Correcting an obvious error by someone else

+5 votes
152 views
My WikiTree feed yesterday included adding a new immigrant ancestor for one of the families I follow. It shows him with a son William, but that ancestor is quite well documented, and had no son named William. I have seen this erroneous son in many places on free sites that don't require documentation. In fact, the source is said to be someone's family tree, not sure where it is published.

How does one go about getting such errors corrected here? Do I send a polite PM to the profile manager? Do I contact a moderator? Do I ignore it and wait for the system to suggest merging, at which point (hopefully) the profile manager will recognize the error?
in WikiTree Help by David Todd G2G1 (1.6k points)
Present the profile here in g2g for examination and discussion with your sources disproving a son William. Ask for an opinion to detach.

3 Answers

+15 votes
Hi David,

I see you joined WikiTree in May.   Welcome !

It looks like you might have sources to help you resolve this!   The majority of errors can be sorted out by contacting the  profile manager as soon as you see the error.   If the sources both you and the profile manager have available don't lead to an obvious single answer..... notes can always been added in the biography area.    Please don't just ignore the issue,  if you have the sources to back up your position.

If contacting the profile manager doesn't go as expected.... there are written steps in how to proceed.  You might want to look at  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Unresponsive_Profile_Managers

for your next possible steps.

Regarding your question..... "Do I ignore it and wait for the system to suggest merging?........ you are "the system",  along with the rest of us.  

Best of luck.
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (442k points)
Greet answer, Peggy!
+7 votes
PM the profile manager and/or  post a comment on the profile.  If they don't respond after a reasonable amount of time you can make the change yourself.  This is a wiki style program and anybody can make changes to a public profile.

I have had a lot of success with correcting others mistakes as well as my own by collaborating with others.  There have been a couple where we just had to agree to disagree and use our own duplicate profiles for our trees.  When that happens I have left specific notes in the bio explaining the issue.
by Jim Parsons G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)
I sent him/her (first name is anonymous) a PM. Now we wait.
FYI for everyone: The profile manager replied very nicely, and has removed the undocumented child. I also suggested he contact the PGM profile manager of the original immigrant, as the file he uploaded has an undocumented ancestral tree going back to the 11th century, a tree that has never been proven. I also asked him about his source for this information.
Jim, your advice about cooperative collaboration between members is spot on.  The ones where you did not reach consensus, though, should not result in duplicate profiles for what you called "our trees".  There is only one single tree here that encompasses all of humanity and we all share it.  The goal is to avoid adding duplicate profiles.  When it is accidentally done then they must be merged when they are discovered.  The rule is one (and only one) profile per person.

If you and another profile manager cannot resolve your differences of information by discussion of the sources then you can put the question on which you differ to the community in G2G and see what everyone else comes up with - maybe even some sourced information that neither of you was able to find.  Please, though, do not ever knowingly create a duplicate profile here.
Duplicate profiles may be an oversimplification.  If we can't agree on who Joe's father, children and siblings are then it's not really a duplicate profile, just same name (not uncommon)  living in the same county at the same time  (also not uncommon).
+5 votes
This is hard to say without seeing the profile.

Does it have sources?

Does the son William have sources.

Can you provide sources?

Is the PM active?

Those are the first questions you should ask before doing anything. The next steps would be to contact an active PM or add your sources with an explanation why the son was removed to the biography and then remove the son if you still are sure that it is the right thing to do. Remember to check for projects if the profile is older or notable/aristocracy.
by Juha Soini G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
To answer your questions:

- The only source listed appears to be someone's personal family tree; whether that tree, wherever it resides, has sources I don't know, as it doesn't come with a link.

- William doesn't have any sources except the personal family tree.

- Yes, I can provide two published sources, one public domain, one copyrighted.

- Profile manager is active; the profiles for William and his father were just created yesterday.

I will PM the profile manager and see what happens.
Be careful, it's hard to prove a negative, no documentation may exist that the family did not include a William.
Tom, that's why proof is required that a relationship existed.  We include people in families because evidence exists that they belong, not because no evidence exists that they don't belong.  WikiTreers only have to prove positives.
I agree, Herbert, but in this case William is there and shouldn't be. Ancestry Family Tree is not proof, I agree, but some don't recognize the difference.
Agreed. In this case, it's a well-documented Great Migration individual, with 12 documented children, William not being among them. I've sent the PM a PM, hoping to receive an answer.
Understood, Tom, but him being there makes no difference.  It's up to whomever put William there to prove he belongs, not for anyone else to prove he doesn't belong.  Not to worry, if these are PGM people, the overwhelming might of the PGM Project will soon set matters right!
Herbert,

Yes, yes, yes.  You said so much with such few words.
Thank you, Peggy!  Middle initial 'L,' for 'Laconic.'
If it's possible that he could be in the family but there's no good evidence for it, I usually set it to "uncertain" and add a research note. I only disconnect people if there's some direct evidence against it, YDNA mismatch, omission from a complete primary-source list of children, something like that. I would prefer that people didn't add children based on weak (or no) evidence, but once they do it, I think the "uncertain" tag is good enough if I can't marshal any arguments against it.
The source wasn't an Ancestry tree. It was an unpublished, private tree per the author of the question. This can still be a touchy subject but we really need to be requesting properly sourced information.

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