detail for events this far in the past. We don't even know the exact number of King Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne's children, and they were the king and queen, just before 1500. We don't know anything of young unmarried children in ordinary families in the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and even 15th centuries.
- The details about society and mores are wrong. Several of the French characters, in typical French fashion I guess, are said to be polygamous. This stretches credulity. When performing a marriage, priests were required to check that the contractants were not already married. Even a prior engagement was sufficient to cancel the wedding! Suggesting (as is done in several profiles) that a man had several wives in plain view is plain ignorance of how things were, at the very least. Someone who had done actual research would never have come up with this.
- An example of historical error. Dr Joseph Guillotin (credited with giving his name to the guillotine) was worked in this genealogy,as bigamous husband of "Delia Marin" and his real wife, Elise Saugrain. The biography said Dr Guillotin had taken a second wife when he discovered the first one, Delia, was barren, and attributed 5 children to Guillotin and Saugrain. This is completely false. For the bigamy accusation, see above. Guillotin was a notable. And he never had any children. At all.
- Speaking of "Delia" Marin, the naming patterns are all wrong.
- Speaking of the "Marin" family, we identified the Irish immigrant called Philip Marin (or Morran) who settled in Canada in the 19th century. He was real enough but his parents were totally wrong. We found the names of the real parents (it was not that difficult). The wrong parents were a couple from Flanders who lived 60 years too early to be his parents, but do appear in select marriages collections, because their marriage happened to be indexed.
As Helen points out, there is the problem of known paintings attached to completely different individuals. One of the most egregious polygamists has a portrait which is really the portrait of Alfred de Musset, the poet. One of the British girls has a portrait which really represents Louise of France, daughter of Louis XV, by Nattier.
And it goes on and on. If you believe these profiles deserve to be investigated and each fact carefully checked to establish the truth, please do. All we ask in the mean time, is that the profiles stay disconnected and the warning signs stay on them. There are litterally thousands of them. We did identify a few individuals that really existed (only not in the same place and century as the profile data indicated) and we retrieved and fixed them.
Then there are the fabricated individuals who were grafted to real families, as Helen explains above. Believe me. This set of profiles has given us A LOT of work. We really felt we needed to indentify them - and quickly - and that was for the sake of WikiTree's credibility.